Inspiration is around us – you just need to keep your eyes open

So, I have been away from my keyboard for a while. Long story short, me and my wife moved for work and landed in a place where we needed to do a lot of things before I could start writing again. And a mean it, I could not write for this site, nor could I sit down and work on fiction. My focus was on setting up base camp to live for the next two years.

But, my mind often drifts anyway. I saw so many wondrous things that I wanted to share. When writing, one always seems to look for real life inspiration. Inspiration is around us, no matter what art form. Here is my story on how I got inspired to start my new novel.

READ – read often, and read a lot.imitate your heroes

Because we could not find adapters for our plugs, we had no laptops. Luckily I could charge my phone, where my kindle is linked with all my books. I was busy reading On Writing by Mr. Stephen King and How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method by Mr. Randy Ingermanson.

Mr. King needs no introduction. So I will go straight into the book. It was not a how to manual, it was not the Dragon Scroll… What it was, was permission. For some reason, writers always seek permission and approval. As though the universe needs to tell them that it is okay to be a writer. That it is not a sin to write. Or, at least for me it feels like that sometimes. I constantly stop writing because I feel that I am no good, but this book… If mr. King can continue writing and submitting projects and be rejected over and over again, then why can’t I?

I was inspired, because he told how he struggled in life, but despite struggling, he did what he loved to do, what his heart wanted to do. He is passionate about writing, not about fame or money, but about good writing. My inspiration came from his motivation to sit down everyday and get the words from the fingers to the page.

Mr. Ingermanson, who you can go look up, wrote this book to help authors get unstuck. He differentiates between people who created endless outlines and those who create no outlines. In doing so he finds some middle ground where creativity and logic meet. I love things like that. He states when ever possible, that you should do what works for you. The snowflake is not a rule, it is a guide. If something does not work, do not use it. He himself skips some of his own Snowflake steps, because he knows that it would not work for that book.

He inspired me, to give his outline a try, and write the novel in a way that has helped him. Order and chaos that makes the story beutiful.

Use your imaginationGet a story idea

Where do you get ideas for stories? What inspired you to write about X, Y and Z? Well…

It is no secret that I love writing prompts. I would go on Pinterest, find one that I like and play the what if game. I really do love doing just that. What if the handsome man lost his looks but no one cared? What if he was the villain of someone elses story? How would he react to find out that he was the villain all along? What if he enjoyed being evil? WHAT IF…

But last week my wife and I went for a walk. We have been in Taizhou, China, for a week, but have not yet gone out to explore. So we set out to the mountain across the road and started climbing the stairs to the temple. It was breath takingly beautiful. The green forest covered in moss and ferns, the thousands of stairs carved with integrity sigils, the graves….

Turns out that people get buried on the mountain, some of the graves seemed new… That is exactly how forests become haunted…

What if… What if the people (or children specifically) buried there are sacrifices? What if the temple is a beacon for the lost souls? What if the children protect what ever is in the temple? What if there is a prophesy? What if the children don’t like this post and come for me…

We did not reach the temple, I got tired and we left that road for another day. But the entire time we walked and talked, bmy mind was writing this story about evil spirits, who get fed the blood of innocent people by the mosquitoes who drain them of life force…

That is where the inspiration came from…

Fear – it is not a physical thing

People often have great stories, but they are afraid to tell it. I don’t know why we do that… Its a story, its something we want to share, it is something we made.

I am guilty of it. I wrote many stories only to delete them without sharing it to the world. I had many great stories that I never wrote, because who would like to read my trash? Fear has so much power over inspiration that it can easily overwhelm it.

No more. Writers, you need to stop being affraid of what others think of your work. Write the story you would love to read, and if no one likes it, at least you would like it. And I promise, somewhere in this world is someone who likes what you like. Even if it is just a family member. If you never write your story, the you will leave this world a little bit emptier. But if you leave your work, your soul in writing, you will always be in the heart of the people.

I would recommend the snowflake method for people feeling fear… Because it guides you throught the emotions that writers go through when writing. It is not perfect, but it does make you feel covered.

You don’t need permission

I will keep this short. You are a writer, you are a creator, you are the master of your thoughts.

