Saturday, October 24, 2009

Five Ways to Murder Writer's Block

By Anne Rainey


There isn’t a writer out there who can truly claim that they’ve never suffer from the dreaded writer’s block. We all have moments where the words just won’t come. The stress in our life, the deadline that’s looming, winter blues. Whatever the reason, we freeze up when we look at that blank document. Terror fills us. Suddenly, horrible thoughts start to bombard our bodies and minds. I’m a hack. I should hang up my pen. I can’t write my way out of a paper bag.

I recently suffered from this and I know I’ll suffer again sometime in the future. It’s the life of a writer. We truly are a bunch of sadomasochists, torturing ourselves over and over. The alternative is to, well, not write. I don’t’ know about you, but that’s no alternative. So, I’ve come up with some tips to drag myself out of that rut. No, these aren’t foolproof and there isn’t a guarantee on the box. But, I have found them to be effective from time to time.

1. An hour a day. If you work a full time job and the only time you have to write is at lunch or when the kids go to bed, then this is harder for you. Still, make yourself sit down and write. If the WIP isn’t working out—and it probably isn’t since we’re talking about writer’s block, lol—then switch to another project. Browse your mind and work up a new idea for a future book. Churn out some poetry. Write in your journal. Whatever, the key is to keep the creative juices flowing. 500 words or so, set a minimum for yourself. For some, that’s all it takes to break through that wall and get that WIP completed.

2. Read a good book. I do this all the time and I swear it helps keep me motivated. Whenever I’m feeling tied in knots, my mind is just a blank slate and there’s no chalk to be found, I pick up a book by one of my favorite authors and step away from the computer. I give myself over to their world for a little while. Even if it’s just for a few hours it refreshes me and I feel like I can dive into the annoying WIP again.

3. Exercise. When I’m on the treadmill or elliptical my mind tends to stray to the story I’m currently working on. There’s something about working up a sweat that helps clear my mind. It doesn’t always work, but quite often I’ll find myself mentally working on that next scene, the one that wouldn’t come before. Plus, you’ve burned off some of that damn chocolate. LOL

4. Grab a buddy. The other day I was sitting at the computer and trying to think of how I wanted the scene to go in the story I’m currently in the middle of writing. The problem? I kept waffling back and forth between two ideas. I wasn’t sure which to go with, and it was frustrating me because I NEED THIS STORY DONE YESTERDAY! Then a writer friend sent me a few chapters of the story he’s working on, seeking my opinion, and ta-da! Instant clarity! I don’t know why this works exactly. The competition maybe? Or is it simply that connection? Writers collaborating, chatting over ideas and getting the wheels turning. It’s sort of like exercising with a friend, I think. While you might slack off through the hard part if you were alone, having that friend there makes you want to ‘keep up’ as it were.

5. Take a walk down memory lane. One of the things that happens whenever I get blocked is I start to think really negative things about my own work. I start wondering why I ever got published to start with. Who do I think I am? Me, a writer? Yeah right! To keep those horrible thoughts from destroying my muse entirely, I go to my ‘good feedback’ folder. This is where I keep all the acceptance letters, good reviews, positive reader feedback, etc. I carefully sift through those various items and build my self-esteem back up, one small brick at a time. Soon, the wall is sturdy again and I can open that document and make another attempt at creating.

So, what’s your MO for murdering writer’s block? Do you have something specific that works for you? A method that helps keep you motivated? Tell the rest of us! Please!

Also, if you leave me a comment you’re entered to win a copy of my new ebook, Reckless Exposure, a m/f/m erotic romance.


Where in time is Trey? This month, the time-strider finds himself in contemporary Manhattan. His targets are fashion photographer Rand Miller and model Lucy Flemming.

Innocent, lovely, and trusting, Lucy gives herself to Rand in every way possible. She is more than his model. She is his muse.

But will Rand be more than her lover? Or will the secrets he left buried in his past keep him from loving Lucy as she deserves to be loved?

When Rand realizes Lucy must move out of not only his apartment but also his life, he decides to give her the going away party of a lifetime. The list of party goodies includes massage oil, margaritas, and their mysterious neighbor Trey.

But Trey has a mission to fulfill. This cannot be Lucy and Rand's last night together. Trey must turn this ending into a new beginning. For all of them.

Buy link: http://www.eredsage.com/product.php?productid=145

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Anne Rainey grew up in a small town in central Ohio the only girl with three rowdy, older brothers. When she wasn’t playing tackle football with them she could be found tucked away in her mother’s book room getting lost in mysterious worlds created by authors such as Martha Grimes and Andrew M. Greeley. She’s had a variety of odd jobs including Chiropractic Assistant, Frame Stylist, Restaurant Hostess, and Nail Technician. Anne now lives with her fabulous husband, two gorgeous teenage daughters, two ornery dogs and three snooty cats. When she’s not dressing, feeding, cleaning or spending time with them, she can be found at the computer writing stories hot enough to make your toes curl! Visit her at: www.annerainey.com

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26 comments:

  1. Hi Anne -welcome to our little blog! These are all good suggestions. I think its kind of fascinating how much doubt writers and other artists have under the surface. We always have to fight against it.

    Garce

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  2. Thanks for guest blogging today, Anne. We appreciate your thoughts and insight!

    (Please don't include me in the book give-away. I know your books are awesome, but I invited you here. LOL)

    Have a great weekend!

    Jenna

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  3. WHO WHEWWWWWWWWWWWWWW ANNE!

    THAT COVERS IS SMOKINGG! CANI GET A LICK?

