Thursday, October 31, 2013

Writing It

(Fifth lesson of my writing class.  The goal of the entire class was for each member to have written a short story, and this week we are beginning to write them.  Please remember that these lessons are for young writers, and therefore I've only given the basic concepts.)

It’s finally time to actually get to writing your story.  When you write, you’re almost certainly going to look back and see something you want to change.

Don’t do it.

Don’t interrupt your sentence, don’t interrupt your paragraph, don’t interrupt your page, keep writing.

The hardest part of just about everything is doing it.  Especially with writing.  Sitting down and just writing is one of the hardest things you can do.  But now that you’ve got an idea for your story, writing it is the next key thing.

If you feel like you should write, but are dragging your feet about it, you’ve probably got a case of procrastination, which is one of the main thing that keeps you away from writing.  The solution is simple.  Tell yourself that today, all I have to write is one paragraph.  That’s it.  Just one paragraph.

By the end of that paragraph, you might still feel sick of the story, but more often than not, I’ve found that I tricked myself, and then I write more than that one paragraph because I’m starting to get involved in the story again.  If you still don’t want to write, that’s actually okay.  Maybe you need a day’s break from the story.

Then again, you might have another form of procrastination.  You’ve likely heard of it before - yes, it’s Writer’s Block.

Writer’s Block is very real.  But it’s solution is very real too.

You could look up the ‘cure to Writer’s Block’ just about anywhere, and likely they’ll have the same answer: “Just write.”

That has never, ever helped me because Writer’s Block and procrastination are two entirely different things.  For procrastinating “just writing” might be the best way, but not for Writer’s Block.

Why?  Because Writer’s Block, though related to procrastination, isn’t one in the same.  Writer’s Block is usually caused from lack of inspiration.  Procrastination, well you’ve just been distracted with other things.

So how do you conquer Writer’s Block?  The thing that’s helped me most is just to simply plan ahead.  Writer’s Block is basically two things, lack of inspiration, or just simply not knowing where to go in the story.

That’s why we planned out the story a few weeks ago, and that’s why it matters.

Some writers just write without even basic outlines, but when they hit Writer’s Block, it’s really going to hurt.  Those who outline will have some padding for the fall if the Block does strike.

It’s not that not outlining is bad, coming up with your own style and voice in writing is critical, but it has flaws (just like outlining does).

So if you have Writer’s Block, the best way to get rid of it is step back from your writing, stop trying to “just write” and plan out your chapter - change the thing about it that you’re struggling with.

There are other ways, however.  With both Writer’s Block and procrastination, you can simply look at the current situation.  Is something boring you?  Is that action sequence just “bleh”?

You need to keep the action flowing in the story.  This doesn’t mean its all guns and swords and battle, it just means that something is always happening.  Tension is growing higher every minute.

How do you do this?  By increasing the stakes.  By making the story goal ever more worthwhile.

While we’re talking about Writer’s Block, do any of you have questions about this?  Are any of you have problems with your story?

(Yes, I'm opening it up to you on the comments below.)



  1. Questions:
    What to do if you have a serious problem with having waaaay too many projects?
    If your answer is, "That's normal," then is it okay/normal to switch back and forth between projects?
    How do you suggest writing a long novel?
    What if I have a hard time writing a reasonable length novel?
    And, lastly, I have heard rumours that marshmallows aid in all areas of writing. Is this correct?
    —The Curious and Faithful Reader

    1. Holy pumpkins - I was just struggling with that first questions for almost the entirety of last month - I do have an answer, though. And though for some it might be normal, I could fill a whole post on that subject, and I think I will.

      Suggest writing a long novel . . . I'm still working with that myself, but I might at least be a helpful other point of view. I may write a post on that sometime, to answer your question, O Mysterious One.
      And for a reasonable length novel, I'll put it in with the post for long novels. I will say, however, that there are several others out there who struggle with it too - I for one.

      Marshmallows? Of course! They aid in the most superb manner a morsel can aid, and beyond.

  2. Many thanks, sire! I await those posts eagerly, sire! I have but one more inquiry, sire!
    Oh :P Haha. I was about to ask how on EARTH you managed to reply at 5:07 pm when I posted the comment at 5:09 pm.... then, ahem, sire, the date caught my eye.
    Happy posting, sire!


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