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7 Ways to Battle Writer’s Block
I've been writing for a long time. I won the Journalism award in high school. I've written 20 or so top-selling eBooks online. I've written a lot.
And one thing is for certain -- writer's block is a reality. Even for someone who writes full-time for a living, which cranks out a new eBook every month...sometimes the words just don't come.
Yes, sometimes the ideas flow freely. But, other times, no matter how hard you concentrate, there's nothing. Bringing life and vibrancy to writing can be a challenge at times, which is perfectly normal. This is called Writer’s Block and something to be expected as you progress in writing eBooks. However, there are ways to motivate and stimulate the mind.
And that's what we are going to talk about first.
Rest Your Mind
Being too tired or stressed is one way of setting yourself up to be faced with Writer’s Block. It's often easy to over-extend.
Just as the body becomes exhausted after a hard exercise, the mind also struggles with fatigue.
What happens when you run a marathon? Your body says, “Okay, I need to lie down and get some rest.” The mind is the same way. It too can become overloaded and when that happens, concentration is almost impossible. If you get to a point where nothing is coming to your mind and you've tried every possible trick to get things going and yet nothing – rest.
Rest your mind.
Allow your mind time to regenerate and rebuild, allow time for refreshment and renewal.
In today's society, people are busier than ever. (I know I am!!!) There are kids to get ready for school, dinners to make, baseball games to coach and business meetings to attend. Sometimes getting past Writer’s Block is simply a matter of slowing down and taking several days to enjoy life and give your mind a break.
Allow your mind some time to recoup and soon you will be right back to writing.
A tired mind is an unproductive mind.
Get More Information.
It's common for writers to get to a point where they think "what now?" You've just written everything you know about a particular subject and it still seems like something is missing. There aren't enough pages. The chapters don't fit together well. Something isn't explained quite the way it should be.
Don't allow the lack of information to stop you from digging in and creating an outstanding eBook. The Internet is an open highway of information just waiting to be researched. Start out with some of the top search engines such as Google, Yahoo, or Bing and in the search field, type in a half dozen or so different keywords and key phrases relating to your subject.
For example: If you are writing an eBook on weight loss, you might search for...
weight loss articles
health and fitness
weight loss tips
Your search will result in tons of information for you to start with. You'll find content sites, free eBooks, articles, reports, eCourses, message boards -- just a lot of free information you can study to find new ideas.
Spend a few hours (or even a few days) gathering ideas by reading through the information available all over the web. One huge part of successful writing is strong research abilities...
...and just flat out investing your time in gathering ideas.
You'll find that as you research, a light bulb will go off in your head. When it does, write it down. Gather a dozen or so ideas and then plug them into your own writing.
Let me make one thing clear: Research involves looking for IDEAS, not stealing someone else's content. NEVER copy someone else's materials without their permission. You are looking for IDEAS that you can write about, not content that you can take.
It's always good to get a fresh perspective and see things from other folks' viewpoints.
Believe in your Abilities.
No matter what your area of expertise, it's important to believe in yourself. At one time or another, every writer needs to polish and improve his or her skills, which is to be expected. However, it's critical that you know in your heart you can write.
There are times when I get frustrated with writing and I think "I'm getting nowhere". What do I do? I remind myself that I am a bestselling author and adored by many readers worldwide. I don't say it to brag, I say it to remind myself that I am a professional, and I know what I am doing. And it helps to bring my confidence back.
Maybe you have never written a best-selling book or eBook. Maybe you don't have a worldwide audience. Do you think I always had that? Heck no! When I wrote my first eBook, no one had any clue who I was.
But, that didn't stop me. Why not? Because I believed in myself and my abilities. Writing is mental in many ways, including CONFIDENCE. You gotta believe that you have something worthwhile to share and that you have the skills to share it.
There will be times during your writing career when your plate is full and sometimes overflowing. You will find yourself feeling completely stressed and second guessing your abilities. When this happens, and it will, take a deep breath and remind yourself that you are a good writer, skilled and capable.
Feeling a bit overwhelmed is always a part of any artist's mind. Providing your readers with quality work is in the forefront of the mind, as it should be. Remember that you can always go back and clean up your materials once you get a draft completed.
In the end, it will all come together beautifully. Give yourself a pat on the back occasionally. There's nothing wrong with reading your work and thinking "Darn, that's good stuff!"
Get Contribution From Others.
There are many folks who have already written materials that they would be willing to contribute to your eBook. For example: A writer might have published a newsletter article that they would allow you to compile into your eBook material (they receive a FREE link to their website in exchange inside the eBook).
Not only does it give you MORE material for your eBook, but it also helps you overcome writer's block because it gives you something more to write about. In other words, you make additional comments about the article itself -- either as notes throughout the article, or before and after the article.
