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Posts tagged ‘writer’s block’

Five steps to creating single-point focus

My husband and I were strolling along our city’s boardwalk this weekend when a bald eagle swooped overhead and landed on the mudflats to fish. We stopped to admire him—so silent and still as he hunted bullheads in a nearby stream. Soon, a small black bird, maybe a young crow or raven, began dive-bombing the eagle—a constant back and forth motion that reminded me of a giant pendulum.

Neither bird gave up. The black bird continued its assault. The eagle ignored the little bird and stared fixedly into the stream. We were amazed at their determination.

As a writer, this is what I’m always looking for—that single-point focus. My world has too many distractions—e-mail, phones, social media, business, housework. I find it too easy to get off track, and far too difficult to find my way back. Read more

Write inspired: Seven ways to use your powers of observation

As writers, we all have routines or rituals. One thing we cannot do though is write only when we are “inspired.” We cannot just write when we feel like it.

However, we can write from inspired ideas we collected earlier. Writing doesn’t happen just when you sit down at your computer or with paper and pen. It’s a constant process of gathering ideas and letting them percolate in your subconscious. These ideas can be the fodder for whole novels, snippets of dialogue, or description.

So how do we find those inspired ideas? Live in full observation mode. Take a closer look at everything around you, and take note.

1. Go to the mall — You’ll find all sorts of people at a shopping mall: men and women, young and old, rich and poor. Observe people to collect ideas for how to describe characters. Watch behaviors,  listen to the tone of conversations, observe how people dress.

2. Read the newspaper — Besides reading news and feature stories, scan the ads, including classifieds. Read more

Lost in the jungle? Five steps to move your story forward

Ever feel like your mind is a jungle and your manuscript is a reflection of all those tangled vines and spongy mosses? Ever feel stuck in a bog of your own making? In her book, On Writer’s Block, Victoria Nelson says that one of the biggest reasons writers get blocked is because at some subconscious level they know that something isn’t quite right with an aspect of their writing—whether it’s a character, subplot, theme, or even the original story idea.

Before I read Nelson’s book, I spent far too much time lost in my own overgrown and disorderly jungle, paralyzed by fear. Now when I recognize the block is happening—for me it’s when I feel like I need to do anything else but write (clean out the fridge, make another “to do” list, scoop the litter box)—I stop and ask myself a few questions.

The 5-step process below gets me back on track and allows my creative energy to spark and flow again. You can adopt this process or use these steps as a springboard to make the unconscious conscious: Read more

Four ways to stimulate creativity & cure the writing blahs, part 4 of 4

Sometimes, I just don’t feel like writing.  Even after I read a poem, try to write a poem, or finish a timed write—sometimes, the words still don’t come.  What then?  It depends.  A nap might be in order, or maybe a walk. But often, participating in another type of creative activity is what will cure me.

Play the guitar or create a vision board.  One of my favorite ways to strum the strings of my unconscious is to do something creative that’s not related to writing—like learning to play the guitar.  (Emphasis on the word learning, here).  But it doesn’t have to be guitar or even music—pick anything, except writing, that moves your spirit and allows you to be creative:  painting, cooking, gardening, dancing, even cutting pictures from magazines to create a collage or vision board. Read more

Four ways to stimulate creativity & cure the writing blahs, part 1 of 4

I woke up feeling blah this morning.  A gray Northwest day still affects my spirits despite the fact I’ve lived here for nearly half a century.  Did I just say half a century?  Now I’m really depressed. But I have to get out of my funk because it’s my writing time.  Husband is gone for a few hours (we both work from home), and that’s always the best time for some productive writing. The question is—how do I inspire myself instead of continuing to stare out my window and count shades of gray?

I make a list. For me, list making is almost as satisfying as eating dark chocolate.  Okay, maybe writers do exaggerate.  Off the top of my head, I write down four of my favorite ways to get my creativity and inspiration back on track.  I’ll share them with you as long as you promise to add your own favorites to your list. First on my list is:  Read more