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I am a writer. I create innovative creative and business writing courses. I inspire others to tell their stories. My company's name is Writers Write. My email address is amanda@writerswrite.co.za

Breaking the Blues - “ how to write even when you don'€™t feel like it →

Some days you feel like you can’t write another word. You feel as flat and useless as road kill. Your writing is as dull as toothache and just as painful to endure. No amount of coffee and staring out the window is helping to summon the muse. You consider becoming a religious recluse or marrying for money. This is not a good state of mind, especially if you have a looming deadline.

Now I’m not going to go all self-help/Dr Phil in this blog, because you’d probably want to bludgeon me to death. I’m just going to say what has worked for me in the past. Sometimes, it is a cure to those mean writing blues. Sometimes, the muse will show up, even if she is wearing her tracksuit and hasn’t combed her hair.

  1. Tidy up your working space. Take a few minutes to sharpen pencils, sort out your files, or spray some lemon furniture polish around. If you’re not too suicidal or broke, spring for some flowers and a vase.
  2. Read the newspaper. Try to get away from your computer or TV and read a printed newspaper. See if you can find a story that grabs your imagination, cut it out and keep it. It doesn’t have to be related to what you’re writing, just something that stands out as compelling, funny or sad.
  3. Pets are a great way to cheer you up. Taking a walk or playing fetch with the dog will get you out the house and into the fresh air.
  4. Take care of the basics. Make sure you’re eating decently, having enough water and resting well. When your creativity has the flu, you need to pamper it the way you would a sick child.
  5. Just put words on a page. This may sound counter-intuitive, but just start writing even if the worst junk in the world, just to feel dis-empowered. You can throw the page away afterwards if you like.

Writing is not adding up numbers or hanging curtains or programming your PVR. There is a certain mystery to the creative process. We can sometimes find a way to short hand the process or trick ourselves into writing—but we must also not be too hard on ourselves if it doesn’t work. Just trust that it will come back to you.

 by Anthony Ehlers for Writers Write

— 7 months ago with 811 notes
#Anthony Ehlers  #Writing Advice  #Writers Write  #Writer's Block  #Writing Tips 
10 Ways To Get Out Of Writer's Rut →

I don’t believe in Writer’s Block. I believe writers simply get stuck when they’re writing. There are many reasons why this happens. At Writers Write, we always encourage writers to plot their book before they start writing. You need to know where you’re going before you begin.

I have also interviewed more than 100 authors. Most of these writers have a plan, they have a writing routing, they are open to learning, and they know how their book is going to end. They don’t believe in waiting for the muse. They believe in hard work.

These are the most common reasons why writers stop writing.

10 things writers struggle with when writing a book

  1. They avoid writing uncomfortable or difficult scenes.
  2. They can’t get beyond the synopsis.
  3. They can’t seem to finish anything.
  4. They don’t know how to start the book, the next scene, the next chapter.
  5. They enrol for new courses but they take the same old ideas with them.
  6. They haven’t written a synopsis.
  7. They keep on repeating what they’ve already written.
  8. They talk about writing but never start.
  9. They write their characters into corners. 
  10. They write, edit, rewrite, and edit the same scene instead of moving on.

Once we identify these problems, I am able to help my students.

Here are 10 simple ways to solve these problems

  1. Change the sex of your protagonist or antagonist.
  2. Change viewpoints if you’re stuck. Write it from another character’s perspective. Try writing in a different viewpoint. Write in first person if you always write in third person.
  3. Commit to the writing life. Writers write.
  4. Enrol in a writing class. Leave your old, tired ideas at home. 
  5. Make to do lists for your character. Or send your character shopping for a character he hates.
  6. Play the what if? game for your character. Rewind and get the story back to a point where your character can move on with the action.
  7. Promise yourself a meaningful reward when you finish.
  8. Stop editing. Carry on writing. You can fix the draft later. You’re looking at a minimum of eight rewrites anyway - plenty of time for editing.
  9. Use a timer for the scenes you find difficult to write. Just do it.
  10. Write a synopsis. Set up a daily writing routine. Set aside a minimum amount of time or commit to writing a number of words.

by Amanda Patterson

— 11 months ago with 434 notes
#10 Ways To Get Out Of Writer's Rut  #Writing Advice  #Writers Write  #writer's block  #Amanda Patterson 
Writing Prozac€” - Getting over your writer'€™s depression →

How to beat those mid-novel blues

The other day, I spoke to a former student on the phone. “My Writers Write box stares at me from the shelf,” she said. “I haven’t touched it in weeks.” She has deadlines at work, a daughter writing her final Matric exams. Another friend, who writes ebullient, fun romances, emailed me this week. “I have not written a word in nine months,” she confessed despondently. “I need to see you.” A friend, who lives in London, Skyped me. He is busy with exams and hasn’t touched his fantasy novel in ages—and since his last one was rejected, well, the motivation just isn’t there. What can he do?

I’ll be honest. I don’t always know what to say when others writers admit to being stuck, demotivated, frustrated, overwhelmed. My advice sounds trite, forced—placebos for people who need Prozac. I can understand their dilemma. Every writer goes through these down patches, where we can’t write, won’t write or whatever we write turns out dry, fragmented, and uninteresting.

Trust yourself

For me, the comfort comes from knowing that I’ve been in those dark valleys before, sat dry-mouthed in front a blank page, taken a nap when I should’ve been finishing a chapter and that it passes. Rosemont Lehmann, inA Sea-Grape Tree, writes: “Trust your unhappiness like you trust your happiness.” This is true. You will learn from both. When I read this novel, I was going through a bad summer, a lonely time. I was looking after a film producer’s house while she was away in Europe, and I took her words to heart. I sat at the pool every morning and wrote one story after another. 
At night, her words would come back to me. I realised that when we let go of our shame about our unhappiness, guilt, laziness, past—we don’t stay trapped. We forgive ourselves. We move on.

