I expected to get a ton of writing done at Christmas last year. NOTHING got done!
Writer’s slump? Maybe.
Don’t you HATE it when the words aren’t flowing, or you can’t get motivated to write? Or other writing related hurdles?
The thing is, it passes.
Think about how difficult it was to share your work with another person the first time. Hopefully they were nice no matter how good or bad it was. Whether it was shared on Facebook, with friends, a spouse, a critique group, SHARING was a mountain BEFORE you did it – and now we look back and see it wasn’t such a big deal.
Somehow, we got through it.
Lots of hurdles are that way. You just knew about some of them, like publishing or getting reviews. Maybe you had an idea of what writer’s block was, but it hadn’t ever happened, or you never had to push through a case of lack of motivation all by yourself.
Those are all hurdles, too, and they seem HUGE when you are in them.
There are ways over your WRITER HURDLE just like any other kind of hurdle. Here are a few suggestions.
- Down in the dumps? Help somebody else. Volunteer at a soup kitchen or help another author with their problem. Misery loves company but in this case your input might help them get past their hurdle. It feels good to help. You want to feel good. I feel great every time one of you says that I helped you, or thanks me, whether you do it in a comment here or in a private message (and I get a LOT of those). They all feel great! (And don’t worry, I’ll be asking every one of you to buy a book pretty soon to show how much I really helped you.)
Remember, when you help a writer friend and they say “no” to your suggestion, that’s a good sign. They instinctively have a better one percolating. Or they’re an asshole. Hold back the desire to stab them. “No” is good and so is “yes.” Talking about it with a sympathetic ear that belongs to a writer makes a big difference. Normal people don’t understand. Find that ear. Talk to it. (Did you just get a flash of a big ear sitting on a table at a coffee shop and you were talking to it, with no person attached? I did. Weird.)
- Writer’s block? Do a flash fiction challenge. Muscles atrophy and so does your sharpness as a writer. Don’t let it. You can force yourself to write something that is just for fun and it can restart you engine.
- Stuck on a plot point? Talk, or think up an alternate ending.
Send in your problem. Maybe we’ll air the options here and when people say “Ooh that’s good!” – WOW, the wind goes right back into your sails.
What else is bothering you? Let me know. There are lots of smart people here. No need to suffer in silence.
Most important, realize: with a few exceptions, you are not a robot. You have emotions or your stories would read like instruction manuals for Legos. This is a different business from a lot of others because it is so personal (more on that in part 2), and that can magnify things, so don’t let it. Learn to develop a thicker skin. But until then, ASK FOR THAT HELP.
Everybody here wants to help you.
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Dan Alatorre is the author of several bestsellers and the hilarious upcoming novel “Poggibonsi: an italian misadventure.” Click HERE to check out his other works.