You are the one who wants to sit down and write. You are the one with the story to tell. No one else is going to tell the story that you have inside your mind.

You don’t need permission, you need to sit down and do the work. Do what you love. And if you don’t love doing it, then stop doing it. Get somethign you like, and do that instead. If you want tor write, no one should stop you. When you finish your story and it sucks, write another one that is better.

YOU ARE A WRITER!finish strong

Good or bad, you are a writer. So stop waiting for inspiration, sit your butt down, and tell your story.

Conclusion

  • Read a lot – fiction and non-fiction
  • Tell stories about the things you experience
  • Don’t be afraid
  • You don’t need permission

Simple as that 🙂

 

 

 

 

How to Become a Good Writer – 4 Tips

Writing comes easy for some, not so much for others. There are tons of advice online, so I thought that I would chunk it down to the basics. Here are 4 tips on how to become a good writer that you can take action on today.

Show, don’t tell – the devil is in the detailshow don't tell

There is something I think writers often forget. We read stories to fall in love with the characters. We want to be in someone else’s shoes while we read. That means we experience the world from their perspective for that time. When describing scenes, I am very guilty of this, we tend to over-describe.

“The glass on the ebony table, half full of what looks to be wine, is glistening in the light of the candle.”

But that is not how we experience the world. When we walk into a room, we don’t see everything at the same time. We tend to notice things as they become important to us. We talk to the person in the room with us and begin interacting with the room.

What this means for good writing is that if something is not important to the story, or the characters never interact with it, don’t write it. No one cares about the feather duster the maid forgot to put away unless it is going to be the murder weapon. It also means that dialogue will show the reader not only the personalities of the character but also what details are important.

“Drinking alone, are we Charles? Do you have an extra glass for me?”

“Never sir, drinking alone is an honour and a crime!” he retorted as he threw the empty bottle out the window.

Sense it – it is in yousense it

Details are important. It gives you a picture in your mind, in your reader’s minds what you are describing. But that does not mean that the reader is immersed. There is one small thing many writers forget to do… In case you readers by using the senses.

How did it feel, how did it sound, how did it make you feel? That is what makes you feel immersed. I think the reason people forget to include this in writing is that the mind automates the process. People walk into rooms all the time and experience the senses, but don’t react to them.

The next time you enter a room, take note of a few things:

  • The temperature – is it warm, cool, breezy, stuffy
  • How does the room smell – my grandfather always smelled of old spice and tobacco, but he wasn’t a smoker
  • What did it feel like when you entered the room – were you barefoot on a soft carpet, was the light too bright
  • How did it make you feel – was this the room where something bad happened, does it make you feel uncomfortable
  • Taste… – were you eating or drinking something, was there a strange taste in the air (linked to smell)

Keep in mind what your character would sense when they enter a new location. Think of how the senses would change during a specific scene.

Copy the writers you love – but don’t use their workimitate your heroes

I am a really slow reader. I mean really… slow… I am ashamed of the number of books I read. But that being said, I think the books I read are awesome and the authors are simply amazing.

Learn from what you read. If you are reading an academic book, you are trying to get something out of it. You want to take that material and copy it to your brain. But that is not what we are talking about. When reading fiction, you should read for fun. You should not be taking notes constantly. It should be a form of entertainment.

But the things you should learn while reading fiction is to acknowledge the things that you found interesting. If something moved you or if it stood out, take note of it.

I learned from J.K. Rowling’s books that you can make anything up as long as you stick to it. You are writing fiction, you are making things up. Why not make your own rules for how the world works? If you live in that world the way she does, no one can tell you that you are wrong.

I learned from Dan Brown that if you do enough research you can tell the most wonderful lies and make it seem true. The Robert Langdon series made me read up on so many facts… I would read a chapter and stop to research if it was true. Because everything he wrote, was lined with truths.

Matthew Colville taught me that you need to find your writing voice. I read his books, Priest and Thief, with the same ease as speaking to a friend. His dialogue and descriptions were kept simple and to the point. I knew what was going on most of the time. He did not opt for huge words that I needed to look up and told the story that he wanted to tell.

