Word of the day…Positivity

Well, it’s not the easiest thing to achieve, so how does one do it when they are knee-deep in revisions or just barely staying afloat through the rough draft?

Try giving credit where credit is due.  I think  many times we as writers undervalue our work.  Especially as it morphs through the critique cycle.  Nothing says throw it out the window like ten critiques that point out the same little obvious errors you should have caught the third time you read it.
So how do you keep a positive mind frame through this whole process?  What nugget of ancient wisdom can you tap into so the whole mental breakdown phase doesn’t occur?
Fall back on this, “You know you can write, so just do it!”  Sift through your MS and find a paragraph or two of something you wrote that you are truly proud of.   
I have two such paragraphs from different WIP’s that I still admire to this day.  One is a description and they other is part of an action scene.  So when I get stressed out and start to feel like I should be doing anything besides writing, I cue up those paragraphs and read them over until I understand that I am capable of doing it.  And sometimes, the smallest amount of encouragement is all it takes to get back on track.
Also, I feel it’s important to have a support group (or a blog that you can freely voice your insecurities via written words)  Either way, it can be therapeutic to know you’re not alone and there are other writers willing to listen and reach out if you need a helping hand.  I’m listing a few sites to find that very encouragement in addition to inviting you to comment on what you do to keep a positive attitude.
http://agentqueryconnect.com/    Hit the forums-a wealth of knowledge along with support from fellow writers
http://absolutewrite.com/forums/index.php     find your genre forum right away and get connected
http://www.critiquecircle.com/     get your work critiqued for free and meet other writers

Beating the block

Not sure how it happens for others, but writer’s block seems to kick into high gear when my stress levels have reached dangerously high altitudes. When I’m on the brink of tossing it all out the window, I take a step back and run through this checklist to regain the control my muse has so easily given up.

The following are helpful tips used by many writers to beat the block:

1) Make a list of everything you need to accomplish in a week that does not include writing. Whether that be grocery lists, cleaning, kid’s activities, books waiting to be read, prior engagements, bills to be paid. Whatever it is, get it down on paper so you can start checking them off one by one.

2) Clear your mind. Meditate, go for a stroll, a run, or visit someplace quiet that will allow you to gather your thoughts without interruption. Anything that will allow you to relax your mind.

3) Reread the chapter preceding the block. Does anything feel forced? If so, focus on why. What are the characters in that scene trying to tell you? If it nothing is popping out at you, then visualize three different ways the scene could play out (The more outlandish and ridiculous the better) By doing this you get an idea of what won’t work for the story and just maybe you’ll see what will work. And if all else fails, skip it and write the scene that you do want to write. You can always go back during revisions and find the awesome bridge between the two scenes and maybe even be excited to write it. 

What do you do to beat the block?

Do writing short-cuts exist?

I heard this question posed in a chat room and while the rest of the room flooded that individual with the correct do’s and don’ts of writing, I sat silent. It was a good question. Then I began to think about my own process and how it’s evolved since I began writing. Could I have learned a different technique in the beginning that would have eliminated extra time while writing? while editing? And my answer is yes, I think there are ways to skip ahead, so to speak. But a short-cut is only a short-cut to someone who is currently not using that process and then finds it easier when trying it. For me, I definitely took the long way around, trying to soak up as much as I could from other writers, authors, editors, and industry professionals, so anything I’m able to do right the first time seems like a short-cut for me.

One of the easiest examples I can think of is when it comes to fleshing out characters. When the brainstorming phase begins, it’s simple for me to envision what the characters are doing and why. Then I begin to see the whole story unfold in front of me and I can’t pick up a pen fast enough, but when it comes to defining details of my MC, I rely on generalizations to pull me through. And then I hit a Dead End. I understand that I’m a plot driven writer and not character driven writer. Which is okay. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. It just means I have to do a little more work when it comes to developing my characters. A lot more work, actually, because I can’t remember the last time a book kept my interest based on plot alone.

So, I look to the stars. People who are born under the same sign, share similar personality traits that are impossible to deny. This is how I determine my MC’s date of birth. I start with a general description and then seek out the horoscope with the most similar personality traits. From there, I can research a more in-depth look into traits of that sign. With that, I can accurately guide my MC actions to comply with what their hardwired to do. Now, this is just an earthy starting point. When I begin exploring motivations, physical descriptions, and personality traits, I can delve deeper into their psyche and be able to fill out a basic character sketch. That paired with what my character has experienced in their past will also help shape who they are. Where they lived, how they were treated by family and peers. What type of social/racial conflicts do they deal with/or have they overcome? Is their natural behavior overshadowed by another aspect of their life? Does their religion prevent them from being who they truly want to be? Does anything else? Plus a list of about fifty more questions to ask your MC, but I’ll save that for the post with an in-depth character sketch, coming soon.

Do you as a writer have any habits, processes, or “short-cuts” that have successfully worked for you?

Until next time – happy writing!


No one can truly answer this question besides the author behind the piece. But for me…I write because I love it and can’t live without it. It’s that simple. So for all of you that fall into the same lot as me, I applaud you and encourage you to continue doing it.

Welcome to an informal blog about writing, where you can ask whatever you like, find helpful tips, or if you like, just enjoy the general splendor…assuming there is general splendor.  We will do our best to add pages that will be deemed insightful and keep posts organized and easy to access.  This blog is a work in progress, so please check back often to see the intended transformation. Happy writing!

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