How I got past writer’s block.

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Life sometimes unbalances us or even completely shoves us off our feet. I can attest to this.
My story of my recent writer’s block is something I mention frequently these days but I think it’s time I do so again because this time I can tell you what it’s like to be on the other side of writer’s block and everything I see now that I’m looking back on it.
First of all, I’m not an expert in psychology or even writing, I’m just a girl.
Secondly, up until the beginning of this year I didn’t even believe in writer’s block.

So here’s what happened.
I was planning to write this epic novel this year. In fact, considering that it’s nearly July, I can tell you that I wanted it to be done by now. It would have been my fourth novel (rough draft). It would have been the first book in my first trilogy. It would have been the heavy fantasy I’ve always wanted to write.
As you can probably tell, this novel never panned out. I never finished it and it never made it passed 6000 words.
I can give you a dozen reasons why I never wrote this novel. Most people’s first instinct is probably to say that I was just procrastinating. Maybe I was but considering the hours I’ve spent staring at a blank screen I wouldn’t say so. Perhaps I was simply overworked already, after all I’m busy with my IGCSE’s right now, along with a job in the week days after lunch (I tutor my cousin) and trying to keep a blog and a healthy teen social life together. It wouldn’t be so bad if this was my excuse right? Surely you would understand. Surely I myself would understand.
This isn’t the reason though and besides if it was I would probably be furious with myself, writing is after all one of my top priorities.

So why couldn’t I write for six months straight?
I think it was probably a bunch of things combined.
The feeling that despite having written three rough novels already I wasn’t good enough. Having my writing rejected for the first time ever. My blogging stats plummeting like a fighter jet without engines. My character’s suddenly feeling like cardboard to me.
These things, along with probably a lot of other things, mixed and lodged in my stomach like a big rock. It became a weight that pulled me down and kept my breathing from being even. It made my fingers start to shake when I sat down to type anything. It made my head pound when I tried to plan something.
I was miserable and useless because, every time I thought about work or writing, the rock in my stomach grew heavier to the point that I couldn’t get myself to do anything.

Okay stop right there, this is becoming depressing and way too heavy for what this post was intended for. (Pun intended)

Anyway so then a bunch of stuff happened and things got better. I realized that I wasn’t able to write. I told my parents about the rock in my stomach. I got better, or at least the feeling started to fade until the point where I decided I was ready to try and write again. This time I planned to finish my story as quick as possible. That was at the beginning of this month.
I managed maybe 300 words before the rock in my stomach came back and I went back to my parent’s room to flop onto their bed and sigh. My creative juices were gone. I was, despite my best efforts, still a useless writer.
But an idea was starting to form in my head, nothing to do with my great fantasy novel but just a simple idea of a girl with pink hair with two conflicting powers. I lay awake that night, twisting and turning in my bead, as I realized the decision I had to make. I could either keep on struggling with my great fantasy novel, or I could try writing something new.
How could I abandon a project? I never abandon projects. What if I have the same problem with this new story? What if I can’t write anything decent again in my life? Was I even still supposed to become a writer?

Those last two thoughts were a little bit drastic, but hey, I’m a teen girl who has her heart set on becoming a writer which is probably one of the most unrealistic job expectations ever.

I made my choice.
I packed away my old project, in fact I literally took it off my planning board. I drew the first picture of the pink haired girl and I put it against my board instead.
I didn’t plan or anything, instead I simply asked myself what the most relatable thing I can think of this character doing, and the first scene came to me.
I sat down and wrote about a pink haired girl struggling with her Wi-Fi, the smell of coffee surrounding her and the frustrations of a day going wrong fresh in her mind.
This scene is around 1400 words long.
After that the idea snowballed and while I’m writing this post my word count for the story stands at 10 500 words. I know it might not seem a lot to some considering I’ve had two weeks between my decision and this post but next to the 6000 of the previous six months I think these numbers are looking good.

I learned a lot of things these past six months the first thing is writer’s block is a real thing.
People might argue or call you lazy for not writing but the thing is that while writer’s block might not be exactly what we think it is, it is still real.

The second lesson that I learned was that sometimes an idea isn’t ready for this world yet. If that’s the case, move on because you can always pick it up again later and there is no sense in wasting time on it now.

The last lesson I’m going to mention is that no matter how strong you are, there will be times when you feel weak. It’s okay. You don’t have to be strong 24/7 or keep your chin up all the time. You are allowed to cry and be frustrated. You are allowed to be weak.

That last one is a rather bold statement and I want you to remember it. You are allowed to be weak.

