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17 Posts tagged with the writer's_block tag
1

Make a change

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Nov 13, 2017

I have been experiencing a bit of a dry spell lately. To be frank, I have been inundated by stress. I have a strong suspicion that I'm not alone on this. We all face stress, and we all deal with it in different ways. Writing used to be how I dealt with it, but when you sit down at the keyboard and nothing of significance happens, a new kind of stress hits you, and it compounds your problem. Your confidence in your imagination begins to slip, and there is nothing worse for a writer to face than a lack of confidence.


Then a few days ago a funny thing happened on my way to total self-annihilation. I took a train trip. This is not my normal mode of transportation. I normally jump in my car and hit the highways, but it just made more sense for me to take the train for this particular excursion. As I sat in my back-gnarling seat, a flash of an image came to me. It happened quite by accident. I didn't take my seat with the purpose of jump starting my imagination, but there it was, a genuine story idea.


So, why did it happen? How did this story come to me? I can't say for sure, but I think it's because I made a change to my normal routine. I found myself in an unfamiliar setting, one where I lacked any kind of control over my environment, and my brain just sort of reset. That's the only way I can explain it.


Here's my advice to you if you are so stressed that you can't write. Make a change. One in which you give up control of your surroundings. One in which you are forced to be a simple "passenger." If my theory is right, your brain will reset, and your writer's block will come tumbling down.


-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.


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How to Kick-Start Creativity

Write o'clock

663 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, writing, stress, writer's_block
0

Each time I go through the process of writing a book, I find that ideas of things to include frequently pop into my head but not always at the right time. For example, I'll be out to dinner with a friend, and she will say something funny that I might like to use in my story at some point. Whenever that happens I whip out my phone and send myself a text message, then later add the item in question to a document that is literally called "To include at some point."


Over time both my first draft and the list of potential additions grow, and now and again I look through the additions document to see if there is a logical place for any of them in the latest version of the story. I write contemporary fiction/romantic comedy. Here are some examples of the additions I've jotted down over the years, all of which made it into one of my novels:


*Guy shows up on first date wearing one of those tuxedo T-shirts

*Something how the "dang humidity" ruined her blowout the second she left the salon

*Have Daphne toss a rock into the ocean at the end

*Make sure she mentions that she's a late bloomer

*At some point have them do something with heights so Daphne can conquer her fear

*Sprinkle in highbrow vocabulary words for Daphne


When the first draft is complete, I give the document one more look to make sure I've used all the items I feel will complement my story. For those remaining, there is always the next book! I also find that consulting the list is helpful during those dreaded bouts of writer's block. Sometimes it just takes one fresh idea to rekindle the creative spark.


-Maria


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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor and the best-selling author of the Waverly Bryson series, Cassidy Lane, Katwalk, and Wait for the Rain. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Have questions for Maria? You can find her at www.mariamurnane.com.


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Writing Tip: Keep a Synopsis as You Go

Writing Tip: Keep the Story Moving Forward

1,183 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, writing, writer's_block, creative_spark
2

Do you feel the creative juices drying up? Has the stress of the day or the week or the “pick your period of time” got you struggling to put down a coherent passage on paper (computer screen)? Never fear because I have just the thing for you. Here are my five cures for those times when you lack the energy to be creative:

 

  1. Free thought time: Find a hobby centered on creativity outside of writing. Get out of the writer head-space, and redirect your creativity to another activity--something that involves a different way to create. Whether it’s photography, sketching, painting, knitting, etc., alternate creative endeavors can give your creativity more depth and distinctiom.

  2. A walk in the woods: Or on a greenway or in a park, walk wherever you connect with nature. Nature can do wonders to reboot your creativity. The crisp air, the smell of the greenery, the thrill of watching wildlife, there are countless ways in the wild to disconnect from hang-ups and kick-start your creativity.

