Tag Info

Hot answers tagged

31

Close the intro. Promise yourself that you will write it last. Start a blank Scrivener page. Start writing down everything that comes into your head about the topic. Follow your thoughts wherever they lead, but make each thought a new line. Don't organize; just write. When you run out of steam, go back to the top of the list, look at each thought, and ...


18

The key point with writing is that writing should be a habit. I would go so far as to say that what you write (initially) is probably not as important as the fact that you write. Many authors have confessed to sometimes sitting down and just writing "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog" and other inane phrases over and over again. Why? Because ...


15

Turn off that censor. Have a drink or two. You have to come to terms with the fact that you will "write shitty first drafts," as Anne Lamott says in the writing/life guide I would highly, highly recommend: Bird by Bird. It helped myself and many others get over fears like you're having right now. If you are stuck in the middle of a novel, take a look at ...


11

I wrote four such books. My first one was 750 pages. The others ranged from 250-400 pages each. My technique was to budget a particular number of pages or a particular amount of time each day to write. For myself, I found that if I wrote more than about 4 pages per day (6 on a good day, it varied), I would quickly get burned out. That's 2000-3000 words. ...


10

You have two issues: writing, and what to write. Put aside the "what" for a second. Go get a timer. Set it for ten minutes. Press start. Start writing. It doesn't matter what you write. You can type the alphabet, song lyrics, Schoolhouse Rock, stream of consciousness, what you had for dinner last night, it doesn't matter. Don't edit, don't fix typos, don't ...


7

I know Writing Excuses has a writing prompt at end of each weekly show. Usually they are related to the topic of the show as well.


7

There are a lot of different ways you can overcome a lack of motivation, here are a few that I've come up with. Write somewhere outside of your usual places. This can be a coffee shop or a home office, but it has to be the sort of place you don't do other things at. The idea is to take you out of the familiar places where you can fall back into the usual ...


7

In the initial stages I think you have to free yourself from the notion that you are meant to be producing anything that will resemble your finished book. As you are writing a non-fiction volume you will, of necessity, exist in an eco system of non-fiction works which surround the topic of your work. At this stage it is not inappropriate to re-read and ...


6

You already turned the table around by writing about your writer's block. Continue.


6

You are trying to do too much at once. You're flailing around in a cloud. The easiest way for me to get out of the cloud is to start asking and answering hard, definable questions, and completing hard, definable tasks. Create and define a character. Decide what you want the character to do. Give the character a reason or reasons for doing it. Start the ...


6

The problem I see with writing (and drawing) is that people believe that they should be able to do it without any training. We all learn to write in school, we all can compose a coherent narrative, for example in a letter to our grandparents or a "what I did during the summer holidays" essay for school, and we all have been drawing since we were able to hold ...


5

I haven't read it myself, but I think this book, The 3 A.M. Epiphany by Brian Kitely, sounds like exactly what you're looking for. It's got very nice reviews - both in terms of score, and the actual description. Here's the first one that sounded like a great match for your question: The exercises also have an additional dimension to them that most don't. ...


5

You just need to shut off the inner critic, and start writing. There are two main approaches: pantsing, and plotting. As I answered in the question linked above, pantsing works for very few people. Plotting is a better approach, for me at least. Write down a rough, one page summary of what you want the book to be, create a few characters, create 30-40 ...


4

If I have other things on my mind, I force myself to write two sentences before getting up from the computer/writing desk/typewriter. At least half the time, two sentences is enough to get me into some sort of rhythm. Also, I do a variation of the 10/2/5 rule (work/write 10 minutes, do something anything else for two, repeat 5 times to total an hour, take ...


4

I find this a lot with projects I work on, and not necessarily just novels. I have this problem when starting software projects, websites, pretty much anything creative. Usually, the problem I have, is that I just don't know where to start, and that is because I don't have a plan. If I sit down and properly think about what I am trying to achieve in the ...


4

This article describes an interesting system for coming up with infinite writing prompts through Wikipedia.


4

I love The Writer's Book of Matches for fiction writing prompts.


4

I've written a dozen of these. Nowadays what works best for me is mind mapping. Similar to Lauren's suggestion, I write down everything about the topic I need to and want to cover in a mind map. (Give MindMeister a try.) Start grouping things into major topics with minor, related topics clustered around them. Keep tweaking, and soon you'll have your ...


4

Not a writing prompt in a traditional sense, but this has worked for me: improv comedy classes. Every time you perform a scene, you're creating a completely new story on the fly. It's a great way to generate ideas. The story grows organically, and you'll get unexpected (i.e. creative) results. It's a fun way to get new ideas for writing.


4

Lauren has some very good advice there, but the one thing I would add would be a timeline. If the stories you already have are tied together in any way, then try to lay them out on a timeline to show the order in which they occur. Even if they are not tied together, as long as they have a common setting, you could still use a timeline to establish an order ...


4

Misery. ETA Allow me to explain my facetiousness. Misery is a Stephen King story about Paul, a writer of a popular series set in Victorian times starring Misery Chastain. Paul finally gets tired of the character and kills her off in what he believes to be the final book of the series. He gets into a car accident in a snowstorm and is rescued by Annie, ...


4

The BBC did a great documentary series a while ago called "In Their Own Words", which consisted of great interview footage with a number of famous British authors, including Huxley, Tolkein, Woolf, W Somerset Maugham, Zadie Smith, and a host of others. Some of the interview footage is available at the BBC Archive. I'm not sure if this is available to non-UK ...


4

I agree with Craig that you should write using the most common words that you are familiar with and feel comfortable using. Remember that you are working on the first draft, and it doesn't have to be perfect. I'll often just type in some running commentary to remind me that I need to come back and fill in more detail. For example, if I am having a difficult ...


4

Try Morning Pages and/or an Artist Date. Relaxation techniques likely won't help because writing is not relaxing, it's being highly alert in an intellectual sense. Medication, in my understanding, should be used to treat an illness, so unless you actually have an illness, they won't help either. Since you are distracted by worrying about other things, try to ...


4

I wouldn't recommend medication, as it seems that the concentration issues are specific to writing and these are usually short term solutions with long-term negative effects/side-effects. But perhaps the following aspects, dealing with organization, structure, and anxiety, might help: Organization I'd recommend Silvia's "How to Write a Lot" (Silvia, P. J. ...


3

I guess it depends on how the blank page is overwhelming you. If you can't think of anything at all to write, I do have a couple ideas. These are really more ideas to just start running with something so you can get some writing done, sort of as a way to get the gears unstuck. Go to your bookshelf, pick up a book, flip to a random page and pick a random ...


3

I agree with most of the other posts on this topic, but I have a little bit to add: I think the answer will be different depending on whether you're an established, experienced writer having a dry spell, or if you're an aspiring writer who can't get started. If you're a fairly experienced writer: I find it helpful to read back over my old books. I either ...


3

I don't like having pending tasks (I use Outlook for them), so a good way I found to motivate myself (for doing anything actually) is adding tasks to it. Before doing anything else I try to complete these tasks. Adding tasks for writing at least a few paragraph (to start) would be a good way to accomplish it.


3

Type Trigger is rather fun - you get a very short prompt (one to three words) and then write up to three hundred words on that prompt. There's a new prompt every hour. It's an energetic little writing exercise.


3

First of all; Craig had some really good advice in his post! Thank you Craig for these, I must try out the association tree. Anyway, I thought I'd share a tip of mine about how I practice my flow of words. When I feel the urge to write I have set up a journal which I can reach over the internet. I write what ever comes in my mind and I have one and only one ...



Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible