Too scared to Write? The One-Two Punch That Got Me Writing.

the-writers-society:

So, there I was.

Feeling guilty that I’ve spent more time looking up writing tips and tutorials then actually writing.

When I finally decide to sit down and write, I mean really truly write, I decide to write 10,000 words that day to make up for the lost time.

You laugh, but this is how my brain works.

Of course, that cranks up the panic. Because everything is riding on this, right? I mean, I said I’m a writer. I claimed the title. I launched an entire blog about writing. I blog about writing every week. I read about writing every day. I dream up little scenes for my stories, jot down plans, and add to my outline.

And then I don’t write. Because it’s scary. And I lack skills.

So I lay down in bed. Because naps are better than panic attacks. But what’s better than naps? Scrolling through Pinterest and then napping.

That’s when I come across this crazy helpful writing tip snippet pinned to The Writer’s Sandbox. (Bear with me, this is important.) It was a small insight. At first, I didn’t take it seriously. Too easy. Just one tip among thousands of other writing tips.

But somehow it got me writing.

Little did I know, I was onto something that would help me write every day for the rest of the week. While actually enjoying it.

The Anxiety-Busting Writing Combo: Write While Lying down + Write Only 50 Words

You’ve heard of authors who wrote while lying down. Truman Capote did it. So did Mark Twain.

Maybe it sounded like artsy-fartsy nonsense to you. It did to me. And when I didn’t think it was hooey, I thought it impractical. Because no way I don’t fall asleep if I lay down to write. You know? And how could I possibly write fast enough to keep up with the story while two-finger typing? And how could I hold my arms up that long without getting tired?

I thought of a million reasons why it couldn’t work. So I never tried it. Not on purpose.

Instead, fate took my resistant hand, forced me into bed, and said “There dummy. Get writing.”

I should have tried it sooner. Because, come one, where do my best ideas happen? Yep, in the shower. But after that, it’s definitely while lying in bed.

And all those problems I was worried about? Well, they totally happened. But the cool thing is, they ended up working in my favor.

But first, why this method works in the first place.

Why It Works: The Psychology Behind This Two-Pronged Approach To Writing

Writers block is about fear. When it’s time to write, the record plays familiar fears on familiar ruts.

Will I measure up? Will my story be as good on the page as it is in my head? What if I’m disappointed? What if people think my story’s dumb? What if they think I’m dumb?

So this approach, lie down + write 50 words, reduces the pressure we put on ourselves and our stories to be epic. Here’s how:

1.) Sends your body the signal to relax

The reclining position tells your body that it’s time to relax. And that relaxed state is ideal for writing. Have you ever wondered why you think of your best ideas just before you fall asleep? That’s when we’re most free of expectations. Our minds are free to roam and come up with ideas.

We’re not sitting at a desk doing work. We’re just being.

2.) Eases you through the Hardest Part

The write-50-words goal gets you focused while supporting relaxation. It’s this low-pressure approach that got me through the hardest part of writing: getting started. Once I was through the barrier, it was easy to keep going. And that was just a bonus.

3.) Keeps your focus on Accomplishable Mini-goals

The other thing that helped?

You can’t tell your entire story in 50 words (unless we’re talking about flash fiction). So I thought more about each sentence. Because I had no choice but to focus in on one moment at a time. A hat brim buffeting on the breeze. Foam spilling over a beer glass. Wet fingertips fogging a polished bar.

50 words left no space to get lost in big concepts. It was about moving my story forward one sentence at a time.

4.) Slows the process down and gives you time to think

Lying down helped focus my mind too. I composed my next sentence carefully each time I had to rest my arm. I couldn’t rush through a mad-dash of panic-stricken sentences on my way toward a finish line that felt too far away.

Instead, I had to annunciate each syllable for the talk-to-text software to understand.

It forced me to slow down. To consider where I was going. And the goal was small enough that I had plenty of time to do it right along the way.

You’ve got the Key to Busting Your Writing Angst.

So what now?

Lie down in your cozy bed, and write 50 words. You can do it.

Because this is the moment you’ve been waiting for, writer. And you’re exactly where you need to be. Go.

I hope this helped you guys.

If you have any questions, feel free to go to my ask box

lend-your-lungs-to-me:

chicklette:

writerlyn:

I desperately want to crush the idea that your writing has to be important.

You know what’s important?

Having fun.

Since I’ve started to embrace this, I’ve written more in a year than i had in the 40 years prior. 

Write the story you want to read.  Have fun.  That’s all.

This is pretty much the most important piece of writing advice anyone can ever give you.

feynites:

nihilnovisubsole:

a writing advice post: don’t describe characters’ eye colors, people don’t usually notice that in real life

me: anyway this character has pale blue eyes and this one has brownish-black and this one has sea green and you’re not my mother, you can’t make me stop

The trick is actually when you describe eye colours.

If a character is standing a good distance away from the character describing them, then unless they have massive and/or unusually vivid eyes (in which case, carry on) then no, they’re eye colour isn’t gonna be what jumps out about them.

So save it for later.

It can actually be a really moving experience to notice something pretty about another person’s eyes, the first time you’re close enough to. One of the major downsides of the ‘list format’ of description, where you just dump stuff like hair colour, eye colour, skin tone, height, built, etc in one big block, is that you lose a lot of the little human moments where people are honestly liable to pick up details about one another.

