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How to Deal with Writer’s Block

Writer’s block is a problem that has plagued writers for years. I am almost positive that even the most successful and prolific authors have had bouts of writer’s block over the years. The issue though is how to handle this when it arises. I’m still figuring out my strategies of coping with this but here are a few tips when you’re lost for words:
• Put the difficult piece you’re writing aside for a bit and focus on something else. You may come up with ideas for the harder piece when you’re writing or doing something else.
• Do some writing exercises or writing prompts. These may trigger a burst of creativity and lead to some unexpected writing from you.
• Write when you’re most alert and awake. This will allow you to have more creative energy and be able to really focus on the project at hand.
You have to realize that every writer at some point will struggle with a piece that they’re trying to put on paper. Words don’t always come easily and when they finally do come the words may not be the ones you envisioned in your head. Sometimes the words you do end up writing though may be even better than you imagined they could be.
There is nothing wrong with admitting that you’re stuck in a rut when it comes to your writing. No one will think any less of you because you can’t expect to churn out words all the time. I know I certainly don’t. When the time is right the words will come to you and you could end up writing something quite beautiful and powerful.
Believe in yourself and your ability as a writer and come to terms with the fact that writing is a craft. It takes practice and creative and mental energy to compose great works. Try not to become overwhelmed when confronted with a writing project as this will only hinder your productivity and ability to write.
Other writers have provided advice over the years for coping with obstacles writers face including writer’s block and here are some of their strategies for confronting this issue:
• Maya Angelou wrote: “What I try to do is write. I may write for two weeks “the cat sat on the mat, that is that, not a rat.” And it might just be the most boring and awful stuff. But I try. When I’m writing, I write. And then it’s as if the muse is convinced that I’m serious and says, “Okay. Okay. I’ll come.”
• Neil Gaiman agreed with some of the strategies I wrote earlier and added: “Start at the beginning. Scribble on the manuscript as you go if you see something you want to change. And often, when you get to the end you’ll be both enthusiastic about it and know what the next few words are. And you do it all one word at a time.”
• Anne Lamott, author of writing books such as Bird by Bird, stated: “I encourage my students at times like these to get one page of something written, three hundred words of memories or dreams or stream of consciousness on how much they hate writing—just for the hell of it, just to keep their fingers from becoming too arthritic, just because they have made a commitment to try to write three hundred words every day.”
• The legendary Mark Twain had good advice for struggling writers when he said: “The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks and then starting on the first one.”
• Orson Scott Card had some great advice for those coping with writer’s block and stated: “Writer’s block is my unconscious mind telling me that something I’ve just written is either unbelievable or unimportant to me, and I solve it by going back and reinventing some part of what I’ve already written so that when I write it again, it is believable and interesting to me. Then I can go on. Writer’s block is never solved by forcing oneself to “write through it”, because you haven’t solved the problem that caused your unconscious mind to rebel against the story, so it still won’t work—for you or for the reader.”
These writers are some of the successful writers around and their advice is incredibly helpful for those who wish to pursue writing as a profession. Writing is a communal exercise and with the insights these authors have provided, you may find the will to keep on writing and get your creative juices flowing. You may not become the next Hemingway or Twain but you may surprise yourself with what you’re able to produce when you’re in the right frame of mind.
I hope that the advice I’ve provided has enabled you to continue working on the more difficult writing tasks in your life and allow you to forge ahead. You will be grateful that you did because the world needs to read your work and wants to learn from your life experiences. Whether you are writing for fun or for profit you will want to be able to keep on writing the best things possible for your audience. Writing can truly be one of the most cathartic activities around which it has been for me and I definitely struggle with it but I believe that eventually I will power through and write something poignant and meaningful.
Writer’s block will never completely go away but it will improve the more you write. You will be able to dream up new ways to express yourself creatively and be eager and enthusiastic about the writing you’re about to do. Most of all you will be creating a sense of pride at what you are able to accomplish with your writing. It can be one of the most rewarding things that you can ever plan to do in your lifetime. Never give up and remain determined to write things that will mean something in the long run.

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How Your Personality Type Affects Your Enjoyment of Life

Did you know that your personality type can influence how you live your life? There are three different personality types—Type A, Type B, and Type D—that individuals can be classified as and the personality type that suits you the best can often impact how much fulfillment you gain from living your life. Let us explore these personality types in depth so that you will be able to determine what your personality type is and what this means for your lifestyle.
Research has indicated that individuals with a Type A personality have the following traits among others:
• Time Urgency and Impatience—People with this personality characteristic tend to get frustrated while waiting, often interrupt others, walk or talk at a fast pace, and are very cognizant of what time it is and how much time they have to spare.
• Aggressiveness—People with this personality tend to be impatient, rude, easily upset over little things, and have a short temper
• Competitiveness
• Strong Motivation for Achievement
• High degree of conscientiousness
• Tend to be anxious about the future and the worst case scenarios of any problems or failures
• Difficulty falling asleep at night
• Focus more energy on your career than on your relationships
• Low tolerance for incompetence
• Sensitive to stress
The term “Type A” originated in the 1950s when a cardiologist, Meyer Friedman, observed a relationship between the presence of heart disease and personality type—to clarify, those most likely to suffer a cardiac incident tended to have more driven, impatient, high-stress personalities. Type A theory became a popular term subsequently after the publication of the book he co-authored with Dr. Ray H. Rosenman, Type A Behavior and Your Heart, in 1974. This book led to the characterization of people who fit the mold of a “Type A” personality as highly competitive. John Schaubroeck, professor of psychology and management at Michigan State University, stated:
“Type A is a shorthand way of referring to a predisposition that people have. It’s not like there are “Type As” and then there are “Type Bs”, but there is a continuum that as you’re more on the Type A side of the spectrum, you’re more driven and tend to be impatient and competitive and get irritated easily by impediments to your progress on things.”
Ten questions that can help determine whether you are a “Type A” personality are:
1. Are you short on time before and after work?
2. Do you take work home with you often?
3. Do you eat quickly?
4. Do you have a strong need to excel?
5. Do you have a hard time finding time to get your hair cut and styled?
6. Do you feel or act impatient when you have to wait in line?
7. Are you easily irritated?
8. Are you a domineering person?
9. Did you have an uncontrollable temper when you were younger?
10. Do you walk or talk at a faster pace than others and often have to slow down so others can catch up with you?
You can definitely enjoy life though if you are a “Type A” personality though. Some methods include trying to make your job less stressful, more rewarding, and less demanding by changing factors in your work life; using positive “self-talk” to talk yourself through negative experiences and make your thoughts more positive; consciously attempting to slow yourself down and become more patient with others; and keeping a journal where you write about your feelings and about possible solutions to the problems you encounter in your life.
The Type B personality type differs from Type A personalities by the following respects:
• Individuals with a Type B personality tend to live at a lower stress level.
• They work at a steady pace and enjoy achievements but don’t become too stressed when goals are not achieved.
• They do not mind losing during competitions or games and can find enjoyment in the game despite losing.
• They can be creative and enjoy exploring different ideas and concepts.
• They often are contemplative and reflective and think about the outside and inside worlds.
• Calm and easy-going
• Work without getting anxious or agitated
• Remain carefree and cheerful most of the time and are fun to hang out with
• Do not mind waiting in line and are not compulsive about meeting deadlines
• Rarely display aggression or frustration
Ten questions that can help you determine whether you are a “Type B” personality include:
1. Are you slow to anger and feel less stressed about life?
2. Are you more likely to delegate responsibilities in high-pressure situations?
3. Are you a creative thinker with a good “big-picture” worldview?
4. Are you more poised, calm, and easy-going?
5. Are you calm when confronting failure?
6. Do you see others as potential collaborators or partners?
7. Is your mind focused on creating new products and solving complex problems?
8. Are you able to enjoy the journey of life rather than focusing on getting to your destination?
9. Are you more satisfied with your situation in life?
10. Do you find it easy to connect with all types of people no matter how much they differ from you?
The Type D personality type describes someone who has a negative outlook on life. Individuals who fit the description of a Type D personality tend to be reliable but lack motivation or creativity. They may experience a lot of stress, anger, worry, hostility, tension, and other negative emotions. This personality type seems to relate to those who have low self-esteem and social inhibitions and have a tendency towards depression.
Research has indicated that individuals with this personality type may have an elevated risk of heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems. Some ways to overcome the negativity associated with this personality type include regular therapy sessions with a psychologist or psychiatrist and trying to create a structured life with an emphasis on social interaction and healthy relationships with others. But how can you tell if you are a Type D personality? The following questions may help:
1. Do small failures or not successfully completing daily chores or tasks make you feel down and lead to you thinking of the event the rest of the day?
2. Do you have problems taking initiative and orders at work or at school?
3. Do you feel you are one of the most emotionally affected individuals in the world?
4. Do you want to talk and interact with people but worry they may not accept you?
5. Are you worried most of the time?
6. Do you repress your emotions and not open up to others?
7. Are you prone to negativity and feelings of rejection?
8. Do you lack self-motivation and drive?
9. Are you inclined to avoid facing problems or delay confrontation over issues?
10. Are your thoughts not productive and lack creativity compared to others?
People can certainly be a mix of personality types but often do have a dominant personality type. What must be realized though is that your personality type does not necessarily have to decide how your life will play out. You must remember that you are truly the compass that directs your life. No matter what your personality type is, you have to remember that you can always live a fulfilling life when you seize the day and focus on the present rather than the past and future.

How to Write Faster: Writing a Million Words in a Year

We all know about prolific writers such as James Patterson and Stephen King that are somehow able to produce five to ten books or more in a single year. Are there tricks and techniques that they employ to produce books at such a high rate? This article will enable you to learn how to become like these authors and possibly even write a million words in a year.
A blogger, Karen Woodward, summarized the techniques used by one author, Chuck Wendig, who was committed to writing 3,000 words a day in a blog post featured on her blog site, http://blog.karenwoodward.org/2013/05/chuck-wendigs-9-tips-for-writing-a-million-words-a-year.html His tips included:
1. Doing your writing in the morning. He wrote, “Writing in the morning has more potential than writing in the evening and here’s why: writing at the end of the day means the candle is burning down. The timer is ticking. You’re watching the horizon eat the sun and with it, the remaining hours before sweet, sweet slumber. Write at the end of the day, you’re racing the clock. Write at the fore of the day, you own the clock.”
2. Waking up an hour earlier. Woodward explained that waking up earlier results in greater productivity. You should also make sure to attain at a minimum seven hours of sleep a night.
3. Drinking coffee in moderation
4. Using your time to write. Wendig stated, “If you’re going to write a lot, you’re going to need to feint and duck, stick and move, and reach in to grab fistfuls of time-flesh and use it for your own sinister purposes: in this case, writing. Got a lunch break? Write. Sitting at a long stop light? Take a few quick voice notes on your phone.”
5. Maintaining a schedule with the amount of work you’ll need to complete each day to meet your deadlines
6. Outlining the content of your manuscript. Wendig wrote, “If you start the day with a mission statement already in play thanks to an outline, you can jump in, eschew any planning the day might require, and just start writing. The goal is to give as much of your time to actually telling the story as you can.”
7. Asking your loved ones for the time you need to write.
8. Finishing your first draft without editing as you go.
9. Do not doubt your ability to produce a great story.
The origin of the challenge to write a million words in a year is credited to Raymond Chandler who had the idea that to make a living; pulp writers had to produce a million words a year. A key component of writing this quantity of words is keep track of your daily word count. One blogger, Alasdair Stuart, wrote though that this method only made him more anxious and finally succumbed to the fact that he could not produce a million words in a year. He wisely stated:
“What’s important is the willingness to try something new that will push you and shape you and make you stronger coming out the other side.”
However, setting word counts did work for one writer, Anthony Trollope, whose goal was to write 250 words every fifteen minutes. His method of writing was detailed by the writer, William F. Buckley, in an interview with the Paris Review, when he stated,
“He had a note pad that had been indexed to indicate intervals of 250 words. He would force himself to write 250 words per 15 minutes. Now, if at the end of 15 minutes he hadn’t reached one of those little marks on his page, he would write faster.”
In an article published on Slate.com by Michael Agger, strategies for writing faster were explored. He wrote, “Since writing is such a cognitively intense task, the key to becoming faster is to develop strategies to make writing literally less mind-blowing. It’s obviously a huge help to write about a subject you know well. In that case, the writer doesn’t have to keep all of the facts in her working memory freeing up more attention for planning and composing.”
Another strategy for increasing your volume of writing is to write in longhand. An author, Karen Dionne, wrote an article for Huffington Post, describing why this method is so successful when she wrote,
“When an author working on a computer makes a typo, as I just did by typing “Whey” instead of “When” at the beginning of this sentence, they stop and fix it. Why shouldn’t they? The mistake will have to be corrected at some point, the author has noted the error in the here and now, and it only takes a second to correct it.
When I write in longhand, I don’t write “Whey” when I mean to write “When.” Occasionally, I cross out a word or a sentence, but there are no distracting typos, no time consuming regressions.”
Five tips for improving writing speed were examined in a blog post on the website of Hootsuite, a social media management application, with these strategies:
1. Skip the Introduction—Write your piece without the constraints of a planned introduction or lead.
2. Don’t Get Caught Up in the Wording—you have to maintain a rhythm while writing and keep the momentum going. Leave placeholders when you have difficulty figuring out what word to use in a particular context.
3. Keep Your Research in the Document—Copy any quotes, information, or statistics at the bottom of your document before you start and put a line across the page to distinguish between your writing and the research you’ve compiled
4. Write What You’ve Got—be concise and make your writing easy to digest for readers.
5. Talk It Out—ask a colleague for their perspective on your topic as they may offer a perspective that may alter the direction of your article
It is now evident that writing faster is a topic that is has been discussed frequently by writers. The tips and tricks discussed in this article can certainly enable you to become a more productive writer. An important thing to remember though is to never skimp on the quality of your work when you increase the speed at which you write.