Look for lifelines

The good news is that the dead period will pass. It takes some positive effort, to be sure. A trip to a second hand book store, a new notebook, a reading hour before bed: these are little Writing Prozac pills for the weary and depressed writer. Look for the lifeline—a ten-minute free writing session, asking a friend for help, going back to writing group—and hold on to it.
A while ago, I read a book that said you can come to writing at any stage of life and you don’t have to feel guilty for it. You may be starting a new business, raising a family, having an affair or travelling. When you come back to writing, you will still possess the talent you always had. The writing gods don’t punish you.

Good news

This week, a friend published her second romance novel with a major publisher. I met with a writer who has just completed the manuscript of his first novel at the age of 60. A delegate from a recent Short Cuts short story workshop emailed me his story to read. These writers broke through the ennui and were having fun as writers again. The best way to find yourself as a writer again is simple: start writing. 

Trust yourself. It’s your story. No one else is going to tell it for you.

By Anthony Ehlers for Writers Write

— 11 months ago with 133 notes
#Writing Prozac—Getting over your writer’s depression  #Writer's Block  #Writers Write  #Anthony Ehlers  #Writing Advice 
Writer’s Block and the Fine Art of Procrastination
In Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s novel, The Angel’s Game, his character, David, a writer by trade with a new assistant, Isabella, said the following: 
'One of the first expedients of the professional writer that Isabella had learned from me was the art of procrastination. Every veteran in the trade knows that any activity, from sharpening a pencil to cataloguing daydreams had precedence over sitting down at one’s desk and squeezing one’s brain.'
Of all my writing skills I think Procrastination is by far the most developed. I truly excel at the art.
This week I did the following:1) I re-arranged my study. Again.2) Scrubbed the stove, with a toothbrush.3) Meticulously blow-waved my hair before picking the kids up from school. 4) Sorted and repacked their puzzles. 5) Googled. You can call this research.6) Made tea. This trick is two-fold. It guarantees a bathroom break.7) Stared at my character boards.8) Dusted my keyboard. With an ear bud.9) Paged through old magazines. This can also pass for research.10) Observed rabbits. I have several in my garden. This could also be research. Not that I am planning a rabbit book, but who knows.
Or of course, you can write an article about procrastination and that seems to be working because at least I am writing again. No more bunnies. No more Google. (I unplug my Wi-Fi if it gets very bad.) No more tea. 
Stephen King says never stop writing, not even for a bathroom break. I have never tried this one in particular. Nora Roberts says find someone to kill (a character, she means a character) and Ray Bradbury says you only fail if you stop. 
So I guess we’ll keep writing then, but feel free to leave your favourite procrastination tip in the comment section below. I am always looking for new ideas.
by Mia Botha. Mia facilitates for Writers Write. She is also a novelist, a ghost writer, and the winner of the Mills & Boon Voice of Africa Competition. When she isn’t procrastinating about writing, she is a mother of two children and the wife of a very lucky man. Follow Mia on Pinterest and Facebook and Tumblr and Twitter

Writer’s Block and the Fine Art of Procrastination

In Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s novel, The Angel’s Game, his character, David, a writer by trade with a new assistant, Isabella, said the following: 

'One of the first expedients of the professional writer that Isabella had learned from me was the art of procrastination. Every veteran in the trade knows that any activity, from sharpening a pencil to cataloguing daydreams had precedence over sitting down at one’s desk and squeezing one’s brain.'

Of all my writing skills I think Procrastination is by far the most developed. I truly excel at the art.

This week I did the following:
1) I re-arranged my study. Again.
2) Scrubbed the stove, with a toothbrush.
3) Meticulously blow-waved my hair before picking the kids up from school. 
4) Sorted and repacked their puzzles. 
5) Googled. You can call this research.
6) Made tea. This trick is two-fold. It guarantees a bathroom break.
7) Stared at my character boards.
8) Dusted my keyboard. With an ear bud.
9) Paged through old magazines. This can also pass for research.
10) Observed rabbits. I have several in my garden. This could also be research. Not that I am planning a rabbit book, but who knows.

Or of course, you can write an article about procrastination and that seems to be working because at least I am writing again. No more bunnies. No more Google. (I unplug my Wi-Fi if it gets very bad.) No more tea. 

Stephen King says never stop writing, not even for a bathroom break. I have never tried this one in particular. Nora Roberts says find someone to kill (a character, she means a character) and Ray Bradbury says you only fail if you stop.

So I guess we’ll keep writing then, but feel free to leave your favourite procrastination tip in the comment section below. I am always looking for new ideas.

by Mia Botha. Mia facilitates for Writers Write. She is also a novelist, a ghost writer, and the winner of the Mills & Boon Voice of Africa Competition. When she isn’t procrastinating about writing, she is a mother of two children and the wife of a very lucky man. Follow Mia on Pinterest and Facebook and Tumblr and Twitter

— 1 year ago with 86 notes
#Writers Write  #Writer's Block  #Procrastination  #Mia Botha  #Writing Humour  #Lit 

Have you ever felt as if you just can’t write?

Have a look at this infographic filled with helpful tips to get you back on track.

Source for Image

(Source: writerswrite.co.za)

— 1 year ago with 25666 notes
#Writers Write  #Writer's Block  #Writing Tips  #Writing Advice  #Lit