If you just tell me that, say, a character’s eyes have flecks of green in them, that’s boring. If your POV character notices the flecks of green in someone’s eyes because they’re sitting together on a couch and laughing and the light hit them just right and oh, so-and-so actually has unfairly pretty hazel eyes?

That’s a Moment™.

I think I usually mention eye color when the POV character is in love with whoever’s eyes are being described, and people in love certainly do tend to be obsessed with each other’s eyes.

skybloodfox:

lotus-duckies:

saarebitch:

puckish-saint:

chitarra10:

wolfburied:

I think a big part of why I read way more fanfiction than books is that there’s just a hell of a lot less exposition

the first 10 pages of most books are always “these are the main characters and here’s some background on each of them and this is the setting etc etc” and it’s such a fucking hassle getting to the plot sometimes

fanfic is just like “fuck it you know all of this already let’s go”

That’s a really good point.

Same here but there’s actually a point here of well written exposition.
Take AUs for example. Even in the most complicated, as-far-removed-from-canon settings we get at most a single paragraph before the actual fic where the author gives us a quick rundown of the rules for that universe. The rest we are left to figure out on our own and it works.

We’re not spoon fed every trivial detail when all we want is to get to the plot. Everything that’s important is said at the moment it is important, not sooner not later.
Especially in long fics characters often take on such a unique characterisation that you get to know them all over again but the readers do so organically, in the situations that define those characters as they happen.
Same with looks. The fic author generally assumes the readers know what the characters look like and don’t spend paragraphs describing them, and only bring it up when it fits the plot.

I’ve read a few fanfics from fandoms I’ve never been in and surprisingly it still worked out. I had generally a good idea of who these people were, what they did where and why and how they worked together. 

Point is, if you’re a writer writing original fiction, pretend it’s fanfic and everyone knows your setting and characters already. That way you’ll only have to add a few details if and when your beta readers mention needing more information and chances are they won’t need a lot. 

Point is, if you’re a writer writing original fiction, pretend it’s fanfic and everyone knows your setting and characters already. That way you’ll only have to add a few details if and when your beta readers mention needing more information and chances are they won’t need a lot.

Bolding this fantastic advice. 

Reblogging for the next time I write something original.

This is brilliant. I do a shit amount of world building but been blocked for the past week worrying about details and stuff.

Remember: you can always add in revisions. You just have to write first.

reasons to not quit writing:

jxsminewrites:

  • your writing is a skill, not an inborn talent (unless, yeah, maybe it is). not everyone can do what you do and love
  • everyone says they want to write a book. everyone has what it takes to write a book. not everyone does it anyway. you be the small percentage of success you read about
  • your writing will always seem brickshit horrible because you wrote and read it a million times
  • you love this writing thingy. quitting it will be like cutting off your fingers one by one.
  • someone out there will want to read what you wrote.
  • someone out there wants to know what is on your mind. 
  • someone out there appreciates your art. they will share it with their friends. they will share it with their loved ones. they will share it with their future self because maybe what you wrote saved them.
  • if you give up now, you know you will just come back to it again, whether it’s years from now, months, or next week. you love writing, that’s why you planted the seed of thought that you are going to write this book, and whether you come back to it or not, your unwritten stories will come back to you.

theriu:

boothewriter:

owlsofstarlight:

owlsofstarlight:

I literally only have one rule in my writing and it is this:

No matter what I put my characters through, they make it. They get to make it to the end of the story and have everything work out and be ok.

Because that’s the story I need. So it’s the kind I write.

If you want a piece of writing advice: write a story that is what you needed to hear at whatever age your target demographic is. I can guarantee you there’ll be someone out there who needs to hear it as much as you did. And maybe you’ll help them the same way someone else’s story did for you.

For some reason, this hit home and I never realized it that I did this for my stories too

This is on point and I support this. This is also the best argument I’ve ever seen against the whole idea that a story is only good if someone dies.

Quick Plotting Tip: Write Your Story Backwards

bucketsiler:

If you have a difficult time plotting, try writing or outlining your story backwards—from the end to the beginning. Writers who have a difficult time outlining, plotting, and planning their stories often benefit from this technique. You’ll need a general idea of what your story is about for this to work, and of course you need to know the ending, but you might be amazed how helpful this trick can be.

Why is writing backwards easier? Basically, instead of answering the question “this happened… now what comes next?,” you’ll be answering the question “this happened… so what would come right before that?” which narrows the possibilities for your next move and can help keep your story on track. (Incidentally, it’s also the way Joseph Gordan-Levitt’s character comes out on top in the film The Lookout.)

Writing backwards can also help you more tightly weave together your subplots, themes, and character relationships, and keep you from going too far down any irrelevant rabbit holes.

If you don’t want to write or outline completely backwards, remember that you’re free to jump around! If you’re feeling stuck in your story or novel, jump to the middle or end and write a few scenes. Many writers get stuck because they feel they have to write their story linearly from beginning to end, which results in an overdeveloped (and often irrelevant) beginning and an underdeveloped ending.

So go work on that ending! It’s much more likely that you will need to change your beginning to fit your ending than the other way around, so spend time on your ending sooner rather than later!