 
I feel like I need to end this post now with something dramatic, so here goes.
I’m Enette Venter and I have been struggling with writer’s block for the past six months. I don’t know why but I do know that I had to let go of a writing project to get passed the block. I was trying to carry something that was no longer working and it wasn’t until I let it go that I could truly pick up, and fall in love with a new idea.

Yes writer’s block is real. Yes I beat it. Yes I’m writing again.
I hope that if you are struggling with writers block or any type of creative block then you can find your way out of it. I want to remind you though, that just because you are struggling doesn’t mean that you are useless.

Now that you’re done with this, you know about my past six months. I hope this added something to your life and that when you click off this screen it won’t be just another post you forget. That’s the goal for my writing, to change lives, or at least to add to it.
Whether I achieved that here or not, I’m saying my farewells now and, hope you have a lovely day.

 

Philippians 3:13-14 (NIV)
13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Guest post: 8 steps to destroying writer’s block

This is post was originally posted over at wandering soul, a great blog for travelling and good stories all around.
I know we all struggle with writer’s block (especially after the holidays) and the web is full of articles on how to get past it. (including my own) Today we will take a look at how wandering soul handles it when she gets stuck on writing an article.


 
All of us face a blank wall sooner or later. Even experienced writers and successful authors face it. But for new writers, it is even more IMG_6798difficult to start off. A blank page or screen stares back and us, as we struggle to fill it with something interesting.
We start to write something, then think again. We delete it, only to rephrase it differently. We may reach half way, across the page and still not be happy with it. Start again, we think, but somehow, just can’t seem to get it right.
Here, are some tips to get over that initial roadblock.
• Step 1 – Use the prompts given as part of assignments in Blogging U. to come up with something interesting. It doesn’t have to be Booker Prize worthy. It just has to have your original take on it. Not registered on the course – use random phrases, idioms, words, quotes, song lyrics, photos, dialogues, tweets, facebook comments etc as an inspiration. You can learn more about prompts and how to use them here.

• Step 2 – Read recommended articles or posts that are mentioned by the Happiness Engineers. These usually are very insightful on how to approach the process of writing and also very helpful in giving tips on how to pick up ideas from around you.
• Step 3 – Read other people’s blogs, posts, comments. It usually does trigger off something – the memory of a similar incident, the death of a loved one, your own take on life, your opinions regarding a social evil, love for a shared interest. All of these can be developed into a post.

• Step 4 – Take a moment’s pause and reflect on your life – important milestones, incidents and/or experiences, lessons learnt or even setbacks – you may want to write about them and share them with others.
• Step 5 – Disconnect from your writing and take a break. Connect with the real world. There’s life beyond the virtual world, also. (I really need to take my own advice) Watch a movie. Listen to music. Take a walk and observe and absorb the sights around you. Real Life and Nature, both are very good sources of inspiration. Use it as a setting for a story or post – a fictional account of a seemingly happy married couple fighting while on holiday, an interaction between two strangers who are stuck at a bus-stop in the rain, a philosophical take on failed relationships, a poem about the starry night sky. Anything from the real world could be developed into something on paper. Taking a break is very important as it helps declutter your mind. Pick up that half-written draft that you tossed aside yesterday. Revisit a previously written draft after a short break. Stuck in the middle of an article? Leave it alone for now. Sometimes, the time away from your desk helps to see your writing with a fresh mind and perspective. This would not only improve the quality of writing but also help you avoid glaring mistakes that may distract and take away from the message in your post.

• Step 6 – Talk. Read. Ask. Just involve yourself in the stories of other people. Talk to your neighbors and ask the couple how they met. Chat up with that suave, confident office-goer about his experiences in college. You will get to know a lot more than what you initially did. Not only does it make you a better people’s person but also gives an insight about people and how certain incidents shaped their lives and made them who they are. These discussions can become the basis of yet another post – fictional, or real-life account or even a self-help article.
• Step 7 – Write. However obvious this point may seem, I can’t emphasize on it enough. You may not have a clear idea of how to express, so just ramble on. You may not even know what to talk about and how to go about it. So, just write about the first thought that comes to mind. Burnt the chicken casserole, frustrated with your pathetic painting skills, couldn’t find that important appointment letter? Write about it. Pour out your feelings. It doesn’t matter whether it makes sense or not. You can always edit and re-edit it later. You don’t have to even publish it or share with anyone at all. But developing the habit of writing down is important and a step in the right direction.

• Step 8 – Read up about the experiences and advice that the pros share. It may not give you ideas but will give you comfort and solace in knowing that you are not the only one experiencing “writer’s block”. Give yourself space and time. Usually, sooner or later, something or the other from the above points sparks off something and an idea germinates in your head. Go back to Step 7.
And soon you would see that have already finished with writing your article 🙂


 

Back to Enette now, if you feel like guest blogging for me go look at the rules here. Then contact me.

