Friday, January 4, 2013

Wrestling With the Written Word

When the words you are using in your next writing project aren't coming easily, it might be equally easy to think that somehow you've lost your writer's touch.

Some folks call this "writers block," but I don't like the sound of that and try not to use it when it comes to my own writing.

When we wrestle with getting our words on paper or on computer screen, when we can't seem to find the right word for the sentence or the best way to describe a scene or character we might call this writer's block.

But the truth is, what is blocking us has nothing to do with writing but how we are currently dealing with life. For example, we may be struggling because we feel as if we have little time to write and so are trying to hurry. We might feel that the words we use are juvenile or inadequate, and to make our writing perfect all that we need is a good thesaurus. We may even try to push our words onto the paper. No matter what, I'm going to write this book. Even if it kills me.

Time. I'm currently working on a new book, but nothing is really coming yet, and so I'm using my time to write other things that are coming easily to me and taking notes when ideas come for the other project. I will continue to collect ideas until the light bulb turns on and I know it is time to write. Yes, some of my books have appeared from the get-go (I knew what to write from the first sentence forward) other books and stories have needed some time to gel. And so I'm giving this particular project some time.

Another great idea. Cut out some words from magazines. Choose 10 randomly. Use the 10 words to begin something new.
Photo by: Nina J.G.
Lack of Confidence. When we feel down about ourselves, we often have a hard time believing that we can write. We're no good, after all, and our confidence in our abilities is shot. When I'm feeling this way I go through my magazine pictures and write what I see. I put my current projects aside and have some fun writing something that may never be used. Another thing I do is to go back and re-read portions of manuscripts that others have told me that they like, or even love.

Pressure. If we're forcing our words on paper, we're not allowing inspiration to fill us and carry us forward. When this happens, the words we write are stilted and weak. We may even find that we can only write a few sentences before we feel we have "writers block." What we are really doing is writing without inspiration. When this happens I take a break and do something else. I may pray. I may read my scriptures. I may a take a moment and write a letter. Consider what inspires you other than your writing project and take a few minutes.

If you're currently wrestling with the written word consider what may be causing it. Whether you're dealing with a time issue, a lack of confidence issue or pressure to write when you don't feel like it, take a moment or two and consider the source.

You'll be back to writing. I promise.
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