Beat Writers Block – Beat it with a STICK!

Beat Writers Block- Now!

Follow these simple steps to get through that wall of endless misery and doom.

  1. Be Kind – be kind to yourself.
  2. Small achievable goals.
  3. A crappy first draft is great!
  4. No editing
  5. Free exercises for you – from me.

I’m going to explain this all some more, I promise.

This was originally going to be a VLOG – but after a few attempts at filming, well I decided that writing is more my thing that speaking.

Step One: So, lets get back to step one. Be kind. Did you hear that?  BE KIND TO YOURSELF!

I know what it feels to have writers block, or writers procrastination. You wake up, and you’re already carrying around that heavy weight in your chest. There’s already a little voice whispering ‘you didn’t write yesterday…’ or ‘you haven’t hit your word target,’ or even, ‘everything you write is absolute rubbish.’ You know what you have? Writer’s guilt.

Stop it. Stop that right now and take the pressure off of yourself. Especially at the moment when many people are in lockdown, this seems like an incredible opportunity to learn a new language, finish up old projects and pour time and investment into your dreams. For the people for whom this is a reality, that is amazing!

For me, I’m struggling between working from home and childcare. Despite barely leaving my house, I actually have less time and feel more pressured to be getting my WIP finished. More Writer’s Guilt added onto your usual pile.

Let it go. (There’s a whole song about this…)

elsea

Let it go, or you will wake up tomorrow and that nagging feeling will be back.

It’s hard to get into a positive headspace to write if you have to wade through the river of Writer’s Guilt first. We have to get out of this habit. So be kind. So what, you missed a deadline, a day, a week, a year… You won’t meet that 90k target in six months, blah, blah, blah… Let it go. Take a deep breath. Close your eyes if you like. Acknowledge it and let it go. I didn’t write yesterday or whatever. I WILL write today.

Step Two: Small achievable goals.

You WILL write today. Open up that WIP. Get to the last thing you did, the latest chapter and just write. Write 100 words. That’s it. Just 100 words. Have you done it? Here is the best part.  Save it. Close the computer. Walk away happy – you did it! Now the most important part – REWARD yourself. Go for a walk, have a soda, read a book watch your favourite TV show. Do something that gives you a mental woo and makes you feel good.

You know what you’re doing? You’re training your brain into a positive response when you do your writing. You’ll be amazed at how much easier and better you’ll feel tomorrow when you carve out just a few minutes to write again.

Tomorrow? Open up that WIP. Write 200 words. Save it. Put it away. REWARD!

The day after: Write 300 words, save it, put it away – REWARD!

Repeat until the process becomes easier and you’re able to write freely.

Now here is the final trick – Always end before you run out of steam for the day. If you’ve written 2000 words and you’re in the middle of a juicy scene, then stop before the scene ends and you’ll be excited to get back to it. Most of all, always give yourself that little reward for getting it done.

Step Three: A crappy first draft is great!

NO ONE HAS TO SEE IT.

When you’ve sat down to write your 100, 200, 300+ words and it’s hard, then just remember that it doesn’t matter what you put down on the page. It doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter. It’ll be 100 more words than you had before and that it what matters. You can’t edit a blank page but once you’re WIP is done you can go back and completely rewrite it. Delete that stuff out if you need to. But maybe there will be something worth keeping?

fry

Step Four: Don’t edit as you go.

This will be maximum leech for your momentum. If you realise a huge plot point then write it down. Adjust where your story is heading and write forward. Always write forward. Don’t go back and start tampering with threads and arcs until you’ve got that first draft down – otherwise you’re always going to be buried in the first part of the book.

You’ve got to keep moving forward. One step and one word at a time.

Step Five: Some exercises for you!

I thought I would share some writing exercises that can also help.

Free writing: First of all, free writing is brilliant. If you really, really do not to put the words into your WIP when you’re struggling, then just sit down with pen and paper. Set a timer for 10 minutes and just write. Write EVERYTHING that comes into your mind. Even if it’s just ‘I have no idea what I’m doing. I’m just going to write and blah, blah this is so ridiculous-’ you get the idea. Just write. Write for ten minutes and then set it aside. It’s a bit like a mental ‘unclogging.’