    HOTCHA

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  4. DANG FORGET LOG IN!

    HOTCHA
    linda_bass@sbcglobal.net

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  5. Garce--Thanks for the welcome! Yes, that self doubt never goes away! Ugh!

    Jenna--Thanks for the invite, lady! :)

    Linda--Yeah, the abs on that hottie is definitely lickable, hehe!

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  6. All Hell Anne!!
    That is one smoking hot cover!!!


    kaylajohnson3969@sbcglobal.net

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  7. Hi Anne,

    I have done that myself, hit a block with a WIP and started another one.
    I worried at first I was going to end up with a bunch of unfinished stories, but I found that I did go back to them, and finish them eventually. I still have stuff that are WIPs but I don't worry anymore, I think that's part of being a writer, having a couple irons in the fire at a time.
    I also love to read, I find it inspires me too, and can help trigger me to write and finish my own work.

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  8. First, I love the cover - it would make me buy the book without even reading the blurb.

    When I get writers block I tend to turn my attention to a new project - usually making outlines of future books. Of course, that's beginning to backfire on me now because I have outlines of 5 future books and I'm beginning to panic thinking I'm not going to live long enough to write them all.

    The most distracting thing I did that took care of my block was to go away for the weekend. I just packed a bag, put hubby in the car and checked into a swank hotel for the weekend. It was great, and by Monday I was back writing away with all sorts of new, romantic ideas that my hubby instilled in me over the weekend.

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  9. Thanks, Kayla! The fabulous Rae Monet designed! :)

    Chloe--I always have a few stories going in the background. I have a deadline so I HAVE to work on the main story, but in my free time I'm sneaking into those other documents. LOL

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  10. Missy--I LOVE your weekend getaway idea. Man, I'd love to do that! Great tip!

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  11. Why is it that you authors get the smokin hot guys on the covers? I swear they aren't even real men they have to grown them on a farm somewhere and never allow them to be seen outside of a cover. *sigh* I will never go to touch something like that.

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  12. Those are all good suggestions and I don't really have a great method for stopping writers block except for taking a break from it or calling and talking to my mom. These usually work for me.
    lexeetoste at sbcglobal.net

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  13. Hi Anne,
    I am not a writer, but I could see how each of these attempts at regaining your muse could work. I know that when I am trying to solve a problem or become inspired for a new project it is often when I am not even trying to think about it. For some reason for me it is always as I try to go to sleep...which is why I always keep a pen and pad of paper at my bedside. Another time I seem to get inspired is in the shower (no pun intended at all). I don't know what it is....maybe it's the times that I am relaxed the most and let my mind wander.

    Whatever your doing seems to be working well for you!

    cldivineATyahooDOTcom

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  14. Hey Anne,

    These are great suggestion. When I was working on my dissertation, I would clean the house to clear my mind and focused on an outline in my head what I wanted my dissertation to cover next and went from their. I had a ritual that after every chapter, I would clean or get on my treadmill, or both.

    Thanks for the contest and suggestions.

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  15. Hello, Anne,

    Thanks for joining us at the Grip. I really liked your "memory lane" suggestion. Fear is what makes writer's block so awful, the fear that we're just no damn good. Rereading your positive reviews and fan mail is a fabulous way to combat that fear. (And when your inner critic starts to tell you, "Yeah, you used to be good, but you've lost it, girl--just tell him to shut up!)

    All the best,
    Lisabet

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  16. I've only dabbled at writing so far, but I think it would be helpful to focus on one certain thing, a conversation or issue that is niggling you and then maybe it will get the story moving again.

    Deidre

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  17. I feel like I'm stalking you! LOL
    Great article for writers!! And I agree with everyone here....fantastic cover!! Mmmmmm!

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  18. Anne, that cover is yummy! I think this is the only book of yours that I don't have.

    rwolf(at)evansville(dot)net

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  19. Anne, thanks for the ideas. I'm willing to try them all to get the creative juices flowing again!!!

    Terri

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  20. As always, I'm late for the party. I enjoyed reading the post though.

    Unfortunately, I'm not creative enough to be a writer but I'm a not a bad reader and supporter!

    Thanks,
    Tracey D

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  21. I dunno if I ever have true Writer's Block. But when I find myself unable to produce it's usually because I've allowed myself to become distracted - like the Irish Setter who can be distracted by something shiny! Wheee! - and I find I've allowed myself to be drawn to time-wasting nonsense. TV, Music, food!

    So I open a book and start to read. Usually one of the old favorites helps. They focus me on a tale and allow me to move away from my own writing, which takes any pressure off. Also, using the same musical pieces that have inspired me in the past, help me in the present, too.

    Turn off the TV, the radio, and other distractions, let your mind wander, and let that story niggle your mind again.

    And, yes, starting a new piece works, too. ;)

    Works for me.

    :)

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  22. Thanks for all the great tips! Now I have a few new things to try when writer's block ocmes knocking again!

    As for the winner: Tracey D.

    Contact me at: annerainey11@gmail.com and I'll get your ebook to you!

    Thank you all for commenting. Happy Reading! :)

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  23. During exercise, as you say, many fresh ideas come to mind!

    Secretia

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  24. Great Cover! I'm not a writer but your ideas would work for those of us who are procrastinators, too.

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  25. Hi Anne,

    Sorry I'm so late to the party. Fantastic blog and some truly worthwhile advice for anyone suffering from the dreaded block.

    Best,

    Ash

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  26. Thanks for coming over, Scifi and Ashley! Better late than never, after all! :)

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