Tag Archives: writer’s block

How to Give Up

So, most writers probably want to write blogs on how to keep going. How to overcome writers block or make it through a tough segment. But what I need today, is a segment on how, or at least when, to give up.

We’ve heard it all our lives. Quotes about how quitting accomplishes nothing. If at first you don’t succeed, or if life gives you lemons, or you miss every shot you don’t take etc. But surely there is a time when one must just give up, move on, try something else entirely? Maybe you tried a hundred times over and you’re just wasting time now. Maybe your lemonade is on its fifth batch and it still tastes disgusting (after all why keep trying to use rotten lemons when clearly they’ll never be any better). Maybe your legs are too worn out to even take one more shot at a goal and it’s time to just pass it to another player instead, or better yet, go sit on the bench and rest before getting back in the game.

I write this because I’m giving up. Don’t you worry. Not this blog. Not being a writer. But I’m giving up on a writing project I’d been attempting. And for once I think that’s the best approach.

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In high school all I ever did was write. I spent ages working on my novels, tapping away and dreaming of the day I would be published. By the time I graduated from college I had finished writing four novels and a novella. Five finished works. And the only thing I felt stood between me and publication, was my inability to edit. And I knew, if I’d just sit down and actually make an effort I might finally have a book out.

Fiction writing class was what caused me to start thinking I might need to really crack down and start working on second drafts. And while it was hard, I did begin to think it was a possibility. But life doesn’t always go the way we want it to.

That same year, the person who had inspired me to write the four novels dropped out of my life. Our friendship had been fading for some time, and I made some horrible mistakes in the last moments that just finally killed it once and for all. I can’t really even find the words to describe how much this devastated me. But beyond just losing my closest and dearest friend, a person who had changed my life countless times over, who had been there for me in my darkest hours, I also lost years of work. Four novels, suddenly worthless.

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For a while I clung to some sense of hope. Maybe I could revise all of them. Take out things she’d contributed and rework them to be my own. For a while I hopelessly did my best to destroy what we’d built together and build my own world. But every time I did I ended up hurting myself.

I would send myself reeling back into reminiscence. Remembering the good old times, finding myself wondering why it had to end. The truth was, I could never do any work because everything was too fragile. Everything felt connected in a personal way that I couldn’t possibly destroy.

So this is my decision for the moment. I’m giving up. I’m turning over a new leaf and starting over. Four novels are as good as in the trash now, and while it’s hard, it had to happen.

And that’s what made me decide to write this post. For others who might be in a place where they simply need to give up and move on. Perhaps you’ve been working on a novel for a year and you still just can’t finish it, but there’s another project you can feel calling you. Maybe you’ve sent out your book to a hundred publications but no one is biting, and maybe that means you need to do some serious re-editing. Maybe three friends have read your work and said it is terrible, perhaps you try again, maybe you just scrap it and start fresh.

Do what works for you. Know that sometimes you have to just throw in the towel. I’m not talking about giving up on writing itself or anything so dramatic. But there are times we have to let projects go. Or else they’ll simply drag us down.

Here’s my fresh start. I hope some of you who need it can find yours.

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A Sonnet a Day: Writing Forms Beyond Novels

I’ve had nasty writer’s block.

My blog readers are probably confused because I’ve been posting a lot. So I will clarify.

Writer’s block for me doesn’t eliminate all forms of writing usually. I can often still blog, or journal, or write a poem or something like that. But I can’t become productive on novels because I simply can’t quite get the idea of what to write or none of my previously formed ideas seem good enough.

So, I’ve been stuck in other forms waiting for a brilliant novel idea to hit me (and yes that was a pun). In the meantime, I’ve found myself on a sonnet phase after reading a bunch in my Shakespeare class. It’s actually quite a freeing form if you’re having any sort of issue with love…or anything else for that matter, but particularly affairs of the heart.

What I wanted to post about today though, was keeping regular writing going even if you can’t figure out where your major project might be going. Practice is essential. And so, here a few recommended forms to keep you writing.

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1. Poetry

As with the title of this blog, I wanted to make sure I hit poems as a top one. You don’t even need to feel constrained by the parameters of a sonnet, but could do free verse instead. There are tons of poem forms out there. Just do a haiku if you’re really stumped! You’ll figure it out.

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2. Journaling

Put your day, your thoughts, your current confusions down on paper. Reflect and let go. Great way to both destress and practice this literary art.

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3. Word dumping

This is like journaling but more free. Put everything that comes into your head on paper, no matter what it is. Just word vomit essentially, let it run free. Sometimes this is actually a nice thing to do before you write anything serious, because it clears your head.