Microfiction: Now something I’m also really keen on is microfiction. Using 100 words or less to tell a story or construct something lyrical. There’s a whole bunch here on the blog if you want to read. Now I’m not going to tell you that it’s any good – I’m not sure that it is! But it entertains me, and the people who give me the prompts. Melodramatic Dinosaurs, Romantic Zombies, Tyrants and Penguins (romance was a big theme)…So that’s something.

I’m going to be running a #microfictionchallenge if you want to join in. Everyone is welcome! I’ll put up a prompt of a word, and a genre that the story is meant to resemble. You have 100 words or less to construct something around it. I would love to see some responses, or you can even set me a challenge.

My challenge to you, for today would be the word: Television in the genre of Action.

Now go write!

Better yet! Give me the 100 words you get done today! I expect it to be brilliantly random and make very little sense.

baby

Now for something completely different

There has been a change of plans…

Now, you may see this and roll your eyes. Gosh, she’s been absent for a while and here she is again, getting back on with the writing. Well, that is partly true, but I still have a plan and I’ve been keeping up the writing, just less of it!

First up, is that I’m going to be a Fibi-Mom – hooray! Short term it means that I’ve been coming home from work, and going to sleep, waking up for dinner, and going back to sleep. No really time for writing, and combined with a constant nausea, no concentration for it either. The best way I can describe it, is that it’s been like having the flu for a couple months. Thank you, new Inhabit (-ant. And there is my sly ping to the daily prompt!)

Long term, it means I worry about the time I will have in the future for writing and starting/finishing new projects and the projects that are currently in development. Mostly though, myself and Mr lovely are very excited.

But back to the writing – as I said, plans have changed. With Poisoned Well, I managed to write myself into a corner, or rather a brick wall. With 2000 words to go before I reach my original target and bam. No more words.

I think there are a few reasons for this and I’m going to try and explore them below, without giving any of the plot away. Because no one wants to know the end of the book before they start reading!

  1. I know that I’ll need to write a few thousand words beyond my original target. This is a positive thing and I’m pleased about it. It means that the story has developed and in order to tie it up, I just need a few more words. (Well a few thousand.)

Why would this stop me writing? – Because the goalpost has moved. Even if I reach my intended target, I’m not quite there yet. Then there is the editing (all of the editing) and the re-writing and the editing and I’m way way behind where I thought I would be and … and the guilt has made a return.

How to move on? I just need to start writing again. I’ll go back to my mini plan of doing 100 words, then maybe 200 and slowly, I’ll be chipping away at that word count! I’ll do it! Just, not this weekend because I’m seeing family. Wednesday. Wednesday next week will be my day to kick myself into writing mode for the poisoned well. There I’ve said it, I has to happen!

  1. I knew what was going to happen in the story. That at some point my protagonists were going to go from point D to E and X was going to happen. This was always going to be the ending of the narrative. I dreamt many of the details, conversations, scenes and emotional arcs between points A to B to C etc and all the little things that need to happen in the middle.

Why would this stop me writing? Well I KNEW that D to E and X was going to happen…but because I KNEW this…I didn’t put the extra thought into exactly what D to E entailed. How does that get underway, how many chapters does it take? If I write it in one, have I rushed the complete ending?

How to move on? Well, I’ve actually written the majority of D to E now, but it’s been an uphill struggle. Mr Lovely will argue that those struggles tend to give me my best writing, but…they’re still a struggle and having reached the crest of this particular hill, I felt exhausted.  I’ve needed to spend some time dreaming about what happens at E, and exactly how I visualise X. This is where the flu-symptoms and lack of concentration have been a particular hindrance. If I have a little day dream and try to work out what’s going on, quite frankly, I fall asleep. However, I’m now feeling better and I’m hopeful that I can finally devote some time to unpicking these important moments in the narrative and feel more confident writing them. Then it’s just the downhill slope to roll down.

Hopefully.

In other news, you can still pre-order the teeny tiny books where a piece of my flash-fiction is being publishes as part of an anthology! They’re so small! They would make perfect stocking fillers and the art work to accompany the flash fiction is gorgeous. Order a copy now, while you still can! They’re only £4.00 plus p&p. Third-Word

Look – it’s so tiny and cute!!!!

Finally, having reached the conclusion that Poisoned Well is going to take a bit longer…I’ve agreed something with myself. I’m going to self-publish Burning Embers, my fictional baby. Designs for the front cover are underway and will be shared as soon as possible- Sqeeeeee!

Watch this space for teasers from #BurningEmbers, and a publication date…

And on that bombshell…

Happy Writing

Fibi xxx