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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 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.