Breaking Writers Block - Two Tips

Posted at 19:32pm on 2nd May 2011

Revised: May 2011

There's no doubt about it, marketing a new book plays havoc with your writing schedule.  I told myself, when my novel, A Painful Post Mortem, hit the bookshops, that I'd give my undivided attention to book signings, speaking engagements, writing and blogging until – well, until the end of that summer.  It didn't last, of course!  To be that disengaged from the process of writing is as close as I'll ever know to withdrawal symptoms from any other addiction.  In fact, it's only now that I've got round to setting up a Facebook Page for my book.  You may like to visit it here.

So what do you do when the enforced withdrawal produces the dreaded writers' block and the next book lies waiting in the doldrums because your mind is blank?

EDITING & REVISING

To begin with, I tried to hoodwink myself I into believing that writing a blog for my website, commenting on others, and writing articles for ezines would satisfy my craving.  It didn't, of course.  I should have known it wouldn't!

So my next strategy was editing and revising my previously published Stepfamily book.  With all Rights reverted to me by my publishers, my aim is to turn it into an e-book, and thus make it more readily available for the readers who might benefit from the wisdom contained therein.  This was going to be the sledge hammer with which I smashed my writers' block.

Who am I kidding?  My concentration was shot to pieces by book sales, book reviews and magazine interviews.  Besides, revising and updating a book requires a far greater sense of dedication than the creative writing techniques that are necessary to produce something from scratch.  The project has progressed no further than page seven of approximately one-hundred and seven, and has since been abandoned.  Temporarily!

I did manage to change at least three sentences of the already written chapter one of my next novel.  Whether I shall consider them an improvement when I switch on tomorrow remains to be seen.  Three chapters in, and I can barely recall the characters, let alone their storylines.  After three months of absence, they have become like strangers; I have a vague recognition of someone I should know but can't quite place.

It will all come right, of course, in the end.   We've been here before, my books and I.  It's simply a matter of making up our minds to become reacquainted.  And that requires time and dedication.  Ah, well.  Back to the blog . . .

THREE TIPS TO BREAK WRITERS BLOCK

In Lanzarote, where the lava meets the coastline, an arched channel has been carved out by the ebb and flow of the sea.  In order to free your creativity when writing and publishing a book, you need to be firm about making a schedule – carving out time for your writing; creating the same ebb and flow in your creative writing techniques.

 

  1. Making a schedule: The Atlantic Ocean which created that lava arch responds to the pull of the moon to create tides which conform to routine.  As all professional writers would tell aspiring authors, making a schedule for your writing process is key to success.  The quote, "I write when I'm inspired, and I see to it that I'm inspired at nine o'clock every morning," is attributed to Peter De Vries, but I believe it to be George Bernard Shaw's.  Whatever! The important thing is to establish a routine: write – even if it's rubbish.  Like the passage of the tide, the writing process will stimulate your creative juices and, eventually, carve out the structure of a novel.
  2. The ebb: Don't attempt any new writing.  Re-read what you last wrote.  It will get you back into the frame of mind you were in while you were writing it.  You may find that you want to revise certain parts.  Switch on your Tracker (if using MS Word) so you retain a copy of your original manuscript as you make the changes.
  3. The flow:  Only then should you begin writing new material.  And persevere, irrespective of how it easily it flows.  Think how many centuries it took to carve out the channel in the picture.  It's easier to have something down – anything – and then revise it, than to sit looking at a blank screen.

 

Whatever anyone tells you, writing and publishing a book is hard work.  The creative writing techniques required to complete the structure of a novel need commitment – even when the going gets tough.  Don't allow writers' block to get the better of you and prevent you from accomplishing your dream.

Share your tips on breaking writers block.  Leave a comment below.  Remember your contact details will not be visible to any other reader and will NEVER be divulged to any third party.

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