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Writers Block

Updated: Nov 21, 2022

I'm retired now, and try my best to arrange my life into fun, more fun, and funny. But, I had a moment of type A insanity recently and signed up to participate in Nanorimo. For those that don't know, this is a writing competition that requires you to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. You heard me. Thirty days. Over Thanksgiving. I may be insane, but it is actually forcing me to put on my big girl panties and just do it. I have read several places that the most difficult part of being a writer is making yourself sit down and write. I don't understand that. I love writing, and as long as no one is standing over my shoulder, I never seem to have a problem with banging out a couple of thousand words a day. The first week went wonderfully, then I had a day that was crazy busy, and didn't write a word, it went downhill from there. For the next several days, I couldn't seem to find the time to write. Procrastination set in, then hopelessness of catching up, and the more I procrastinated, the worse it got. I found myself overwhelmed.

But, I don't have any real reason to feel that way. This competition is voluntary. If I don't finish until the end of December, it's ok. I still finished. If I don't earn every one of those silly electronic badges, the grownup version of stickers, so what? The point is developing a routine of writing every day. To plow through writers block and put something, even if its crap on paper every day. You're not a writer unless you actually write. I personally think writers block for me is something I do to myself. I self talk my way into procrastination to keep from finishing and showing the work to others. I like to write, but my deepest fear is that no one wants to read it. I'd rather never finish than have that piece I worked so hard on be rejected.

The way out for me is simply to make myself write, even if I don't know what to say. Just write. Blogging is a strange concept. It's like writing a diary that the entire world can pick up and read. It's a really scary thing for me to do. It means I have to open up a little and let others inside my world and that's uncomfortable. It's fear, plain and simple. It requires me to come out of my introverted world and interact with others.

Here's a tip that works well for me. I set an alarm on my phone and block out time to sit in front of my computer and write. I have a jar on my dest with dozens of post it notes with story ideas in it. Pick one and write a short story, or a magazine article. Use an online plot generator, or my personal favorite is to look around the room and pick an object, then write a short story using that object. It can be a picture, a book, a piece of furniture. The last time I did this, I picked a Mexican Train dominoes game and wrote a short story about a group of friends who meet weekly to play the game. It doesn't really matter what you write, the point is to write something. Once you get started, the ideas will begin to flow again.

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