We’re all writers, and we’ve all been there – that moment when we suddenly lose our train of thought, and we have no idea what we were just writing. I’m talking about that moment all writers dread: writer’s block.
When you find yourself facing writer’s block, it is important to remember that you are not alone and every other author out there has dealt with writer’s block at some time during their writing career. Although it is discouraging, writer’s block is temporary and it too shall pass. But, for the time being, here are six tips I use to beat writer’s block.
Be Active – Go for a walk, jog or run. Do yoga or go to the gym. Being active is a great way to reduce stress and clear your mind. Once you’ve cleared your mind you’ll find it easier to collect your thoughts and work on your writing.
Take a Nap – Whether you take a short power nap or an over-due, long midday nap, you’ll wake up refreshed. Chances are you’re facing writer’s block because your body is telling you that it needs a break. Take a nap and wake up rested, recharged and ready to tackle your writing for the day.
Watch a Movie – Take a break long enough to watch a movie. It can be your go-to movie when you’re stressed or down, a new movie you haven’t seen or any other movie you have in your collection. Movies provide visual inspiration and inspiration, and they allow your brain to relax. Who knows, maybe you’ll get inspiration for a character you’ve had trouble developing or an idea for a plot twist!
Be Prompted – If you want to face writer’s block head on, use a writing prompt to jumpstart your mind. Every Friday, we provide a writing tip and prompt for our readers with both text and a visual. If you’ve already used all of our writing prompts and are looking for a new challenge, you can search the internet for a plethora of writing prompts.
Switch Mediums – Maybe you are too distracted and cannot focus on your writing, or you cannot put your thoughts in writing fast enough. If you normally type on your computer, switch to pen and paper. By doing this, you will not have the internet at your fingertips, and you can focus on the task at hand: writing. If you normally write with pen and paper, try typing. Most people type faster than they write and that will help you write your thoughts faster, preventing you from getting lost in them.
Unwind – Whether you listen to music, read a book, dance or eat a snack, just do something that allows you to unwind. You can listen to music while you’re writing, or take a break from writing completely. Whatever you chose to do to unwind, just do it and enjoy it without keeping thoughts of your writing in the back of your mind.
The key to tackling writer’s block is taking a step back and focusing on something different for a short while. You will only get frustrated if you are suffering from writer’s block and try to ignore it.
Two important things to remember about writer’s block: it is our body’s way of telling us our mind needs a break, and it is temporary. So, the next time you find yourself facing writer’s block, take a deep breath and focus on something else knowing that you’ll be able to come back and tackle your writing with a clear mind later.
What tips do you have for beating writer’s block?
Writing Tip – Get in Tune With Your Senses
Sight, smell, sound, taste and touch. Make a point to examine each sense in your daily activities so that you may apply your observations to your writing. When you incorporate feeling into your writing, you are able to move pages and move readers. As readers, we all want a story that takes control of us, and that begins with feeling the meaning of the words.
Writing Prompt – Endings
While some books’ endings satisfy us, others leave us wanting more and others leave us full of questions. Maybe the ending was confusing, or perhaps it just wasn’t the direction you would have taken the story. Think of a book that left you feeling unsure at the ending. Rewrite the last chapter and write a new conclusion to the story.
Cover design is an important aspect when publishing a book, and it is something all authors struggle with. We talked with Cover Design Supervisor Alison Holen to gather advice and insight from an experienced cover designer. The image for today’s entry is an example of Alison Holen’s work.
WBP: Why is a good cover design important to your book?
AH: Although it is often said, “never judge a book by its cover,” readers rarely follow this saying. A well designed book draws the eyes and sparks the reader’s curiosity. A quality cover design also brings a sense of professionalism to a book.
WBP: Where should an author start when thinking about a book’s cover design?
