"...everything in life is writable...if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt."..... Sylvia Plath

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Writer's block: Getting over the hump after the holidays

It's hard to stay motivated to write when there are so many other things going on in your life, but it can be done.

First, you need to figure out a few things:

1. What time of day you write the best.
2. Where you are comfortable writing when home.
3. Or where you can write comfortably away from home.
4, If at home, when everyone is out of the house at the same time, or asleep
5. What's the best way to keep your ideas for writing projects at your fingertips and flowing  .

It takes time and thought to work this out and should be worked out before you fall in a heap on the floor beseeching God to give you back the urgent and continuing desire to write...the one that wakes you in the middle of the night, or grabs you as you're quietly sitting in the passeger seat of a car or in an important meeting with your boss. And you could also use his help and support to organize your thoughts into paragraphs and pages.

Besides coming up with the best way to facilitate the process the most comfortably and expediently, journaling may help you stay motivated to write. I've included a few tips with the following suggestions: 
Buy a journal or notebook, if you don't already have one. Write in your journal every day before you’re fully awake to tap into your intuition and creativity. Try writing at different times during the day to find out which times seem best for you.

Tip: When you don’t know what to write about, open up book to any page. Close your eyes and randomly point to anywhere on the page. Open your eyes and look at the word you landed on. That’s your topic. Write about it, free word associate, or write about why you don’t want to write about it for at least ten minutes.

Tip: remember that a strong emotional response is usually a sign there’s something deeper going on and worth exploring in your journal.

Tip: If you have trouble fitting journal writing into your schedule, make an appointment with yourself. Commit to write for only 10 minutes. Time yourself...you can do anything for 10 minutes.

Tip: Go for a short walk. Listen for sounds of birds, cars, sirens, children playing, dogs barking, etc. Notice the associations you have with these sounds. Go home and write about what one of the sounds and the associations it elicited.

Tip: Read your journal entries on the same day each month. Highlight phrases, thoughts, ideas, and events you think are especially memorable or significant. Develop topics to write about from these. 

I am not big on journaling for myself, but I know that it works for lots of other writers. What I prefer to do is blog. I can then use my blog entries as one would use journal entries, gleaning ideas and memories to come up with topics for all sorts of genres from essays, to memoirs, to maybe a novel or two.

Also see previous post on writer's block (a popular topic)

if you enjoyed this post, feel free to leave a comment


  1. Those are some neat tips. Like you, I don't journal, but find blogging helps me keep the juices flowing. Unfortunately, though, there are times when it really cuts into my more serious writing time. Taking walks is another big one for me, too. Though having a routine does help, sometimes the writing bug just bites me and I have to purge. I find my best writing is done then.

    Good post!

  2. Janene, Thanks so much for the great comment. Well, I guess whatever works is the way to go. I can't stick to a routine except in a very general way. I basically do the same things, but have to change the order, or the time, or the place.
    I also have those explosions of creativity when, no matter where you are or what time it is you just have to get it out and sometimes it pours out for hoursand wont let me sleep or eat.
    I experienced something similar when I was active in musical theater.

  3. Blogging helps me too! Also, another thing that gets me to focus on writing the rough draft of my novel is to just sit down and start writing anything. I have gone over my rough draft a couple of times and have taken things out, but when I just started writing anything, then it focuses me to be in the mood to write things I really think my characters would do. I then look up and see a half hour or an hour has passed, and I feel pretty good about that.

  4. Thanks for the great tips, Jewel. You've just validated my assertions...There's also a previous post on writer's block below: http://amemorabletimeofmylife.blogspot.com/2010/12/writers-block.html