Take away small gems from what you read and try to do the same in your own way. Read a lot and do not be afraid to copy. (DO NOT PLAGIRISE.)

Write every day – practice makes perfect

All the above tips lead to this. Practice, practice, practice. The more you do it, the better you will get. If you don’t practice writing like you practice everything else you want to be good at, you will never get better.

You can take courses, read all the books, listen to all the TED talks you want… If you don’t actually sit down and practice, you will never level up. Writers need to have a balance. They need to read AND write. What they read needs to be varied, what they write should be what they love.

If you can master that habit, you will succeed. Set a word goal, or a time limit, and start writing to achieve that goal every single day.

practice

Conclusion

 

In conclusion, these are the things you need to practice becoming a good writer:

  • Show, don’t tell
  • Describe senses
  • Learn from the masters
  • Practice, practice, practice

Comment down below what the most important lesson was that you learned from your favourite author.

Thanks for reading

The Tools of a Writer – do you need them?

So, what are the tools of a writer? What gadgets and gears do you need to be successful, creative, emotional? Well, that depends on your personality. It will vary from person to person, the reasons you write and what you hope to accomplish.

I believe as a writer you need a story, something to write with and something to write on… But that being said, there are a few things that I love using, or would like to try to use, when I write. Let us take a look at some:

1. WrittenKitten writtenkitten reward

I love using this when I write. It is simple and easy to use. You simply go to the site and start typing. For every x amount of words, a picture of a puppy, kitten or bunny pops up and encourages you to write another x amount of words.

The main reason I use this is motivation. As writers, we all have intrinsic motivations. We believe that we want to write because it gives us fulfilment, purpose and it inspires others. But its hard to show those kinds of motivations. You will not feel accomplished until you are holding your finished product. That could take a long time and it is easy to get discouraged in the mean time.

That is where extrinsic motivation comes in. WrittenKitten “rewards” you with a photo for each amount of work you do. When you sit down to write 1000 words (or more,) it really helps if you get something out of it other than the end goal. Some people eat a piece of chocolate for every 100 words, I look at a bunny eating a carrot…

2. Grammarly you are

Time for me to come clean. I am terrible at spelling and knowing what punctuation goes where. I love overusing commas and ellipsis. Sometimes I write without thinking and retype the same words twice. Or start ten sentences with the same word. Also, English is not my first language, though I was raised in an English environment.

Enter: Grammarly. It works in most of the platforms that I write in or allows me to copy and paste it into my account and receive the voice of my old English teacher telling me what I did wrong.

So far, it is the best spellcheck software I have used in forever. It knows which witch is which. You’re always sure your work is 99% correct. I use the free version, cause it serves my needs at the moment.

3. Hemingway Editor hemingway app

This is a weird one, but I like the Hemingway Editor. I use it to identify sentences that are too hard to read. Simple is efficient, and I tend to over complicate sentences. This web app calls me out on it. It suggests where I should place a comma, or simply decide the structure into two separate sentences.

The other thing it helps me with is removing unnecessary words and passive voice. If you also tend to use big or complicated words, the Editor will suggest a simpler word for ease of reading.

When you give it a try, write in WrittenKitten, then paste it to the Editor, to see what you can improve. Otherwise, your work flow will grind to a halt as you try to fix every mistake. Use it for what it is, an Editor. It is by no means a word processor.

4. Writing Prompts

I know that I write about this a lot. But I am not creative 100% of the time. Coming up with ideas or not always easy. But I found great inspiration from writing prompts on Pinterest.

The fun thing about the prompts is that every person sees them differently. So I would create a mind map with the prompt in the middle. Then play the what if game. It is great fun doing this and at the end, I have an awesome picture of where I wan the story to go.

Sometimes I get my friends together and we eat pizza, drink coffee and play with writing prompts. Most of the time we just come up with foolish, stupid ideas (the best kind) but between the mud lies gold.

