or Overcoming Writer’s Block or Maintaining Motivation
What does write right mean? And how will it help you overcome writer’s block? First, it means write the right way for you. Every writer has to find their own best way of achieving what they want to achieve. However, there are steps all writers need to take to make it all work. Second, understanding your own best method of writing will help you get it down without so many ‘stand stills’.
The first point, the right way for you to write, needs to be done in the context of ‘There is no right way.’ Sounds like a contradiction, I know, but it isn’t. Of course, I’m not referring to understanding and following form and structure of both story telling, non-fiction construction or, especially, grammar. What I’m talking about is method.
It is surprising how many writers have no method or don’t know their method.
What do I mean by method? Quite simply, how do you go about writing in order to be successful at it? There are some basic questions behind that question:
1. What does successful writing mean to you?
2. How important is it to your life?
3. What are you prepared to give up or reduce in order to write?
4. How do you feel whilst you are writing?
5. How intensely are you inside your writing?
Answering these questions will help you recognise the part writing plays in your life, and how much your life allows for writing. I’m not referring to all the procrastinations and excuses you can come up with. We all know there are more than enough for ten lifetimes for all of us regardless of what our responsibilities, ambitions or goals are.
Question one is very important to know about yourself. Do you want to be a published writer, one who earns part or all of their income from writing, or is it purely for your own interest or the family’s interest, or for another reason altogether? Answering the second and third questions will help define the answer.
The other two questions are fairly self explanatory. For example, if you have no emotional investment in what you are writing, neither will anyone else and you will quickly become bored and find it hard to stay with. And, by intensity I’m referring to actually ‘being there’ in each scene as you write it. You need to hear, smell, feel, touch, see, interpret, colour, extrapolate, etc., and then put it into a word picture for your reader so they will be there too.
The mechanics of method is how you go about achieving these things. You need to create good practices about writing. This means when you do it, where you do it, what you bring to it, what you intend to achieve, how you do it, i.e. pen and paper, typewriter or computer. It doesn’t necessarily mean you must only do it that way, at the same time and the same amount. It is better to write one page a day than the usual ten if that is what you can manage that day because of other responsibilities. What you really need to avoid though, is deciding that because you can’t write the usual ten pages today, you won’t write any.
Writing a paragraph on a scrap of paper, or a few ideas on the back of an envelope is better than doing nothing. If you really want to write, then you will make time on a regular basis, and find time every time.
Most writers are driven to write, but we all need to find the discipline and tenacity. We also have to accept that it isn’t always fun and it definitely isn’t always easy, of even often. I’m sure the Olympic swimmer doesn’t find every lap of the pool fun, but if they don’t do it, they don’t have a chance of making selection to the team let alone hope for a medal.
We all know the truth of: The only way to success is through determination and hard work.
So, work out the answers to the questions I’ve posed, develop a method of writing, keep distractions to a minimum and really put yourself in the writing so you are describing what is actually happening around you and what you are sensing. Even if it takes some time to work out what all this means to and for you, take the time. It’s worth it.
And, remember, even though it isn’t always fun, if you never enjoy it, maybe you will be better off doing something else.