by @the_left_handed_writer (on Instagram)
As a writer I know that the well we go to to collect our inspiration can often run dry. I too struggle with writer’s block. Therefore I’ve found some neat little tricks you can do to regain focus, consistency and get the most out of your writing.
Moving, exercising. It get’s the bloodflow going. The blood that is being pumped towards your head starts to accelerate which makes you able to process thoughts quicker, make connections, connect the dots. It can serve as the fine tuner you needed. You might have been on the right way already, even put some words down, but don’t know how to continue. Exercising will help you to refocus and get rid of that metaphorical stutter you’ve been experiencing. Now you can speak fluently again. Let your words be heard or better, write them down.
In order for you to be able to write down your own words/pieces, it’s important to have a source of inspiration, a muse. Someone who inspires you, so you can put your own twist to a subject they’ve been talking about.
‘’The truth is, every great writer has imitated the great writers before him or her. To find your voice, you have to take on the voices of others’’
And this is true. To get a sense of writing and all the theory behind it, then it is useful to imitate great writers that have already succeeded. For example: spacing, storytelling, build up, character building ( if you’re writing a book that is). All these things take time to learn. Most of us don’t have a literary background or studied English lit at university.
Therefore to write like somebody else; who has already invented the wheel. Can help you quickly get to their level. The only important thing to remember is to translate their geniuses into your own. This takes time, but if you stay true to your own voice then people will like your writing, your perspectives, your wordplay, those small individual nuances only you can make. This is what makes you a extraordinary writer.
I personally like thrillers, romans and science fiction books. I am writing a thriller and a children’s book at the moment. There are so many aspects to writing a book that I don’t know of yet. But having read so many books and stories of these genre’s, has given me a good foundation to work with and create my own story.
I have a Instagram account. @the_left_handed_writer. Here I post all my writings. At the beginning I wanted to grow really fast so I knew that I had to write a lot, post a lot and make sure I was connecting with my followers.
You won’t be inspired every day. These are just hard facts. Some days you can just keep on typing and the words will just appear on the page. And other days you will see that blinking line on Microsoft word going on, and on. Without moving. You’ve just been staring to the screen for half an hour like an idiot.
Writing, is a muscle. You need to train it. You can’t expect to run a marathon (a book for instance) without ever having to run. You’re not used to the workload, the distance, the pressure.
That’s why it is very important to write. Everyday. Regardless of what it is. Good or bad. It doesn’t exist. Not in this case at least. This is just you sketching, training the muscle. Make that canvas dirty, it doesn’t bite.
To get back on Good/Bad writing. Some of you might be more perfectionistic then others, but in general we all like to produce/write something we can be proud of. I feel the same way. But like drawing. Sketching/brainstorming is super important to get an idea of what subject you want to write about, how you want to interpret it, what message you want it to say. Later on you can finetune. Don’t be so harsh on yourself in the beginning.
Even though I don’t post daily anymore on my Instagram. I still keep a journal, with all my doodles, sketches, and finished pieces. Once in a while I just go through them, read some old stuff and I find new inspiration in words from the past. These topics I wrote about back then, now have a different meaning to me. Time has passed and I have evolved, I see things different now, with a new set of eyes, so to say.
So, if you ever feel uninspired, go back to a moment were you were and maybe it will lit the spark again, who knows ;).
Two years ago, I joined a course called : how to write a book in 100 days.
It’s been said that realistically ,you really only need a maximum of 3 months to write your first draft of your book. Anything that takes longer is just you stalling, overthinking.
A whole book?! But how? Well, this is possible if you consistently write 500 to 1000 words a day. This seems like a lot. But really it isn’t. For example, this article that I’ve been writing right now has 860 words right now and this took me 15 min. If I can do it you can too! Put your back into it, press pause on Netflix for a bit and write down some words!
During this course there were a lot of other participants as well, who were eager to write a book, some even already wrote and published a book, but liked the course so much that they did it again.
Every week we had to update our story, if you didn’t, you would get a penalty, an x behind your name. If you collected 3 penalties. You would be kicked out of the program, because clearly you couldn’t commit to the cause. This sounds rough, but it was to push you and make you more consistent. I only made it because of all the positive feedback of the other writers and their encouraging words. I held them accountable and they me.
Set goals for yourself, realistic ones (important detail), remember the Marathon I mentioned earlier. You still have to train before you can handle the ”real deal”. Set goals, you know you will pass and then slowly increase the amount of work and time you put into it.
Treat yourself! You did it, you passed your goal. Reason for celebration. Take a nice break for yourself. Now you can press play again, go watch a nice episode of your favorite series, a movie, a nice walk through the forest, whatever makes you happy. Treating yourself small or big, it stimulates your growth/motivation so next time you’ll try just as hard or even harder!
I talked about this a bit earlier, but I want to go a bit more in depth now. All your writings, everything you experience. It’s a process. You’re walking down a path and you will get at a crossroad more often then you like there to be. And you’re going to have to make certain decisions. These decisions will lead to results, there’s true power to be found in reflecting on what those results mean/meant for you, and what you based your choices on.
These values you have, the reason why you write it’s important for your future writings. You are making an image for yourself. People read your pieces, because you let them feel something, they can relate, imagine, sense. You owe it to them to stay true to yourself and what you find important.
Give and take Feeback:
To grow as an writer and to be less stuck in writer’s block you should think of giving or receiving feedback. It’s nice to hear something from others who look at your work with a fresh perspective. This often showed me how nice it is to share your thoughts, reasoning behind things, your passion. Because, you will get it back just as much. That’s why I like collabs so much. On your own, the piece would turn out completely different. But it is not just your piece it is a fuse of two minds, a harmony between perspectives. Some writing styles might be more dominant then others, but just like a lead singer needs back vocals and his band to make it a whole, you need that other writer. It doesn’t matter how loud your voice is, every cog is important in the machine to keep it running smoothly.
Change your environment:
If you are just as quickly distracted like me then you’re screwed. No, just kidding I have the solution. When I am at home I have my PlayStation 4, my guitar to play tunes and sing, Netflix, my running shoes (if I feel proactive). In other words, to many distractions. How do you cut them off. Go somewhere else. I personally like to go to a nice casual café with good coffee and a nice corner to sit in. I’d take my laptop with me or just a journal. Because a laptop has a standard button for Netflix these days you can understand that even being in this ”other environment” the temptation to start watching Netflix anyway is very present. So, just the journal and a pencil is probably the roughest conditions I can create for myself. Now I basically have to write. If you have more self-control then me, I certainly hope you do, then you won’t have to do it this drastically, but you get the point. If you change your surroundings, cut away your distractions, you will have more focus to write.