Weekend writer’s block: halfling

This is one of the first things I have been able to type since spraining my finger so you will have to forgive me for the fact that it’s going to be a short post.Untitled
Today I have a beginning for both a character and some magic.
This character is a mix of two races in a magical world. Both races have a different sort of magic running through their veins and since she is a mix she has both. The only problem is that the two kinds of magic repel each other leaving her sick for most of her life.
For years people just thought she was sick and no one realized the real problem until she came into her dead beat dad who had left her mother when she was little.

How do you think her father reacts to seeing her again? What do you think they will do about the problem now that they know what it is?

weekend writer’s block

UntitledToday I have a character aspect for you.
This character used to have wings made out of a glass like substance.
She/he was admired for them and was given constant praise because of his/her flying abilities.
One day there was an attack on people he/she didn’t know while she was flying by.
She managed to save the people but in the event her wings shattered embedding pieces of itself into her back.
So now while some random people she didn’t know gets to live this character has lost everything and is left with scars covering her back.
How do you thing this event changed the character of the angel?
What does he/she do with her life now?

Weekend writer’s block : prodigies

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This week I have another piece of magic.
Everyone has magic not all as strong as the other but everyone has magic.
How the magic works is basically that it is tied to everything around you and that you can use this link to enforce your will onto it.
With this you are able to do all kinds of things from sending random objects flying to causing sudden combustion.
The only rule this magic truly follows is that you are only able to affect one thing at a time.

But now where things get interesting is that occasionally someone pops up with the ability to see patterns and connections in the world.
These people are called prodigies.
They don’t specifically have stronger magical abilities but they can see the patterns the world form and how changing one thing can affect a dozen other.

Now I actually feel like attaching a little bit of character here.
A princess who discards responsibility in favour of a party life is born a prodigy. After years of trying to tame the princesses wild spirit the king and queen sends her to a boarding school. They hope that she will come back a proper lady.
At first is seems that their plans will fail completely but then she meets another prodigy.
An inventor’s son, who has very little magical potential and who has purposely failed the first year at the boarding school 2 years in a row.
The two of them instantly hit it off as he mumbled a smart ass comment under his breath in class in a secret code. Her prodigal mind instantly figures out the code and she has to stifle her laugh.
They become friends in school and she helps him get in trouble so he can achieve his dream of being expelled. In return he proves that he is capable of interesting her for more than 15 minutes in a conversation. Something no has been able to do since she was 6.
As the two of them start spending more time together the princess’s grade’s starts lifting because she now has more important things to do with her time then fail on purpose.

I’m not sure where this story is heading but if you choose to adopt it then it’s completely up to you.

What do you think is the next thing that will happen in this story?

Writing blocks. Inspiration for desperate times.

I’m giving you another piece of world building today.Untitled
The setting is in a desert where nothing really grows. A strong nation of people had decided to call this their home and has been surviving the harsh conditions for as long as they remember.
When I say harsh conditions I don’t simply mean the heat and the sand, I’m also talking about the acid fog that rolls over the land at night.
It keeps people locked up indoors during the night and then retreats back to where it came from when the sun comes up.
The acid eats away at the buildings and kills all the food they are trying to grow.
The people have found ways to protect their food and have learned to live with this fog.

Where does the fog some from?
Why doesn’t the people just go look for somewhere else to live?
How do they protect their food and how does the fog affect their health?

weekend writing block. (Inspiration for desperate times.)

Last week I shared a piece of world building but this week I want to share a start on a plot.Untitled

There are two sisters both where born from pureblood werewolves. The youngest one is just like the rest of her family a bloodthirsty monster.
The older sister is nothing like the rest of her family. She was born a cripple.
She can’t turn into a wolf because her bone structure does not have the mutant ability to change shape.
She can feel the pull of the full moon and has the anger issues of a normal werewolf.
She is strong and stubborn which despite her defect gets her a lot of respect from the rest of the pack since she can keep her own in a fight.
But then there comes the day when their pack is attacked and mostly wiped out.
The enemy let her slip past them because they assumed she is a normal human. The only member of her family she could save was her sister.
They go on the run together.
It’s dangerous for the eldest to stay with her sister because they are constantly being hunted and once a month her sister doesn’t know the difference between family and food.
She stays with her sister though and every month she battles her sister’s wolf into submission.
Despite her defect she is the Alfa between the two of them.

What sort of trouble do you think they would face in their journey?
Where do they plan to go?
What relationship do you think would form between the two sisters?