5. A Whiteboard

Not all my tools are high tech software. I often stand in front of my whiteboard, outlining the material I am going to write. It’s great for brainstorming. Each time I come up with an idea, it goes on the board, if I like it, it stays there. If, not…

I don’t carry a notebook with me, if an idea is worth it, it will stick around. So if the idea is still flowing in my mind, it goes on the board the next time I pass by it. Yes, I have lost some great story ideas this way. But I have refined better ideas to material that people actually loved reading.

Get a whiteboard or a large piece of paper with different colour pens/markers. Red for characters, blue for key story points and black for important story details. Nothing more, because you are not writing the book on the board. You are just highlighting the things that you definitely want in the book.

Conclusion

As writers, we need nothing but a pen, paper and lots of coffee. But we live in an age where there are more things available to us. It is easy to get overwhelmed and believe that you need every little thing on the web to become a writer. This list is the most basic things that I need and use.

If you want me to look at different tools, let me know in the comments. Also, share what you use, maybe I could add it to my next post.

Thanks for reading.

Writing an Essay – it’s easy

I loved writing essays in school. The teacher would give us a topic and usually a word count of 500 words in the hour. My friends hated it though. They would stare at the page hoping for inspiration. Others would look at the teacher with hopes that she was joking. Let’s look at my secret weapon for writing an essay.

Before you start writing

Before I get into how to write the essay, there are a few things to consider.

Choose a topic that you are interested in writing about. If you have to write about something you do not like or know nothing about… Let’s just say it makes the task impossible.

Research your topic. I know this sucks, but that is why you chose something you are interested in. Maybe you learn something you never knew.

Form a thesis as you research. The goal here is that you form an opinion about the topic you chose, then convey your opinion to the reader. This is going to be your central theme for the essay.

The IntroductionOutline the intro

My grandmother taught me to draw a spider when writing essays. The head should be the introduction. It should state who, what, when, where and why. Sometimes how…

For academic/professional writing you still need this. The introduction will state to the reader what they are going to be reading for the rest of the essay. If the intro is vague and doesn’t tell the reader what the topic is about, then they will find themselves asking: “why am I reading this?”

Here is an example:

I have chosen the topic of writing essays because it is where my writing dreams started. By the end of this essay, I hope to convey the importance of structure, briefness and that essays are not that bad.

The BodyOutlining essays

Back to our spider… Following the head, we had to draw a body. It symbolic of the body of the text. A spider has 8 legs, mine has just enough to cover my writing needs. Each leg is a paragraph.

The reason each leg is a paragraph is that it forces you to keep things simple. A paragraph is a group of sentences that relate to each other. Usually, it is the main idea surrounded or followed by supporting sentences. Each leg should state the main idea of the paragraph.

Another important thing is that each leg should lead to the other in a logical manner. If the first leg was about how a kid got stuck in the well, the next leg should be about how someone learned that he is there.

In academic/business writing the first paragraph states a viewpoint, the second states how that viewpoint affects the next.

Example:

Paragraph 1 – Writing an essay has to start somewhere, why not with structure? It has a beginning, a middle and an end. The beginning, or the introduction, should state what we are reading. The middle should carry the topic to prove or disprove it. The end should state how your feelings have improved or changed about the topic. The beginning and end are usually short, having only two to five sentences.

Paragraph 2 – The middle, or the body, is where most of the time is going to be spent by the reader. Here is where you want to convey your message and change the reader’s perspective. It is filled with ideas and researched, rewritten in your own words. Each paragraph is usually 5 or more sentences leading to 100 or more words.

Paragraph 3 – When you write the topic in your own words, you find the gaps in your knowledge. If you are having trouble writing, it could mean that you have to go back and research the topic again. Writing in your own words, stating your own opinion also means that you are doing your own work. If you just write what you have learned from the sources, you can get in trouble for plagiarism.

This is not the best academic writing I have done, but it should serve as an example. Each paragraph is just an idea, that flows into the next. The last paragraph should flow towards the conclusion.

The Conclusion

The conclusion is a summary of what you just wrote. Teachers usually look at the intro and conclusion first. They want to see what you were writing about and if you ended with your goal achieved.

