Friday, January 29, 2016

8 Techniques for Fighting Writer's Block

Being a writer, or trying to be one, is really hard. You think authors just whip out a novel like it’s easy peasy? Nope. Lots of sweat and tears and frustrations are involved. Having writer’s block is possibly the worst thing to happen to a writer. Sitting at your desk, staring at the blank screen in front of you, fingers on the keyboard—and nothing. I’ve gone weeks without being able to write anything (even a simple blog post). There’s lots of advice out there for writer’s block, but if you’re anything like me most of it doesn’t help you. These are some techniques I’ve had success with, whether big or small. 

1. Go to a site that posts photos, such as Tumblr, WeHeartIt, StumbleUpon in the photography section, Instagram, etc. Scroll through until you find a picture that catches your interest or inspires you. Now, write a paragraph or even a passage that relates to that picture. Try not to think too much into it and just write whatever comes to mind. If you’re looking for a challenge, stick to the first random picture you find (even if it doesn’t interest you whatsoever). See what you can come up with. You never know!

2. Read a book. Sometimes what we need is a bit of inspiration from others. It helps to read a book and check out that author’s writing style. If you really like it, it will hopefully inspire you to follow their footsteps. If you really hate it, hopefully that will inspire you to write something even better! Either way, reading other people’s work helps you figure out what you do and don’t like, and that’s certainly a good step in doing your own writing. 

3. Describe one of the happiest days of your life (or one of the worst). Not only will this get you writing, but it will probably spark strong emotions in you as you recall how you felt on that day. Sometimes writer’s block comes from simply being bored and uninspired. If you think back to a moment in your life when your emotions were running high (whether in a good or bad way) it can help fuel your writing. A lot of what author’s write stems from their own life experiences, so this can definitely help you get the ball rolling.

4. Try the alphabet character list exercise. Think of a character (could be one you already made up or start from scratch). For each letter of the alphabet, write ONE word that describes them. You don’t even have to go in any particular order (and feel free to skip X, ha). This may not necessarily lead to lots of writing, but it can help you start to build a character and it’s also fun to try and come up with different adjectives. 

5. Find journal prompts online. This is kind of similar to number three because you’ll most likely be writing about your own life. Journal prompts can be useful because it gets you thinking and you don’t even have to be creative about what you’re writing (since the topic has already been decided for you). You may even find that you start writing about something that suddenly inspires you and thus leads to more ideas and writing!

6. Write a letter to someone. You don’t have to send it. The person doesn’t even have to be real. It can even be a letter to yourself! If you look at it as just writing a letter, it may help you get the words out of your head. There’s less pressure this way.

7. Write an alternate ending for a book/movie you didn’t like. The characters and plot are already there, all you have to do is think of how you would have liked it to end. This exercise can help get your creative juices flowing but also provides you with a foundation for your writing. Writing based on someone else’s writing can help when you seem to be stuck on ideas.

8. Just write. Really. I know you may be saying “but I can’t!” Unless your hand is broken, you absolutely can. What you write doesn’t have to be good. It doesn’t even have to make sense. You can just write whatever pops into your head. A lot of the time writer’s block is caused because of fear. You’re scared your work will be crappy or that you haven’t got a single good idea in your head. But look at it this way—if you just keep writing, there’s a good chance that something will turn out brilliant. If you don’t do any writing, chances of writing the next big thing are zero. So go write!

Do you have any writing techniques that have helped you combat writer’s block in the past?

What’s your favorite writing exercise?
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Monday, October 12, 2015

The Name of the Game Has Changed

I've been neglecting this little corner of my universe. Since I've started this blog, a lot of things in my life have changed (and then changed some more). And yet, there's still so much that remains the same. I'm still a lost and confused twenty-something, who seems to have taken a few steps back rather than forward. I'm still trying to figure out what it is that I want to do for the rest of my life (although I do realize I don't have to decide right this second--it's still a tough time). At one point blogging was a huge passion of mine and it sparked so much creativity in me. It was something I thoroughly enjoyed doing and felt that I was getting better and better at it. There was a time when I truly wanted to be a full-time blogger and find a way to make this my full time job. Now, things are different.

