How to get the Words Flowing Again
There are times in every writer's life when the words just stop flowing freely. The dreaded “Writer's Block” strikes more often than we like to admit, especially those of us who have a reputation for being prolific writers. “Writer's Block” is the bane of every writer, no writer escapes it, and it always strikes when we can least afford it. The good news is that all is not lost. There are some things that we can do to get the words flowing again. Here are five of those things.
- It Happens to Every Writer
- Have several articles in the works at the same time.
- Take a break from your office.
- Put pen to paper.
- Take a Trip Down Memory Lane.
- Finally, you need to know when to give up on a piece.
It Happens to Every Writer
The idea for this article was actually germinated after reading Peter B. Gilberts article: Thought of the Day for February 26th - ...and Get it Going Again! And some of the comments made in response to the article. Writer's Blocks can come in many different forms and does not always mean that the writer cannot think of anything to write. For me, a writer who is never without something to write about, writer's block comes in the form of my not being satisfied with what I have written on a given subject. No matter how many times I rewrite the article, it just does not satisfy me in one way or another. That was a real problem for me as a young writer, but over the years I have discovered a few tricks that always gets the fingers moving on the keyboard again and I want to share them with you in this article.
Have several articles in the works at the same time.
I learned very early in my writing career that it pays to have several projects on the table at the same time. Writing is a process that does not always run smoothly. When I find myself coming to a standstill on one project, I move to another of my writing projects in the queue, giving the problematic a cooling off period. More often than not, just getting my mind off that project solves the problems I was encountering. The idea is to always have several projects in different stages of the writing process i.e. researching, writing, fact checking, and rewriting.
Take a break from your office.
When moving to another project in the queue does not help start the words flowing again, take a break from writing and do something else that you need to accomplish. Anything that is productive and makes you think about something other than writing is good. Hobbies are a necessity for everyone, especially for writers. For me, an avid DIYer, I spend a few hours in my workshop, finishing some woodworking project or do some needed repairs on my home or on one of my friend's homes. Housecleaning, laundry, cooking, sewing or anything else that is constructive will work great. Exercising is good too.
Put pen to paper.
Some people, my ex-wife is one of those people, never really become one-hundred percent acclimated to working on a computer and they find it easier to write and rewrite their articles in longhand. If putting an actual pen to actual paper is what it takes for you to get the words flowing again, do it, there is nothing wrong with writing everything out by hand on paper. I am one-hundred percent comfortable using word processing programs but when I find myself having problems with a rewrite I print out a hard copy and do my edits on that and then use those edits to correct my computer copy. As I said earlier in this article, writing is a process and every writer needs to find the process that works best for him or her.
Take a Trip Down Memory Lane.
When writing is really becoming hard for you and you feel like throwing in the towel, remember your past accomplishments—the short stories and article that you have successfully published, the compliments on your writing that you have received from the editors that bought those articles, short stories, or poems. The odds are that none of those successes had come easily and you will remember the obstacles and how you overcame to obstacles to achieve success. Remembering the obstacles you overcame in the past to achieve those successes will give you the courage to face and overcome the obstacles currently facing you. I can remember how discouraged I was becoming when the only things I received from editors were rejection slips. After a year I was ready to throw in the towel. I was an unpublished writer and no one wanted to give me a chance to write the kind of serious nonfiction articles that I had spent a year querying editors on. Just when I was ready to toss my old Royal typewriter in the garbage, a helpful editor added a personal note to his form rejection letter. I still remember that note as vividly as if I had received it yesterday and not some forty plus years ago: “You apparently have skill and talent as a writer, your query letter testify to that, but no editor is going to commit to working with you until you have shown them that you are both knowledgeable and reliable, as well as talented. I suggest that you start out by writing short stories and submitting them on spec.” I figured that I had nothing to lose, so I wrote a short story based on my experience during basic training and I sold it to the very first action/adventure magazine that I sent it to for $500 which was damn good money for that day. The moral of this true story is that we as writers cannot always start out writing what we want to write. We have to be flexible. That first success kept me writing and today I write the kind of stuff that I wanted to write from the very beginning.
Finally, you need to know when to give up on a piece.
Writing is very personal for any writer and no writer likes to throw something that they created in the trash, but there are times when something just does not work and is beyond repair, times when the only sensible thing to do is to throw it in the trash and start over. It can be unbearably painful at times but if we are to succeed as writers we must learn when it is time to let go.
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