For example: If you are writing an eBook about buying and selling stuff on eBay.com and you find an article entitled "7 Places To Find Hidden Treasures To Sell On Online Auctions" then you approach the writer to see if they will allow you to include it in your eBook. And then you either (a) Expand upon each of the "7 places" by adding more comments, or (b) You share some additional thoughts before or after the article. (I.E. "3 more great places to find hidden treasures are..." OR "You can use search engines to find online sources for each of these 7 places by..."
See how that works? Someone else contributes part of your content which spawns new ideas for you to write about.
Allowing your mind to “daydream” or “meditate” is a wonderful, relaxing way to help clear out old thoughts and replace them with new ones. By looking off into the distance or sitting quietly with your eyes closed, your mind will soon start bringing wonderful thoughts or favorite memories to light.
For a writer, it's important to have some “down time.” Allow your mind to wander, to dream, to fantasize. Daydreaming or meditation provides a rebuilding and regenerating process needed for every writer.
Closely related to this is what is referred to as "stream of consciousness." For a writer, it's an important exercise in generating new ideas for writing content. The idea is to think about something related to your eBook and then the first thing that pops into your mind, you write it down. As you think about whatever you wrote down, the first thing that pops into your mind from there, you write it down. And you repeat the process.
Soon, you can easily generate a dozen new ideas by just letting your mind wander.
Let's suppose I'm writing an eBook on how to get the most out of your golf game. Each time I think of a new phrase or word, I'll write it down. Let's brainstorm...
Golf Bad weather (it's raining right now) Wish I was in Florida (it's not raining there) Disney (It's in Orlando)
My little boy Michael (we took him to Disney last year) Learning to play (Jacob actually has his own sticks!)My Mustang (We have a beautiful picture of Michael in front of my Mustang)Alex (When I think of my car, I think of my friend Alex who has a Porsche)Golf Pro (Alex *almost* turned pro as a golfer when he left school)PGA events (I'd love to go see a tournament with all the big stars!)Tiger Woods (Stars don't get any bigger than that!)
I could keep going on and on, but I just want to illustrate a point and show you what I've already gathered just from this brainstorming session through "stream of consciousness."
Want to get the most of your golf game? Here's how...
1. Make alternate plans. Sometimes weather conditions don't allow you to play golf at your own course. Don't let that get you down! Instead, travel an hour or two away to a neighboring course where weather conditions are right for golf (It isn’t raining there!) In addition to having an enjoyable time at a different course, it can actually make you a better golfer, simply because there are new challenges. You may face bunkers that you don't have at your course. The greens may be incredibly fast. The Par 4's may seem like Par 5's because of their distance. It can actually better equip you as a golfer by facing new challenges designed for different degree of skills.
2. Take a Vacation. There are many special "golf vacation packages" available throughout the country. So, go play them! Golf is available all year round in Florida, for example -- so, even in the winter, you can play. That's when most golfers get "rusty" because they take a couple of months off. And it takes a while to get back into the "routine." So, plan a winter get away and stay on track.
3. Involve your family. I love to play golf with my spouse and my little boy is learning how to play. What better way to better your own game, than by teaching others and watching others. Blah blah blah blah blah. I would go on to explain some things about using golf as a way to strengthen family bonds, etc.
4. Ask Folks For Advice. I would talk about how my buddy Alex is very knowledgeable about the mechanics of golf and that I ask him for help with my game and how you should do the same by finding folks at your course that you can become friends with who can give you pointers.
5. Attend Events. I would talk about going to PGA (or amateur) events to WATCH professionals play and learn from them.
6. Read and Apply. I would talk about how Tiger Woods has a book out entitled "How I Play Golf" and that reading instructional books and watching instructional videos from pros are great ways to improve your own game. I'd talk about how many of these are available for free viewing at the library.
Do you see how I generated six new ideas in a very short amount of time just by letting my mind wander? Stream of consciousness thinking can really be helpful in coming up with more ideas for writing content. I could easily have kept going with the thought process and probably generated 25 more ideas to write about.
Do it. Sit down and write down the first thing that pops into your mind after writing down each new word or phrase. After about ten minutes, look back over your list and see what kinds of ideas start popping into your mind.
A proven way to succeed in writing when ideas don't come easily is to use quotations. Finding famous quotes from United States Presidents, Diplomats, Actors, Scientists, Inventors and the like, always makes for good reading and inspiration.
For example, American poet Ralph Waldo Emerson once stated “Next to the originator of a good sentence is the first quoter of it. Many will read the book before one thinks of quoting a passage. As soon as he has done this, that line will be quoted east and west.”
Did you also notice that I actually used a quote in this tip as part of the content.
I'll let you ponder on that one for a bit.
Best advice I can give you. Don't quit. Don't give up. Don't back down. Don't scrap the idea. Don't walk away. Don't stop. Don't forget about it.
Believe in yourself. Take baby steps if you must, but get the job done. Don't listen to negative people. Stay focused and get the job done.
You are a writer -- or you wouldn't be interested enough to read this far.
Don't sell yourself short.
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The Writermore Staff