Check out This week’s Writing Tips for Drafting in the Writing Process:
There is almost nothing worse than sitting down to write a column, blog post, speech or article that you care about – only to have that horrible “I can’t even” feeling of writers’ block.
I know it. I’ve felt it, and I hate it too. It’s like you are suddenly powerless and tiny, and the world seems far too big and important for your words to make any impact on anyone.
BUT that’s wrong. The world IS huge, but that’s awesome. There are billions of people out there; surely a few of them want to hear what you have to say.
So what do you do to get your words out when they’re stuck in your throat?
Pay attention to these 5 things and you can knock Writers’ Block on its tushy for once and for all:
1. Your Plan
Remember that you have to plan your writing project before you jump in. If you are trying to run the marathon without knowing the route, you’re going to get overwhelmed and lost – and never get to the finish line.
Check out this post on Prewriting, to make sure you have all of your planning done BEFORE you try to start the Drafting step. It will relieve all kinds of pressure and stress, if you know what you are going to say and in what order.
2. Your Space
Where you are matters. If you are in a dark and closed in room, that will show up in your writing…which is cool if you are writing a horror movie screenplay, but it is really hard to overcome if you are trying to convey something other than darkness and claustrophobia.
Find a space that feels good for you and for your writing piece. I often will get up and go somewhere else if I am feeling really stuck, but don’t let your resistance talk you into packing up everything and moving to a different café table every 20 minutes, just to avoid doing the work.
I like to set up a space that will make writing time feel like a treat. I have a mason jar filled with red liquorice twists nearby, a plate of some sort of healthy and happy snacks and a refreshing drink all set out ahead of time, so I don’t have any excuses to get up and leave.
Try this iced tea I love, if you want to add a touch of summer to your writing space.
3. Your Practice
Writing is like any other skill: if you don’t practise, you won’t get better.
Find your weak spots and commit to working on those – regularly.
If your vocabulary is limited – start collecting delicious words in a word bank.
If your sentences are all the same, and you want to branch out – learn about different sentence structures and practise using them.
If you feel like you are judging every word that comes out and can’t get past the blinking cursor – start a free-writing practice to get over your writing pride and let it OUT.
4. Your Self
You need to feel alright with yourself, in order to be alright with your writing. This is a new step on the list for me, and it’s made a huge difference, guys – let me tell you.
I have always been a writer; I’ve always battled with the “I can’t even”s, and I have often lost and given up. Because of that, I’ve missed out on telling TOO MANY great stories that I wanted to tell – mostly because I was generally not feeling awesome with myself.
All that doubt and crappy self-talk dissolves your creativity. We have this ridiculous notion that only the truly depressed can create beautiful art and writing. FALSE!
Get right with yourself – mentally and physically. Move every day, in a way that makes you feel awesome (I like me a nice and easy 15-minute Yoga session before I write, or a short walk around the lake), eat food that makes you feel awesome, read books and talk to people that make you feel awesome…get where I’m going here?
Treat yourself like an awesome person – on purpose – and you will feel better with your writing time.
5. Your Voice
This one is always my most favourite and my least favourite piece of writing advice. Everybody, everywhere wants you to “Find Your Voice”. That can be vague and confusing at the best of times, and downright overwhelming at the worst.
I say this – work on making your Voice sound like the best parts of you. Be genuine ALWAYS and never ever EVER try to sound like someone else.
Ask people who know you and love you about the way you talk:
- What are some sayings you use all of the time, without even realizing it?
- What makes you funny?
- What are your best stories and why?
Now ask yourself some questions:
- What are you good at?
- What do you love to talk about?
- Who do you love talking to? Why?
- What are your favourite movies, TV shows and books? What makes them wonderful to you?
Trust your people and trust yourself. If you are writing to an audience that you don’t enjoy talking to, change that. If you are using words you would never ever use in a conversation, stop that.
When you are consuming your favourite books, blogs, magazines, TV shows and movies, you have to start paying attention to what you love about them. Make note of the things you like, and start learning how to do those things, in your own way.
Download this week’s Checklist to keep your Drafting on track, and help you to find your Writing Flow.
Click here for the Drafting Checklist – 5 steps to find your flow – Keyboards and Kickstands – Tuesday Tips
Thanks for writing with me again this week, ladies and gents! I look forward to seeing all of you on Thursday for the FIRST EVER BIZ BOOK CLUB, here on Keyboards and Kickstands.
Leave a comment and share your favourite ways to make writing feel great, and share, pin, tweet or email this post to anyone you know who loves to write, or wants to love writing.
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