Here is the last example:

In conclusion, writing essays are not daunting tasks. Once you understand how they are formed, how paragraphs work and that they are just a beginning, middle and end, then the sky is the limit.

finish strong

Tips I use when writing:

  • Use small words
  • Use the words you mean to say
  • The body should not be more than 8 paragraphs if you are writing less than 1000 words
  • Use WrittenKitten whenever possible
  • Write everything before you go back to edit
  • Do not rely on similes
  • Have fun doing it

My Conclusion

Essays are not as scary to write is people think. If you have a topic you like writing about and have some familiarity with, then it should be no problem writing it.

Academic writing is almost always comparative or persuasive. Once you have an opinion formed, then the writing will come easy.

HOMEWORK: sit down, chose a topic and write an essay. Limit yourself to 500 words.

Comment down below your topic and if you had fun writing it.
 

 

How To Write Fiction Fast – and why you should try it

.So, you want to know how to write fiction – fast… There are many reasons why you would want to do just that. Deadlines, writer’s block or just because if it takes to long, you are afraid that you will drop the project. No matter the reason why you want to write a story quickly. I am going to show you how I write a story in no time.

Start with an idea – it is easier that way.

Get a story idea

Before you sit down to write, there will be an itch at the back of your head. Something that inspired you to take the time and tell its story. If that is not the case, you can find that itch by using a writing prompt.

The idea/prompt should be your general theme. It is the guiding thing that your story is about. Now you add the secret that I learned from a wise D&D game master:

“Someone wants something badly and is having trouble getting it.”

As you write your story, every action should be inspired by this phrase. The hero needs something done to feel different about his situation but can not until he overcomes his situation. This is what instils conflict. If a person could just get whatever he wants, then it would not be a good story.

“John needs to get milk, so he went to the store and bought some.” Does not feel like a story worth writing.”

VS

“John needs to get milk, but he can’t because the supreme dictator has placed a curfew law in town.” Now that gets you going, doesn’t it?

From there I usually use the Harmon Circle to outline my story. You, need, go, search, find, take, return, changed. As I do this I ask WHO, WHAT, WHY, HOW? Why does John need milk? Why is there a dictator? Why can’t he just not use milk? What would happen if he went out during curfew? Who would care if he could not get milk? Why is the store open after curfew?

creating characters for fiction

Characters Drive The Story

I used to write short stories telling things from my perspective. Narrating the reader through everything. But readers need to fall in love the characters. No narrator can force you to love a word, but a writer can make you fall in love with a character.

When writing fiction fast, you can skip a lot of character creation. There are three characters every story needs. These three characters can’t be half-assed. They need some though because they are the ones that the readers are going to love or hate. Everyone else is just extras and throwaways.

You need:

  1. A Hero – the person who started the journey, whose actions bring on the change needed
  2. The sidekick – this could be the sidekick, lover, best friend, butler, victim acting to bring clarity to the hero
  3. The villain – this person has in some way been wronged by the hero, the hero stands against this person’s worldview

Knowing this, you start creating the story. By this point, you have an idea what the story is about. Create beginning, middle and end milestones. Fill in possible dialogue, things that the characters do during that time. It should be enough to give you an idea of what the characters are like and how they act during those specific points of the story.

I don’t fill in details at this point. I just want to know what people would do in certain situations. Every time I introduce someone other than those three, I take note of them, but I don’t have to tell their life stories.

Write the draft – just write

just write

Now that I know the theme, the characters and what direction I want the book to go, I just sit down and write. I refuse to look at the screen most of this phase. Because I just want the story out of my head and on the page. I don’t create descriptions, I just write what the characters are doing. Listening to their stories. Hearing them tell it from their point of view.

I have a notepad next to me, to take note of what I write so that there is consistency in what I write. No one is going to see this badly written draft. It is just to get the story started. The most important thing to establish is who the characters are and how they interact with each other. How they feel about each other.

 

When this part is done, I have a great idea of how the story is going to go.

Colour in your story

The story is on paper or screen. If you told someone what you wrote, it would definitely sound like a story. But the readers now need something… Colour.

 

You go to the beginning, and you read your own work. I hate doing this because it is like hearing your own voice. “Is that really what I sound like?”