  3. Work it out by hand: Step away from the computer and your normal writing space, grab a pen and notepad, and start writing without judgement. Just let it flow. You will most likely do some of the worst writing you’ve ever done using this method, but the quality of writing isn’t the point. The point here is to clear your mind of all that junk so you can make way for creative excellence.

  4. Meditate: I’m a student of Transcendental Meditation, and I can tell you from personal experience that meditation makes you feel more balanced and less stressed. Sitting in the dark with your eyes closed for 15-20 minutes focusing on nothing is an excellent way to make for a more fertile, creative mind.

  5. Set yourself up to be inspired: A great book, film or play often inspires me to start creating. I find inspiration in the author’s/creator’s talent, and I’m driven to improve as an artist.

 

These are five methods I’ve used to help get the creative juices flowing. What’s your strategy? How do you kick-start your creativity?

 

-Richard

 

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.


 

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Unblocking Writer's Block

Is the Early Bird More Creative?

4,706 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, self-publishing, writers, writing, creativity, writer's_block, writing_tips, writing_advice, author_tips, advice_for_writers
2

When I'm working on a book, there's nothing I fear more than staring at my computer screen and not knowing what to write next. I find it paralyzing, nerve-racking, depressing, and downright scary. When I'm writing a book but not actually writing anything, I feel an enormous sense of guilt because I'm not being productive.

 

At least, that's how I used to feel.

 

Recently I've realized that just because I'm not actually typing words on the keyboard, it doesn't mean that I'm not working on my manuscript. In fact, a lot of the work I put into my books happens when I'm not even at my desk. I letthe plot unfold in my head, essentially watching it as a movie before committing it to paper. That means that technically I'm working, even if I'm in the shower, or at the gym, or taking a walk. My brain is working on the book, which is what matters.

 

My personal challenge is to be patient and give my brain the time it needs to figure out how the story is going to unravel, wherever and however that happens. I've learned from experience that trying to force the creative process simply doesn't work. It leads to frustration and a lot of deleting.

 

The creative process is different for everyone, and if there were a sure-fire remedy for writer's block, I'd be first in line to buy it. But letting go of what you think it means to be "productive" is a good step in the right direction. Just be prepared to jot down notes when moments of inspiration strike. Not all the ideas that pop up will be golden, but you don't want to forget the ones that are!

 

-Maria

 

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor and the best-selling author of the Waverly Bryson series, Cassidy Lane, Katwalk, and Wait for the Rain. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Have questions for Maria? You can find her at www.mariamurnane.com.

 

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Grammar Gaffes of Olympic Proportions

How to Help the Author in Your Life

4,354 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, book, author, writers, writing, craft, writer's_block, writing_tips
0

What's at Stake?

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Mar 4, 2015

This is a post about breaking through writer's block. By now, you've probably come across a 1,001 blog posts on the Internet about getting unstuck and finishing your novel. That should tell you that there is no magic bullet to ending writer's block. What works for one author won't work for another. But don't fret. You will find the solution. Just keep looking.

 

I've brought myself out of the writing depths in the past by asking myself what's at stake for the characters. Sometimes I lose sight of the story because I'm struck by inspiration, and I jump into a writing zone where the words fly with ease. But that inevitably ends at some point, and when it does, I find myself word-drunk and confused. I'll read the passages I've written and wonder where I was headed with these new pages. What was I thinking?

 

Well, I wasn't thinking, and that's the point. When you're in the zone, you're relying on instinct, and that's a beautiful thing. The fix to finding my way is determining what my characters want in the words I've committed to the manuscript. You may even find me wandering the hallways of my home muttering to myself like a madman; "What do they want? What do they need to get there?" When I know what's at stake for the characters, the path ahead becomes clearer, and when I see a clear path, I'm anxious to get back to my laptop and start typing away. If I'm lucky, I'll find another writing zone.

 

-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

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What Do Your Characters Want?