AH: When thinking about what direction to take for cover design, you need to begin by looking at the future of the industry: online bookstores. Online bookstores present an interesting challenge to a designer because the images used to represent the book online are rather small (thumbnails). In this instance, bold typographic design with a simple (yet powerful) image is typically successful because it is easier to view at a smaller size. As long as the design is strong at the thumbnail size, the cover will be even more impactful on the shelf of a store. (more…)
Writing Tip – Inner Child
Listen to a child — the openness and directness of their character, personalities full of wonderment and pride in their own inquisitiveness. Get in touch with your inner child when writing. Underneath conformity and inhibitions is your elementary creativity. Allow yourself to explore, question, laugh and learn from the writing process. This practice will help you find your voice.
Writing Prompt –Time
Your writing prompt for today is simply the word time. Words provoke thoughts and emotions, and words hold different meanings and memories for each of us. Do what you like with the word. Search for its meaning, or better yet, start with a little impromptu writing on what this word brings to mind. What do you think when you hear it? Say it? Write a short piece applying the word and its concept.
Thank you to all of the authors who participated and submitted a manuscript for the 2012 Women of Faith writing contest. We are pleased to announce the top 30 finalists of the 2012 Women of Faith writing contest.
This is the third annual Women of Faith writing contest that WestBow Press has held. With two accomplished winners from previous contests, this year’s finalists are poised for a publishing prize. (more…)
Ash Wednesday reminds us that the season of Lent is upon us. Starting today, Christians prepare themselves for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. This time is used to reflect through prayer, penance, repentance, almsgiving and self-denial. The duration of Lent is often related to the time that Jesus spent fasting in the desert before he started his ministry.
In order to focus more on God, Christians fast during Lent. Traditionally, this implies giving something up that we enjoy, such as chocolate or soda. It is important to remember that we do not always have to give something up in order to fast and focus on God. Sometimes we benefit more from doing something extra during Lent, such as reading the Bible every day or volunteering at a soup kitchen. As a writer, you can use your gift to bring your focus to God during this time of preparation.
3 Ways Your Writing Can Bring Your Focus to God:
Reflect – Choose passages in the Bible to read and reflect on during Lent. Write about what the passages mean to you and how you can apply the messages in your daily life.
Pray – Keep a prayer journal during Lent and write in it every day.
Listen – God has called you to write your story. What purpose has He given your story? Now, more than ever, listen to God as He guides you in your writing.
This Lenten season, incorporate these three things in your writing as your way of fasting. Lent does not mean we need to forbid ourselves from something we enjoy. Sometimes, by doing something such as writing or volunteering, we inadvertently give up something because we are focusing on God and not our desires.
How will you use your writing to bring your focus to God this Lent?
Writing Tip – Research
Research is a must when it comes to writing; you want to cover all of your bases when you’re writing about anything. Come publishing time, readers won’t be happy if you get your facts wrong or you’re unclear or unknowledgeable about something. Unhappy readers can lead to bad reviews, which in turn creates hesitation towards buying your future books. Research what you’re writing about and you’ll have happy and impressed readers who are likely to recommend your book to others.
Writing Prompt – Values
Think about the values of your parents. Can you remember a time when your father or mother taught you their morals by example? Perhaps your dad spoke of patience as he taught you how to shave, or maybe your mom tried to instill relationship sense by telling you about how she met your father. Now, write a story or poem about your experience and the lessons you learned.
One reason authors want to have their book traditionally published is to capitalize on the publisher’s marketing resources and experience. Traditional publishers, such as Thomas Nelson, have a staff that focuses exclusively on driving sales through advertising, publicity and other marketing tactics. They have connections with various media and sales outlets that very few self-published authors can even begin to develop. These connections can help make a book successful.
Although traditional publishers have a staff focused exclusively on marketing books, most new authors would sell more copies of their books if they were self-published.
Writing Tip – Be Conscientious of the Reader
Don’t be too obscure when you’re writing. You may know exactly what a drill press does, but your reader might not. Always try to read your stories and poems objectively. There may be details that need a little supplemental information in order to smooth out the prose for other readers.
Writing Prompt – Breakup Advice
Consider a previous dating relationship that never worked out. Once you have a particular one in mind, think of 10 statements your friends told you in order to get over him or her. Choose one and begin a story with this advice as the first line. Did your friends help, or did their advice make matters worse? Try to capture the confusion and complexity that comes from an ending relationship.