Yes, it is. Calm down there. You need to read as though you are a critic and a fan. Go through the work and see where detail is needed. But only where it is needed.

If you wrote: “Jane lived in a house.” That would be enough detail. Unless there is more about the house that you need for the story. If the house is important as a landmark, you need to add colour and style.

On the opposite end of the spectrum: “Jane placed her freshly squeezed orange juice on the red, silk tablecloth while sitting at the antique dinner table crafted by a bald monk in the sandy dunes of Australia…”

 

Does it really matter who made the table? Why should I care that it is silk? Is she into health and fitness to be drinking freshly squeezed juice? Does it tell me something?

Removing unnecessary descriptions helps you write faster because you are skipping time-wasting words.

Conclusion

 

Writing faster is a great tool to get you started. Writing faster can lead to lower quality work. But if you use it to get you started, it is a great motivation to continue. Once the ball is rolling, you can refine what you created.

So, how do you write fiction fast:

  • Have an idea
  • Get characters to drive the story
  • Just write the draft
  • Read it through colouring in as needed.

Let me know what you think about writing faster. Hope this helps

How to write inspiring stories – Inspire the world around you

Most writers want to inspire some form of something in people. Think of your favourite authors or favourite books and remember how they made you feel. How they inspired you to become a better person, or how they made you take a step that you would never have taken before. Let us look at how to write inspiring stories so that you can inspire someone else.

inspirational writing

Start before you start

Before you get to writing your inspirational works, think about what you want to inspire. Do you want to inspire another by telling your own story? Has something happened to you that changed your life in such a drastic way that you have to share it with the world? Or maybe, you want to inspire an idea/concept of something…

When writing about yourself, be as truthful as possible. People will be inspired by what happened to you, fantasy will not be your friend in this. You will become a shining light in the minds of people who have endured the same struggle. If you mix it with fantasy, they will feel as though they will never get through it without some miracle.

When promoting an idea, fiction is okay. Many kid’s stories do this. “Do not talk to strangers kids, the big bad wolf will get you.” But it is important that you state that there is a problem, and some inspiring way to stop the problem.

Find inspiration before you start writing because it gives you the path you need to follow. I love writing inspirational stories because I have a few friends with depression. What I love to do is listen to what they need to hear, then I go find a writing prompt. BrainyQuote.com is my go-to place to find inspiration on… well, inspiration.

You are a writer, so tell a story

To me, the most important thing you can do is tell the story that you need to hear. Keep in mind that you have a map to follow (the theme/idea you chose to write about.) But get some writer’s diarrhoea, and get the words on the page. Write everything you want to say now, then edit it to what you need to say later.

Tell the story you wanted or needed to hear. If you are writing about what happened to you, tell the people what happened, what you went through, what you thought about and how that lead to you being where you are now. When writing inspirational fiction, keep in mind what you are trying to convey. But let the story deliver that message.

Writing inspiring stories is about describing emotions and thoughts. These emotions and thoughts lead people to take action.

tell the story you want to tell

Find the gem within the story

Now that you know what the theme of the story is and you have a story in mind to tell, you need something extra… The thing that keeps the focus, the thing that your story from all the others. You need to find what is interesting about your story.

I wrote a fictional short story a while back. The quote I took was: “No act of kindness, no matter how small, was ever wasted.” The story was about a man who could not offer much to life/society, he felt useless. But as far as he went, whenever someone needed something trivial, someone to go to the story, mow the lawn, drive them somewhere… He would do it. Something bad happened to him, and the people he did the small acts of kindness for, came to his aid

The gem, the interesting thing about this story was that I wrote it for only one person. Nobody else would ever read, nor need to read this story. The character reflected the person whom I wrote it for, like a kind of reflection.

When you write your story, you will be writing for more than one person. But they all will need a similar story. That one, interesting thing you add… is something that only people with the problem you are trying to solve will resonate with.

You are natural, so write naturally

You know what you want to write about, you have a story planned out, you know the thing that will separate you from the others… But how do you write an inspiring story?

By sitting down and writing the story like you were having tea with an old friend.

As you write your story, you are talking… Stephen King called it “communicating telepathically with your readers” in his book.