Unfinished and Happy

2,991 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, writing, writer's_block, author_tips
1

The Pitch Test

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Nov 26, 2014

Okay, you've published a book or two or three or four, and you are itching to get on to your next masterpiece. The problem is you don't have any idea what that next masterpiece should be. Or you might have so many ideas you don't know which one should be your next project.

 

Here's a strategy. This will work great if you are in the category of "too many ideas."If you have no idea, it will take a little more effort, but a sculpture starts out as an uncut stone until a sculptor starts chipping away. That's all you're doing here.

 

  1. Get five sheets a paper. On each piece of paper, hammer out a rough plot for a story. It should be a sloppy mess. Words will be crossed out. You'll have scribbles in the margins. You'll likely be disgusted by your lack of creative flow during the process. That's what I want. I want you to get angry at each piece of paper.

  2. Get five more sheets of paper. Each new piece of paper corresponds with the plot ideas you just killed yourself to create. Write three things you like about the plot, and write three things you hate about the plot. Force yourself to come up with three items for each category. You may notice something you overlooked the first time.

  3. Get one sheet of paper. Based on your likes and dislikes lists, rank your plot ideas.

  4. Get another sheet of paper. Write a one-sentence pitch for your top three plot ideas.

  5. Get yet another sheet of paper. Rank these three pitches in order of ease that it took to create them.  

 

If you go through all of that to find a story that's easy for you to describe in one sentence, you have found your next masterpiece. You know that story inside and out. It has taken root in your fertile imagination. If it passes the pitch test, it's worth writing.

-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

 

 

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Unfinished and Happy

How to Write without a Plan

4,115 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, author, writers, writing, writing_process, writer's_block, writing_tips, writing_advice
3

I'm not always a great story planner. More times than I care to admit, I just write without a formal outline or even a specific trajectory for a story. I just follow the creative mojo percolating in my gray matter. In perhaps the greatest example of an oxymoron, here is my plan for writing without a plan.

 

  • Meditate - Before you sit down to write, dedicate 20 minutes to quietly ruminate over the story. Limit the amount of light in the room. Find a comfortable chair. Close your eyes, breathe in deeply, and focus on one element of the story in your mind's eye. Don't force an outcome or direction. Let your imagination take over. Things may get wild and go completely off track, but that's okay. You're not committing anything to paper. You're just looking for glimpses of logic in a storm of creative thought.

 

  • Journal the chaos - Keep a notebook and pen next to your computer (or have an extra notebook if you write your first draft by hand). This notebook is your story journal. Since you're writing without a plan, you want to track all the comings and goings of characters and plot twists. A quick and concise reference of what you've already written can help you keep things moving along a consistent arch. Just because you don't know where you're ultimately going with a story doesn't mean you shouldn't keep track of where you've been.

 

  • Leave things undone - This is the Hemingway method of writing. You should end your writing not knowing what's going to happen next. Don't give into the temptation to write until you can't contribute another thought to the story for the day. Leave when the thoughts are still anxious to jump onto the page. This will give you the perfect element of story to meditate on the next day and give birth to that storm of creative thought.

 

This is what works for me when it comes to writing without a plan. If you have a plan for not planning, I'd love to hear it.

 

 

-Richard

 

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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Organized or Unorganized?

Increase Your Productivity with Interval Writing

6,367 Views 3 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, publishing, writing, story, fiction, drafts, craft, writer's_block
0

Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice and opinions from around the virtual globe.

 

Books/Publishing

 

5 Ways to Beat Average - with Missy Tippens - The Seekers

The temptation to settle for a good word choice instead of the perfect word choice is always present when you're working on a book-length project. 

                           

6 Steps to Overcoming Social Media Writer's Block - Digital Book World

How to get over those moments when you just don't feel like promoting yourself on social media.       

 

Film

                                                        

Cameras Don't Make Movies, People Do - The Black and Blue

It's all about knowing how to use the camera you have.    

                                          

The Creative Process According to Francis Ford Coppola - Filmmaker IQ

The filmmaking legend says the writing is the most challenging part of filmmaking. 

