Tag Archive - Writer’s Block

Organizing Your Writing Workplace for Better Productivity

Today’s post is by Lesley Vos.

More often than not, we writers don’t craft novels from offices. No teammates, no corporate culture, no “all that stuff” from HR managers on training and engagement for better productivity and work efficiency.

And yet, who says we don’t need this? Procrastination and writer’s blocks run their course, and here we are, crying over a blank page in attempts to start the next chapter.

Productivity is a holy grail for writers. When I started my journey as a freelance writer in the hope of finishing a book in a year, I didn’t realize the size of a problem. I considered it natural to write in a bed with a laptop on my knees and a cup of coffee nearby. And when, in a month, I found I’d written only 5,000 words of my future book, it had become a warning sign saying I did something wrong.

Scientists have long since proven the influence of environment on productivity. Why do you think J. K. Rowling wrote her masterpiece in cafes? The atmosphere of coffee shops makes us writers more creative, inventive, concentrated, and—surprise, surprise!—therefore productive. Continue Reading…

How to Motivate the Writer Inside of You

Today’s guest post is by Arkya Dey.

Writing takes a lot of discipline and commitment. Unlike what most people might think, this dedication to something doesn’t come easy.

Most of our friends assume our jobs are romantic. They imagine us curled up in a cozy corner of a house, sitting in front of a fire, and writing away. But we know that is not what ideally happens in our real lives. We are worried about growing our audience, our due dates, and our publications, among other things.

Well, even if it does, there’s much more to this scenario than just the cozy imagery. While one might see a picture-perfect image on the outside, there might be a raging war in a writer’s mind.

Writers have good days and bad days like everyone else in other professions. There will be days when you can’t stop writing, as you are overflowing with new ideas for your book. Then there will be days when you just stare at your screen feeling helpless.

It’s very important to not give up and to work harder on those days. The further you drift away on days like these, the tougher it will be to get back to where you started.

Imagine you are standing at a point on the way to your destination. You are feeling lethargic and do not feel like moving ahead. What do you think is the wisest step to take here? Stand at the point or go back? You wouldn’t have started the journey if you thought it wasn’t worth it. And you would probably regret letting go of the invested effort, once you go back.

I know: it’s easier said than done. But believe me when I say this—though difficult, it is absolutely doable.

What is writer’s block, and why does it happen to only writers?

It is certainly not a medical condition; it is a state in our minds. Honesty and self-reflection in work is something that makes writing different from many professions. I am not saying we writers should use it as an excuse.

Most often than not, we confuse these states to be writer’s block:

  • When expectations are too high
  • When we are writing something that doesn’t match with our ideologies
  • Fear of rejection
  • Laziness or plain exhaustion
  • Trying our hand at something absolutely new and being clueless about how to approach it

Every writer has a different approach to writing and weird ways to stay motivated. The other day, I met a friend for dinner, and the night extended into long chatter. She left abruptly because her “Moment of Inspiration” was to hit at three a.m. What surprised me was how well she had trained her mind into believing that secluded hour is her inspirational hour.

Here are some fantastic ways to keep your inner writer motivated:

1.      Make writing a daily habit.

This trick might seem very simple, but, believe me, is not very easy. Getting in the habit of convincing yourself into doing something every day is not an easy task. But once you work at it, you’ll develop the practice in a couple days. It might take time to get into the momentum at first. But once you get past that phase and move into the flow, there’s usually no turning back.

Set a time during the day dedicated to writing. Be it a page, a chapter or just a couple of paragraphs, write every day.

2.      Don’t get distracted and worried thinking about editing.

Most of us writers are suckers for perfection. We worry too much about how a certain paragraph might read or whether our word choice needs to be better. What we don’t realize is that we are breaking the creative flow by worrying about it. Don’t stop that creative progress worrying about editing and mistakes.

3.      Understand the root cause of your lack of motivation and work with it instead.

It’s important to know what’s causing your lack of motivation if you want to deal with it. Take a break and stop thinking about your book for a while. Ask yourself relevant questions to understand the real cause that is stopping you from writing. Acknowledge the problem and contemplate what’s the worst that could happen.

Go for a walk or a run and distract yourself from your negative thoughts. Work in your garden or write blog posts as a guest blogger. These will keep you distracted and give you time to clear your head of your project.

4.      Talking it out loud can be weirdly helpful.

Do you talk about your writing project with your family or friends? Have you noticed how it’s easier to talk than do the actual writing? This is because talking is an easier medium of expression than writing.

Try doing the same when you’re not feeling motivated to write. Talk to your book as if it were a friend and try recording what you say, then use some of what you write in your chapters.

Staying motivated all the time is impossibility in any profession. What matters most and sets you apart as a writer is how you deal with it. Rely on these four methods to help you break through writer’s block and get momentum on your project.

Do any of these methods help you? Do you have one of your own that works for you? Share in the comments!

Arkya Dey executes and strategizes content marketing campaigns at PagePotato. An MBA by education and a designer by heart, he loves analyzing social media trends and likes to read/write on human behavior & managing workspaces. Apart from this, he makes Infographics and Explainer videos on his favorite subjects.  You can also find him on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Think Small to Avoid Writer’s Block

Today’s post is by Jane Anne Staw

I recently gave a talk at a writers’ conference on thinking small to avoid writer’s block. After the talk, one of the participants approached me, laughing. “I know you’re right about small and writing. I went away for a month to finish my book. I promised myself a drink at the end of each writing day. By the second week, I wasn’t getting any writing done, so I decided that a drink at noon was OK. By the third week, when I still wasn’t writing, I told myself that a mimosa at breakfast was just fine!”

Many writers I’ve worked with have made similar discoveries about leaving too much time to write. By setting aside one month to write all day every day, the writer at the conference was thinking much too large. Very few writers can keep up their writing momentum for a full eight hours, day after day.

Not only can most writers not sustain this grueling momentum, committing themselves to this much writing time each day has a negative effect: it churns up a writer’s anxiety, making it much more difficult to sit down and write. That’s why, by the third week, the writer from the conference had not gotten any writing done. Continue Reading…

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