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4. Writing prompts

I’ve been actively seeking some out lately. It’s been nice to have someone else come up with the basic idea that I then just have to fill out.

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5. Ask friends for ideas

My writing friend recently sent out a form for close friends to fill out commissioning short stories. They give you a setting, a basic protagonist description, a bit of conflict and you do the rest.

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6. Letters

These can be real letters to be friends. They can be fake. They can be something you’d like to send but can’t. I keep various collections of letters. Some to friends. Some to my self. Some to God. Whatever strikes your fancy.

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7. Freewrites

Find basic ideas that inspire you and go from there. No need to think too much about it. Just look up some beautiful photography, or listen to a song, or go take a walk. Find something you like and go from there.

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8. Writing challenges

I used to do this a lot. I’d make up little mini challenges for myself. Like describing a common object in a new and creative way. Or creating an instantaneous character just from a few minute characteristics or personality traits. I’m almost certain you could find some out there on your own, but creativity is the key.

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9. Blogging! Get those ideas out there. Don’t be shy, think of something you’d like to share and go for it. Pretty obvious if you’re on this site I suppose.

You’ve got this! Just get out there and put your pen to use.

Anyone have any forms they’d like to add? What things do you like to do to keep in practice? What other forms really appeal to you?

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Writer’s Block is the Worst

So…my readers are likely sitting in awe of the fact that I’m putting out my first post in months. I guess what’s really incredible is the fact that I promised several posts on my other blog that never happened. So…I’m trying to get back on here some and work on that.

I suppose what is kind of obvious about this is I’ve been dealing with writer’s block lately and it’s made it hard to get on and post, let alone do any real writing. So I’d like to put up a comic that I completely related to as a writer to apologize to all who were hoping for reading material. Pearls Before Swine is one of my favorite comic strips ever, and this particular one beautifully illustrates my easy procrastination methods every time I get on the computer. Hopefully this will be the start of a new plethora of blogging ideas but no guarantees. In the meantime, I love each and every one of my supporters and hope they’ll forgive me for this inspiration drought. Let’s just hope new ideas start sprouting soon.

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Creativity Isn’t Cheap

So unfortunately writers can’t always keep their creative energy running. Some people probably think it’s a renewable resource that is continually there whenever the writer needs it. However, this is often not the case.

Whether it’s writer’s block or just lack of motivation, we can’t always write no matter how much we might want to. Famous authors have struggled with it throughout time even if they managed to try to keep a regular schedule that most writers try so hard to achieve.

I’m going through one of those periods when I just don’t feel like writing, there’s no motivation, I stare at a page and wonder why I’m even doing this. And the sad thing is I have a month off before I go study abroad, and it’s my last chance to write in English before a semester spent in French.

So in my attempt to try to garner some creativity I thought I’d write a few good tips for fighting writer’s block or writer’s lack of inspiration.

1. Take a break- There’s only so far you can force yourself. So, in an effort to preserve precious time and energy try walking away for a bit and coming back later.

2. Find a creative zone- For me long walks or warm showers are great places to just start thinking over possible plot problems or just get creative energy going. Find a place where you feel that you can best get thinking.

3. Read- Sometimes picking up a good book is a good way to take a rest from writing while still keeping a creative mind set, looking over new story ideas, getting your energy going.

4. Other mediums- Get involved in other types of art whether it’s just observing, or participating. Try painting, theater, music, dancing, pottery, or film, or something else entirely. See if maybe another form of creativity might bring you back to writing. I love watching movies or looking at visual art to get me inspired again.

5. Talk to someone- If you have someone who you trust well enough, try working out a troubling plot point with them, or talking about what you could possibly work on to get yourself motivated again. Sometimes they don’t even have to give suggestions, just be there to listen as you sort through your mental processes.

6. Try a different form- If you’re stuck on a novel maybe blog for a bit (like me right now). If you can’t seem to find that right way to finish an essay then write a poem about your frustrations. Keep writing but change it up.

7. Give yourself some grace- Remember that all writers have dry spells. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you simply can’t get yourself to write…unless you’re on a time schedule…then you might want to make sure to finish.

So as I struggle through this period where I just can’t write any of my novels, I hope to try to keep up blogging and maybe get some good ideas from you.

Any suggestions from my readers on good ways go get past writer’s block or writer’s lack of motivation? I always love more suggestions.

PS: A little more than 2 weeks left for me to speak English. I will try my best to keep some good posts coming for the rest of my time in the States.

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Fighting the Block

I found this not only to be amusing but to possibly have some good ideas. When you can’t think of what to do next, consult the chart! Credit to pinterest where I found it!

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September 14, 2013 · 11:38 PM