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

Music Publicity Tips: Three Great Pieces of Advice - Bob Baker's TheBuzzFactor.com

Let them know you're a perk, not a pest.

 

If Not Now, When? - Start Singing NOW! - From the Front of the Choir

There is no time like the present to go after your dreams.  

 

-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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Weekly News Roundup- September 12, 2014

Weekly News Roundup- September 5, 2014

2,079 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, music, filmmaking, author, indie, writers, writing, films, social, draft, music_marketing, musicians, craft, filmmakers, branding, social_media, singers, writer's_block, music_piblicity, creative_process
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Change It Up!

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Aug 27, 2014

I am prone to bouts of writer's block. There are times when I can't think of a thing to write. It is a maddening experience. Sometimes it can even get a little frightening. After all, a writer who can't find the inspiration to set his or her fingers dancing across the computer keyboard in a coherent manner is more or less a person who has mastered the art of staring pensively at the screen. That's not much of a skill. Trying to fight through writer's block usually fortifies the blockage.

 

One day, after struggling to overcome writer's block, I pushed away from the desk and decided to make a run to the post office. It's a trip I have made many times in my life. I have a set route that gets me there and back without wasting precious writing time sitting in the car. On this particular day, the route I normally take was unavailable due to construction so I had to take a long and annoying alternate route. I grumbled and groused the entire way.

 

Turning down a road I normally don't travel, I spotted a street sign, Able Street. For whatever reason, the name stuck in my brain. By the time I reached the post office, I must have repeated the name in my head a hundred times. I was constantly aware of the name. While I stood in line to mail a package, I changed Able to Abel. Suddenly it wasn't a street name anymore. Abel was a man, a large, gruff, and volatile man that had the temperament and skills to save a town from a band of marauders. That was it. My writer's block was a dusty pile of rubble. I had a main conceit for a story. By the time the night was done, the first chapter was saved to my projects folder.

 

What allowed me to break through the writer's block? Change! I did something I normally don't do. My mind wasn't on autopilot. I was forced to pay attention to my surroundings because I was thrust into unfamiliar territory. If you are blocked, I invite you to break out of your normal routine and compel your brain to take on new tasks. You never know the creativity you may spark.


 

-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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Unblocking Writer's Block

Do You Have Writer's Block?

3,701 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, publishing, writing, craft, writer's_block, writing_tips
5

The Rush to Publish

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Aug 6, 2014

I don't want to alarm anyone, but I may have matured over the years. I'm not talking about my appearance. I'm referring to the recent decisions I've made concerning publishing and writing, namely the timeline that goes into crafting a book for retail.

 

My biggest problem, as someone who was once new to the indie publishing world, was not properly managing the absence of restraints. The prospect of getting a book to market was so exhilarating that I rushed to get a book written and published. I've learned now that just because you can do something doesn't mean you should do it immediately.

 

This rush to publish has been my biggest mistake in my career as an author. I'm fairly certain I'm not alone. Typos and various editing errors are obvious issues with a "hurry up and get it to market" mentality. What isn't so obvious is the story you're publishing isn't exactly the story you originally intended to publish. A rewrite or two is really needed to flesh out a pivotal character. The ending isn't quite up to your expectations as the writer. Something is just off about small details throughout the story.

 

These details most likely would have been corrected if the desire to publish had not trumped the wisdom to honor the rule of patience – that rule being to step away from the computer and allow the thrill of completing a novel to subside and morph into the thrill of making it perfect.

 

-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

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Living the Indie Author Dream

Elements of a Page-turner

2,418 Views 5 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, writer's_block, timelines, publishing_timelines, author_tips, writing_timelines
0

I'm going to sum this blog post up in one word, but I'm going to save that word until the end. This single word is the key to becoming exponentially more productive as a writer. It will set your mind free and allow ideas to flow. It will turn your focus to creative thought and expression.