Why I Chose to Become a Writer

It all started when I was eleven or twelve years old and I was attending writing classes at a middle school in Matawan as one of their Saturday morning classes. My teacher was a bit eccentric but I enjoyed practicing my writing and eventually presenting one of my short stories in front of the class. I didn’t fully consider myself a writer then because it wasn’t yet a passion of mine but things changed drastically a few years later when I was fourteen and in a writing camp at Brookdale Community College. At Brookdale I truly began to flourish as a writer as I wrote poetry, short stories, and other types of pieces. After that summer I felt I really was a writer.
Writing became an all-consuming passion of mine after that camp and I began seriously writing stories about the characters I had come up with in my head—Samantha and Michael Jaqueries and the friends that Samantha made (often other boys she knew). I was still very amateurish in my writing style but over time began to flesh out my characters more so that they were fully evolved and unique characters. Michael and Samantha are characters I wrote about up until this year.
In high school I always thought that I’d become a famous novelist that was recognized around the world but this dream began to evaporate over time as my interest in my novels began to wane by the time I was in college. After being critiqued on one of my novels I was crestfallen and came to the realization that I was uncertain about sharing my writing with the world.
Once I graduated college I still wrote my novels but not to the extent that I had in my earlier years of college. I began focusing more on finding the right job for me and dabbled in some freelance work for clients I was hired by on a website for freelancers, Elance. On Elance I did travel research for one client while also writing for Patch, an online media outlet, and the Holmdel Happenings, a local newspaper.
Writing became a job for me when I was hired as the assistant to the president of the nonprofit organization I had interned for in the summer before my senior year of college. I learned how to write press releases, formal letters, profile stories, and other pieces and really matured in my writing style. I knew then that I had truly become a professional writer.
When I lost this job it was a major setback for me both personally and professionally. Where was I going to write now? I had no leads for jobs and was once more back in the job market. I still haven’t found a regular office job since then and continue to look every day for the right job for me. Late last year I began my endeavors in freelance writing and worked for one client on writing articles about events and activities in Middletown and another client on a series of articles and lists about erotic poetry. I helped promote his book, The Naked Soul, and my work aided in its success in its category on Amazon.com.
Today I write on a daily basis for my own pleasure and sometimes for my WordPress blog. I write 1000 words a day—sometimes more depending on my mood—while still looking for freelance writing jobs and professional office jobs. I’ve had a couple of job interviews this year but am still frustrated at my inability to be hired for these jobs. What does help is the knowledge that I am a talented writer with skills that I am regularly endorsed for on LinkedIn and that I am continuing to learn new forms of writing on a regular basis.
So do I really consider myself a writer today? I must admit that I am not the prolific writer I once was and no longer aspire to become a successful novelist but I can honestly say that I am indeed a writer. I have an established reputation for good work on Elance and although writing is no longer a consuming passion of mine I do still enjoy the writing that I do daily. I have written some great short stories, poems, and personal reflections this summer and I hope to continue to be a productive writer in the months and years to come.
People often wonder though if they too can become successful writers. I would have to tell them that it is hard work to become a writer and taking writing classes can really help in the long run but it is a worthwhile career to pursue. I would recommend that they look to others for advice on writing and learn from the mistakes that other writers have made. You must realize that writing can become a full-time job—it may not always pay well but it can become something that may eventually bring a good income and a great mental workout.
I chose to become a writer when I was still a child and I hope I never lose this drive of continuing to write. I know that my writing on certain topics can make a difference in the lives of others and can be a model for others to emulate. You have to envision what you want to write about and I’m excited about sharing my perspectives with the world.