I am between projects right now. It is a foreign feeling for me. Normally, I race on to something else before finishing my current project, constantly scanning my environment for the next amazing thing to do or activity to try.
This year, I decided to try something different. I set an intention to finish what I start. It is more difficult than I imagined. Now, before starting something, I actually have to commit. No more leaping out of something because I’m stuck, bored or both.
Even though I have been writing and journaling consistently since I was eight years old, I still have problems with writer’s block. Take today, for example. I want to write this post but have been staring at my computer screen for almost an hour, trying to figure out what to write next.
Writer’s block never really goes away, for me anyway, and it can happen for any number of reasons. Typically, I find that writer’s block results from allowing external opinions or circumstances interfere with our writing practice.
This is a lesson I have had to learn over and over again, starting most memorably fifteen years ago when I decided to put writing first after finding inspiration and my voice while completing Julia Cameron’s creative unblocking course The Artist’s Way. The course was a revelation to me, and I got serious about my craft as a fiction writer and poet and applied to MFA programs in creative writing. I didn’t get accepted. I was devastated. I stopped writing for awhile but eventually took a creative writing course at my local community college and found the will to continue.
After working consistently on my craft for another three years, I got accepted to the MFA program at Columbia College in Chicago. I was ecstatic! FINALLY, I was going to earn the terminal degree that told the world I was a writer. The only problem? It didn’t work out.
Okay, I admit it: I am writing this blog post for myself today, just as much as I am writing it for all of you, my lovely audience. Why? Because even though I have made a career out of writing, there are still plenty of days when I doubt my own abilities and talents, and I recognize the need to talk myself back into what I know, based on the hard lessons about writing and life that I need to learn and re-learn.
Sometimes writing is fun, but anyone who writes on a regular basis also knows that it can be difficult, even when we’re excited about our particular writing project.
For me, two of the biggest problems when I’m writing a novel are avoiding boredom and staying focused. The issues are a bit counter intuitive since each requires a different solution. After years if experimenting, I started to pay attention to what specifically worked well for me, and so today I am going to share with you the best tips I know for how to stay focused when writing. Continue reading “5 Tips on How to Stay Focused When Writing a Novel”
I am a blogger, novelist, poet, and non-fiction writer. I work on my blogs and my novel-in-progress daily, so on any given day, I will end up writing in at least two of these four formats. On occasion, I’ll take a day off from blogging, but that is rare. There is almost always something that I feel I need to express that will allow me to enjoy new insights or that will help someone.
The novelist, screenwriter, and writing coach Alan Watt says that we ultimately write in order to evolve. I believe this is true as well. Part of my evolution includes creative self-expression and helping other writers and artists by providing advice, insights, and encouragements. Continue reading “Persistence with Writing Pays Off”
My guess is that this does happen to you because it happens to most of us. Despite our best efforts to write or create (if you’re another type of artist) every day, there are times when our routine for writing or creating gets hijacked by work, family, life, or some unforeseen circumstance.
This happened to me yesterday after an AMAZING writing streak. Things were going incredibly well. I exceeded the daily word counts I set for my blog and my nonfiction book. And my novel—you know, the one that I have been struggling with for the past seven years—is practically writing itself.