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Posts tagged writing

6 Tips to Help You Break Writer’s Block

Writer’s block is a pain in the butt. We’ve all been there. As a writer, writer’s block is the bane of my existence. We’ve all hit that dead end where nothing we write seems to make sense anymore. Those are the times when watching even the smallest particle of dust flutter past your computer screen can feel like a better application of your time that 6 Tips Writers Blockwriting more nonsense words. It’s frustrating. And sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you just can’t break the writer’s block. You try writing prompts and taking breaks, but those tricks just don’t seem to cut it all the time. There are many techniques writers use to overcome the dreaded writer’s block. The trick is finding the method that works best for you. Here are six tips for you to play around with and use the next time you get writer’s block:
• Take a break and do mundane stuff. Stop your writing and wash the dishes or fold the laundry. Those tasks will give you something to focus on rather than your writing, leaving your mind fresh when you sit back down to write.
• Write at a different time or in a different place than you usually do. A change of scenery does a lot of wonders for a writer. The new scenery might spark ideas you wouldn’t normally have in your regular writing spot. The same goes for the time that you write. Write later in the night or earlier in the morning for a new take on your topic.
• Start writing in the middle. Introductions are stressful. Sometimes, it can seem impossible to write without nailing your introduction. But, coming back to the introduction after you have written a body of work can make your introduction stronger. Write where you want your story or blog to go and mold your introduction around it. If your writer’s block is stuck on a specific area, skip that and go back to it later. Many writers don’t write in order.
• Don’t edit while you write. Stressing over punctuation and sentence structure can cloud your mind and keep you from producing content that conveys the tone you are looking for. Don’t nit-pick your writing as you go. Focus on your content and the tone before you worry over details.
• While you’re at it, try free writing. Write anything that comes to mind. No punctuation. No grammar. Make it one long sentence if you want to. Freewriting is an excellent way to process your thoughts (or lack thereof) and get to the point you are trying to make. Even if what you write makes no sense, you may find something surprising in your freewriting!
• Change how you are writing. Like changing your scenery, changing how you are writing could spark new ideas. Change from Word to Notepad, or maybe even good ol’ pen and paper. Change your font size and color. Small changes like these can change the way you look at your writing.
• Most importantly, write for yourself. You obviously love writing. Forget writing for an audience and get back to why became a writer in the first place. Don’t care what anyone else thinks. Just be you!
The bottom line is, writer’s block is something that every writer has struggled with, and working through it will happen, in time. If all else fails, try a glass of wine and a good night’s sleep. Sleep is something that writers are usually woefully deficient in, anyway!

 

 

Keisha K. Page is a published author, and owner of Working Mama Media, where she helps authors navigate the business side of being an author, among other things. She writes weekly at Ecririons about book marketing, platform building, branding, and putting together a team to ensure your success as an author.

5 Tools to Make Self Editing Less Stressful

Writing is a long and complicated process. After you have toiled over your work, writing and rewriting over a long period of time, you always have to edit it. For many people, this is where the going gets rough. Spelling, grammar, and punctuation can get very technical. 5 Tools to make self-editing less stressfulIt’s enough to make your head spin. Microsoft Word never catches every error and rereading your own work can really make you cringe. Once you start rereading, you want to start changing. Sometimes, you can unintentionally end up with a completely different story. No matter what way you look at it, self-editing is a giant pain in the ass. It’s also a very necessary one. But have no fear, there are resources that make the task of self-editing less complicated. Here are a few resources to make self-editing your next work easier to manage:

  1. Have any online dictionary, thesaurus, and/or style guide you may need ready. Sometimes you will come across a sentence that may be grammatically correct, but just doesn’t set the tone you are looking for. Or it may not be formatted in the right style. Having a dictionary, thesaurus, and/or style guide ready will keep you from having to hunt for the right resource later. Most dictionaries and reference guides have become available online, making it easier to get your hands on the information you need.
  2. Use Grammarly to catch more mistakes when they happen. Grammarly is a spelling, grammar, and punctuation checker that you can add to your internet browser as an extension. It catches more mistakes than Word does. You can copy and paste your text into the Grammarly editor and get it corrected on the spot. Grammarly also helps catch mistakes in anything you write online. From Facebook to emails, Grammarly will correct it as you write it. (https://app.grammarly.com/)
  3. If you are writing about something wordy or technical, you may need to turn it into plain language. Many of us encounter wording that we don’t understand in everyday life. From legal documents to scientific studies, technical language can throw us all for a loop. Changing technical jargon to plain wording will help your readers better understand what you are trying to say. (http://www.plainlanguagenetwork.org/Examples/samples.html)
  4. If you use references, make sure they are cited right with ReferenceChecker. ReferenceChecker is a free, downloadable software that you can use to double check any and all references you write. ReferenceChecker checks a number of different styles as well as displays links to corrections for your references. (http://www.goodcitations.com/)
  5. Use a checklist to keep you on track. Without a clear idea of what needs to be done with editing, it is easy to get sidetracked. Keep a checklist nearby and follow it to keep you focused. Checklists also serve as a reminder for common mistakes to look for in your writing. (http://www.readwritethink.org/files/resources/printouts/Editing%20Checklist.pdf)

There are plenty of resources out there to get you through the editing process. Use these resources as a guide when you start editing your work. They may even lead you to more resources that fit your writing better. Editing becomes simpler with practice. All you have to do is persevere. Hopefully, these resources will make your next editing venture a little easier to handle.

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