 

Here's the kicker: You know this word, and it's not going to surprise you just how powerful it truly is. You know its meaning and just how liberating it can be. Every time you interrupt a writing session to see what's happening in the world, this word most likely flashes in your brain. Every time you pop on over to Facebook to see what your friends are up to, this word smacks you in the face. Every time you construct a tweet and set it free on Twitter, this word wraps itself around your gut, telling you to take heed. 

 

Spending a day in the glory of this word, observing its meaning with discipline and dedication can make all the difference to your writing. It can clear your path of distractions and lift your artistic spirits. You will write more if you just listen to this word. In fact, if every time you feel the need to pull up your browser, you say this word to yourself instead, you will find the time and the passion to write. It's inevitable.

 

And just what is this word? It is that six letter gem: UNPLUG. 

 

-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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Writing Takes Discipline

When Are You Most Productive?

4,668 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, writing, drafts, writing_process, craft, writer's_block, author_tips
0

Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice and opinions from around the virtual globe.

 

Books/Publishing

 

7 Ways to Overcome Writer's Block - Writer's Digest

Author Brian Moreland reveals his tips for kicking writer's block to the curb.

                                                    

Lessons Learned From Bestselling Indie Authors on Writing and Book Marketing -The Creative Penn

Advice from the authors who have been there and done that.            

 

Film

                                                        

The Next Steven Spielberg Uses a Smartphone - ReadWrite

There may come a day when the production equipment for your feature film will fit in your pocket.

                                          

Incentives Map - ease

Some states offer production incentives. Check out this interactive map to find out what your state is offering to filmmakers.

                                    

Music

 

5 Best Podcasting Tutorials - Promote Your Music with Your Own Podcast -Bob Baker's Indie Music Promotion Blog

Need a little airtime? Make your own.

 

8 Ways Musicians Can Gain Media Coverage Indirectly - Hypebot.com

Making bold moves outside of your music career could get you some invaluable media coverage.                           

 

-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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Weekly News Roundup - May 10, 2013

Weekly News Roundup - May 3, 2013

1,786 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, music, filmmaking, indie, movies, writers, writing, publicity, films, promotions, musicians, craft, filmmakers, branding, writer's_block, media_coverage
0

Alice came to a fork in the road. "Which road do I take?" she asked.
"Where do you want to go?" responded the Cheshire cat.
"I don't know," Alice answered.
"Then," said the cat, "it doesn't matter."

-Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland


Imagine for a moment that you - the author, the creator - are staring down at a blank world. In it, you place a character and a road on which the character is traveling. First, to create the character, pick three or four of the following individuals from your past and incorporate your most vivid memories about them into your character:


  • Your best friend from elementary school
  • Your least favorite high school teacher
  • Your first significant other
  • The boss from your first real job
  • A shop owner from the town you grew up in
  • A grandparent
  • A sibling, but from a moment when you were still kids
  • Your nanny or babysitter
  • An annoying or difficult neighbor
  • A friend of yours with a noticeable obsession


Now place your newly-formed character on the road and let his or her personality shape this new environment. Are the surroundings familiar or foreign to him or her? Would this person normally be in a place like this? What is the character's reaction? Where is he or she going? Does your character have a destination at all?


Finally, instead of following your character step by step down the path, picture the road from the perspective of the creator. You can see it all at once: each twist, every peril, the great and small rewards. From this mélange of adventures, pluck one particular instance and write it down as though you are several chapters into a novel and this is just one of your protagonist's many escapades. Begin with the line "(S)he stumbled against..."


-Kristin

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Kristin is a content media coordinator with CreateSpace. She draws from a strong background in journalism and creative writing to help authors hone their skills and flex their artistic muscles.