I walk around the room in circles before I write, talking to the air and waving my hands like a lunatic. It helps me remember that writing is talking through a different medium.

There are people who want to, need to, hear your story, coming from you, yourself. They don’t want to hear it from anyone but you. Inspiration comes from admiration. It comes from people liking what you do. It comes from who you are.

Conclusion

So, how to write inspiring stories?

  • You decide where the story is coming from
  • You tell a story that fits your needs
  • You find something interesting to say in your own way
  • You write as naturally as you possibly can

Never be afraid to write what you love, what you believe in or what you need to say. Your message has the potential to change someone’s day.

And remember, no act of kindness is ever wasted.

Comment down below your favourite quote from BrainyQuote so that the world can be inspired.

how to write inspiring stories

How to deal with writer’s block – The invisible barrier

how writers's block feels

So, I am sitting here, in front of my laptop… The little, black strip flashing, mockingly in front of me. Ideas keep floating through my head, in and out of consciousness, but none of them flowing to my fingers and on to the page. So I thought, then procrastinated, then picked… How to deal with writer’s block? Let us find out.

Working until you find motivation:

Finding motivation is hard for many people. They want to be great writers who put out massive amounts of literature in short amounts of time. But when they sit down to get their idea across… Writer’s block hits like a brick. So how do you deal with writer’s block if the problem is that you are not feeling motivated?

The simple answer is: “You get motivated…” Here is how:

Pomodoro Writing

So for those who do not know, the Pomodoro technique is where you set a timer, usually for 25 minutes, and work solely focused on your work for that time. That means no phone, no distractions, no getting up, for 25 minutes. After the time is up, you get to take a break for 5 minutes.

How I use this technique to overcome writer’s block, is I set a goal that must be reached at that time. For example: “For this Pomodoro session, I want to write 250 words.” Setting goals gives you something to work towards and giving it a narrow time frame forces you to think fast and put something out.

Just write

Now that you have a timeframe to write within and a word goal per session, you still might feel hard press to find something to write about. So, just write…

Trust yourself, your skill, your craft. Sit down in front of your laptop/paper and empty your heart and mind out. Once you get into your flow state, writing becomes easier.

Use writing prompts

Simple, straightforward and everyone is different. I love using writing prompts to find a topic that is out of my comfort zone and just write something silly. Sometimes the story sticks and I make it better and refine it into something people would actually like reading.

Write first what you want to read

write what you want to read first

Writing for other people is hard. When I started, the advice was along the lines of getting to know the market, know the target audience and write for the ideal reader. But we are writers, not mind readers. It is discouraging trying to figure out what other people want to read, this creates the mental block “I don’t know what you want to read, so how can I write it?”

The answer is to create something for yourself first.

Write to one person

I know this sounds contradictory to what I just wrote, but I love doing this. Every time I sit down to write a poem, story, article or even a sticky note, I imagine writing to my wife. I know what she loves to read and I know that she would honestly tell me what I could change or improve.

Writing for THAT ONE person, instead of the masses, gives you a certain freedom and permission to write great content that is good enough for the person whose approval you actually want.

How would you have done this?

If you are not feeling original, read your favourite story again and write it the way you would have wanted it to go. It takes away the creation of new characters and world-building, but it allows you to make the story the way you thought it should go. The story that you would have enjoyed reading more.

I have written most of it, but…

Picture this: you are writing pages per day… the chapters flow from your mind like water through a river… Suddenly… Nothing. You have no idea what the character should do, how the situation should resolve or what the mystery clues should be. You have come this far, and now you are blocked…

Put that work to sleep

Sometimes I would write for hours, coming up with a great story. Tales worth sharing with the world and characters that would inspire future generations. But then it stalls… Weeks pass that I procrastinate because nothing is good enough.

So instead of banging your head against the wall, save that story, write something else until you find the right words to finish your story. Let your subconscious work on it while you do actual work.

Cliffhanger

I have never tried this, but I am going to give it a go. You have to set a goal every day. But this method lets you write the fantastic story up and to the point where you get rolling. Just before you reach the end of the chapter or the great reveal… YOU STOP.