One of the reasons I've strayed from the blogosphere is because of how much it's changed in the past year or so. Every other blog post I see is about "how to this" and "how to that" in regards to blogging. It's all about how to make money through blogging. It's rare now to see quality content from authentic bloggers. I am so sick of scrolling through Pinterest or Bloglovin' and all I see are these types of posts, especially from blogs I once enjoyed reading. Then there are instances when I'm reading a post and suddenly I'm smacked in the face with some product, because of course, it's a sponsored post--a good percentage of what I'm seeing out there in the blogosphere now as well. 

Don't get me wrong, I don't criticize those who have chosen to make money out of their passion/hobby, but to me it seems like it's all gotten to be too much. I've even stopped participating in Facebook groups for bloggers because nowadays all that seems to matter is gaining new followers, but there's no interaction. I think I started my blog right at the brink of when this all started to happen and I can't even imagine how seasoned bloggers must be feeling. The internet is always rapidly evolving and blogging is just the new big thing. Who knows how long it will stay that way for?

I don't want to say that I'm giving up on this blog, but my feelings towards it have certainly changed, and I guess I just wanted to put this all out there. I still have dreams of becoming an author, the one thing that's stayed pretty consistent throughout the years. I've also had ideas of starting a new type of blog, but right now that's just a distant thought in the back of my mind. For now, we'll just have to wait and see what the future has in store.

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Sunday, September 20, 2015

Life Lately: Gloomy & Gray

When I say gloomy and gray, I don't mean the weather. The weather here has actually been sunny and still really hot, which only adds to my cranky moods. I've been ready for Fall for weeks. I am beyond over the summer. There's something about Fall that awakens something in me. That whole quote about life starting over in the Fall rings so true to me. And I'm at a point in my life where I need to start over. Hence the whole gloomy and gray thing. Even if it's bright and sunny outside, everything feels gloomy and gray to me. Not to say that I'm depressed, but I'm certainly not at 100%.

This post is kind of the complete opposite of what I usually write here or at least the messages I try to send out to others. I like to be as positive as possible and I like spreading that positivity. But I also want to be real with you and right now, truthfully, my life isn't all rainbows and butterflies. On the bright side, though, I know that this phase in my life is only temporary (as I've talked about in this past post). Yet, we all know how difficult it is to convince yourself that things will be better soon when it seems everything kind of just, well, sucks.

I've been wanting to get more into my blog for a very long time now, but I suffer from writer's block, laziness, lack of motivation, etc. I've also been trying to start writing my first novel, but that project is suffering from all of the above as well. Some days are great, but most days are not.

What is most frustrating for me is that I know I'm the only one with the power to get myself out of this current gray, gloomy slump. By forcing myself to just do the things I want to do, forcing myself to get back into healthy habits, etc. It's all up to me, that I know. But I've always sucked at self-control, unfortunately.

As a society in general, we try so hard to portray our lives in a positive manner. You look on Facebook and Instagram and the majority of people are posting about happy things. Bloggers do this too (maybe even more so). It's not just that we want others to think that we are living these wonderful, happy lives, but in a way we're trying to convince ourselves, too. But we don't have to be happy, or even just okay, all of the time. It's okay to be sad, it's okay to feel gloomy. So that's why I decided to share how I'm truly feeling lately. Because I'm human and life gets tough. And that's okay.

If you ever feel you need someone to talk to, please don't be shy - shoot me an email! Sometimes gaining an outsider's perspective is exactly what you need. Or sometimes, you just need to let it all out. And I'd be more than happy to be that person for you.

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Wednesday, September 9, 2015

What's in my makeup bag?

I'm not big on wearing makeup and usually go for the bare minimum. I love any kind of "natural" look. Now that I'm working with kids again, I feel less inclined to "spruce" my face up, so the heavy eyeshadow and lipstick wear is saved for the occasional night out or any other type of dress up event. I wanted to share with you guys what's inside my makeup bag (well, the main one...) These are the items I use most frequently, but I do have two other bags full of goodies! Ironic for someone who doesn't wear makeup that much, haha.