I have decided to start a weekly blog post here on my editing blog called Inspirational Mondays specifically to inspire writers because, after all, editors need writers to keep writing. Otherwise, what would we have to edit? I chose Mondays in particular because it seems we could all use a little inspirational pick-me-up on Monday.
Amongst my editing work and my own fiction writing projects, I’m also currently writing an article. I’m in the process of gathering tips for helping the absentminded writer stay focused and organized, and I’ll be sharing a tip along with a relevant quote each week.
This week’s Inspirational Mondays tip: Just Keep Writing!
Write what makes your heart sing. Write your passion. And ultimately, find your own success in that. – Elena Aitken from Wordbitches
Sometimes it feels like writers get blocked, leading people to use the misnomer “writer’s block.” The truth is that only those who aren’t passionate about writing get blocked. There are those who would contest that, I’m sure, but a true writer doesn’t stop writing just because the plot gets too complicated or the characters are underdeveloped or life gets hard. A true writer can’t keep the words from flowing out of them in one form or another.
I can vouch for that from my own experience. There are times that I don’t feel like writing for my series or my novel for any number of reasons, but that doesn’t mean that I stop writing completely. Sometimes I write poetry, sometimes I journal, sometimes I write scenes out of order (which bothers my OCD but helps prevent me from getting blocked), sometimes I write letters that I don’t send, sometimes I write back and forth with encouraging friends. Sometimes I just let my characters run wild without trying to record what is happening until I feel moved to start writing it down again.
Those are only a few of the ways that I “just keep writing” so the dreaded writer’s block doesn’t silence me. And that’s my advice to other block-suffering writers as well: find some way or something to write and just keep writing. If you stop, it’s hard to start back, and the longer you go without writing, the harder it is to start writing again. So avoid the block and write something else. Instead of agonizing over a scene/plot device/character that isn’t working right then, just let it sit for a while and write something else until you can look at it with fresh eyes later. Write a different part of the story, or rewrite another scene.
Another thing you can try is to read. Read a book to get your creative mind going, or reread your own work, older and current writing. Sometimes rereading what you have already written will stir you to continue where you left off. Even if it doesn’t inspire new writing, it may still reveal to you areas that need revisions and/or editing, which may be as beneficial to preventing writer’s block as writing new material.
And if all else fails, call in reinforcements. Get trusted friends, colleagues, or professional editors to read over your work and give you their honest opinions. This could lead to the discovery of issues in your writing contributing to your “block” that you could not see yourself, which could then pave the way for improvement and solutions and inspired writing once again. Editing is an essential part of the writing process, so incorporating it into your anti-block routine can only bring good things.
The bottom line: don’t let your creative voice go silent. Just keep writing and power through the “writer’s block.”