You read that correctly… You stop. Because that drives you to come back the next day, start from the top and it is easier to get the ballpoint pen rolling again.

Get up and go

If you know where the story should go, but you have no idea how to put it into words, get up and go do something. Diffused thinking is a powerful thing for writers.

Get up, go for a walk, jump rope and do anything that takes mental effort. Take your mind off things, and the answer will come.

Writing is a full-time job.

Many people think that writers can sleep until whenever get up and lounge around the house for hours then a bolt of lightning electrifies them with inspiration and the churn out words like a mill. That is not the case… I really wish it was, but it really is not.

Writing is a job that you have to treat like one. You can’t half-heart it if you are serious about it.

Get a writual

Every writer should get a ritual before they write. Something they do that conditions their mind to know: “now I am going to work, I am going to sit down and write for x amount of time and this is what you should focus on.”

Some writers brew a pot of tea and sip it in front of the window watching the sunrise. Other listen to their favourite music while making breakfast. I sit down, close my eyes, and start typing a sentence before I open them.

Get a ritual to get you going.

It is solitary, but it does not have to be

My first job taught me that I did not know everything. You have co-workers for a reason. When I get stuck, I call some friends and brew speciality coffee and we sit down and talk about concepts. We brainstorm story ideas and play the “what if” game until I have a broad idea of a story.

This helps a lot and is great fun because it adds the uniqueness of a group thought process. If you feel that all of your work comes out as different versions of the same thing, then this is a fun thing to break the block.

Conclusion

Here is what I want you to take away from this:

  1. Use tools to get you started, do not wait for inspiration, be an inspiration.
  2. Know why you write, write the things you want to read first.
  3. Step away from your work and take a break.
  4. Writing is a full-time job, never half-ass it.

It is okay to have writer’s block, it does happen. It is not okay to stop writing because you feel blocked. Try these methods and let me know what you used to get over writer’s block.

just start writing

About Armand

Hello and welcome to Writing a Future. My name is Armand and I will be learning with you today.

MY STORY

My story begins with my grandparents. Both of them were teachers, grandma a math genius and my grandfather the principle with an affinity with language. Thanks to them, I have always admired learning, but more than just learning… I loved teaching. More on that in a second.

I learned to write before even going to school, although my works would be simplistic and mostly ripped off from what ever fairy tale my parents read to me before bed. Crayon covered telephone books told short stories about… I honestly can’t remember. But it was fun either way.

Going to school I learned that it was only the beginning. My baby-hood scribbles become tales and recounts of things that never happened. Students would call it lies, but in fact it would be Fiction… While the other students struggled to come up with essays, I would fill the hour of creative writing by trying to write as many 500 word stories as possible.

I did not think much of writing, it was something I did for fun. Going to university, I would earn pocket-money by helping students write essays, letters and short stories for their classes. Each story being different and unique to the student.

It never occurred to me that people actually write for a living. That the books I read are actually produced by people who had a story to tell. So I started writing stories and shared them with friends and family. But more often than not, I would just save them to my Drive, and once a year I would go and look at them, only to set them ablaze. (or at least delete them.)

WHY DO I WANT TO HELP PEOPLE?

I want to help people who feel the same as me. Since leaving school, I met a lot of people like me. People who love reading, people who love writing, but never actually feel good enough. The kind of people who spent hours, days or even weeks writing a great story, only to have it lay in their drawers or folders.

I believe that with the right education, all people can be great writers. But more importantly, I believe people who have created great stories should have those stories shared.

In creating this site, I want to learn and teach as much as I can to people who deserve a chance to be heard.

THE GOAL OF THIS SITE:

The goal of this site is to create content that guides people to create amazing stories and hopefully someday to get those stories published and shared across the world.

If I can get one person writing about they love, I would feel that a goal has been achieved.

Writing as an art form has changed life and has lead civilizations to where they are now. It gives people hope, it inspires, it instills emotion and it educates.

My goal with this site, is to help people to write a better future.

If you ever need a hand or have any questions, feel free to leave them below and I will be more than happy to help you out.

All the best,

Armand

writingafuture.com