 

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WordPlay: Challenging Your Perspective
WordPlay: A Casual Conversation

2,016 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, writers, exercise, writing, writer's_block
0

Writer's block got you down? Why not fire up some neurons with a quick creative exercise? Take a moment to read through the following writing prompt and then share your ideas for the next part of the tale:


There's nothing special about the house itself: two small bedrooms and a living room that merges with a functional kitchen. The wide porch features a couple of rocking chairs and a rope hammock gray with age. No, there's nothing special about the house, but the view - it stands on one of the few bluffs on a generally flat coastline, and the slight lift affords the ocean-facing front a breathtaking view of brackish creeks, tri-tone marsh grass, and the sparkling surface of the Atlantic Ocean in the distance. A thin dock like a crack in a canvas scrawls through the estuary to a nearby creek.


You're here for the weekend because you stumbled across an incredible deal on the rental. For less than the cost of one night in a two-star hotel, this small estate and heart-stopping view are yours for three whole days.


"But why?" you ask the realtor when you swing by to pick up the keys. She shrugs. "Because for some reason, a lot of the locals think it's haunted."


That comment sticks with you as you drive out to the property. Where before the cabin looked cozy and quaint, it now seems lonely and distant on its solitary slope. You toss your keys on the kitchen table and poke around the few knick knacks scattered around the main room. Tucked between some tattered copies of summer beach reads you find something unusual: a thin volume on the history of rum runners. On skimming through the first chapter, you find that this cabin was built near one of the most notorious smuggling hubs of the rum runners' heyday. There was even rumor of a well-known bluff, underneath which the runners would hide their liquid gold treasure until it was safe to transport up the coast.


The information sinks in as the sun sets in autumn hues on the distant sea. There's not much else to do but tuck in for the night, which you do, shoving thoughts of ghosts and rum runners to the back of your mind until tomorrow. You sleep soundly until a sudden noise snaps you out of bed. It sounds like a bang, like wood cracking against a hard surface. Curious and startled, you slip into the living room and see nothing; but there's a strange glow emanating from the spot where the bluff cuts sharply down to the marsh. You creep closer to the window and a sudden movement catches your eye. At first it looks like nothing more than a wisp of smoke, but as it trails away, a dark form begins to take shape...


What do you see? What do you think is taking place on the far side of the bluff? Write a short paragraph starting with the line, "I couldn't quite make out the details..."


-Kristin

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Kristin is a content media coordinator with CreateSpace. She draws from a strong background in journalism and creative writing to help authors hone their skills and flex their artistic muscles.


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WordPlay: A Casual Conversation

WordPlay: Gee, It's Cold

2,368 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, authors, book, author, writers, writing, writer's_block
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It happens to all of us. Sometimes, no matter how motivated we are to work, we hit a wall and don't know what to write next. Or we know what we want to write but for whatever reason we struggle to get it on paper. When this happens to me, I have a few tactics for working around it:

 

  1. I go back and edit what I've already written.
  2. I use ALL CAPS to mark places where I need to write a new section, literally filling a few lines with something like WRITE A SCENE HERE ABOUT XX. Then I move on.
  3. If I come up with an idea for something to write but there's not a place for it in the book just yet, I write it in a new document named "To add in later." When writer's block hits, I reference this document to see if I can insert any of the ideas into what I've already written, or to see if I can create a new scene that includes them. To keep this list fresh, I carry sticky notes with me at all times and constantly make notes to myself, including when I wake up in the middle of the night with an idea. When I forget my sticky notes, I send myself text messages.

 

 

Clearing time in your schedule and mustering the creative energy to write on a regular basis isn't easy, so when you get stuck during these times it can be extremely frustrating. However, you can still be productive if you're willing to be flexible with how you work. The above tricks help me combat the occasional bout of writer's block, so I hope you find them useful. It may be in a roundabout way, but at least I'm being productive, which means my book is one step closer to completion.

 

What are your tactics for overcoming writer's block?

 

-Maria

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor. She writes romantic comedies and provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.

 

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Unblocking Writer's Block

Overwriting? Just Say It!

2,458 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, authors, authors, writers, writers, writers, writing, writing, writing, craft, craft, craft, writer's_block, writer's_block, writer's_block
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