*Note: This concept will be discussed on The Writers’ Block podcast on 9/26. This podcast can be found wherever you get your podcasts, see the end of the post to get all info!
I had an English professor, Dr. Karen Kalenevitch, who gave us a trick to combat the hell that is writers’ block. She told us about something she called the story machine.
Now, what is this you ask? I’ll tell you.
You take an empty bag and write random phrases, places, date or names on it and throw them in the bag. You shake it up, and pull out 3 slips of paper. From those pieces of paper, you can construct a story. Perhaps from there, a free write. From there, a draft. From that draft, a revision. From revisions, to stories.
You may never know what you come up with.
With Love & Ink,
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There is nothing so devastating as being scared to write down the thing which is on your own head. Such a paradox to create something and then not bring it to the light of paper or screen.
There is nothing so devastating as to want to create, only to fear the outcome.
Sometimes dear ones, these things happen. Especially, when it something outside of your normal comfort zone. Something that may be seen as a little wilder. Sexier. Scarier. Darker.
The doubt is most disconcerting, yes. But, it is not insurmountable. Consider it the reminder of your mortality. The reminder that every story, every idea, has and needs a certain amount of care. A level of respect and concern before beginning and finishing any work.
It could even be a guard to being to hasty before starting a new work. Switching a genre. Even thinking of using a pen name. Sometimes the doubt can allow the story to incubate, stew a while. This way when you come back it, the thought–your thought, subject to your talent and its skill–is or may be more easily managed.
The doubt is a yellow light, a stop sign. But it is not, nor should be a considered a brick wall. Listen to the doubt. Sometimes its background noise, sometimes it it’s your imagination reminding you to just wait a minute. In the waiting, you may just make what would be a good story into something phenomenal.
Don’t be discouraged if you haven’t worked like you wanted to this week. Writing has it’s own ebb and flow–it’s own demands. Each work you begin, each work you end will have its own personality. It’s own process as you embark on the journey to hew out the story from the landscape of your imagination.
It’s a process. Becoming the writer that you want to be is a process. Don’t be discouraged by the small starts. The longest novel is still written one letter at a time.
I want you to remember that every thought won’t blossom into a WIP or a novel. But–it is the ideas you don’t chase, that you think aren’t worth the chase–which could!
I want you to be okay with the stop and start this month. September is Back to Writing Month, and I want you to get at it. I don’t care if it’s a paragraph, a story start on your voice recorder, or an idea you just kick around on social media.
Stephen King says the scariest part of writing is just before you begin. But, what if you begin and are still afraid? The three questions you will encounter during your journey towards beginning/finishing your WIP are:
Can I do this?
Can I finish this?
Will I do this again?
One of the ways, the best way, you combat this feeling of doubt is to–keep writing. This will be your sledgehammer; your dynamite; your lifeline and or anchor. You have to keep writing. You must keep writing.
Consider your writing talent a house you are building. Every word, every idea, every thought you chase, is brick, window or door to your house. Doubts are the drafts which come in to steal your fire. Doubts are the cracks in your foundation to rob you of confidence. Doubts are the leaks in the roof, to discourage you from finishing a work.
Doubt corrupts all aspects of creative channels. It corrupts, and cripples. But the antedote to it is in the process! You cure doubt by continuing the process. You stop the doubt but finishing not relinquishing your creativity!
In short: don’t give up again.
I believe in you. Keep writing.
Be sure to follow The Writers’ Block podcast this month for writing tips and encouragement to help you combat writing while doubting.
Summer offers me extra time to work on new things, but not always the time the to finish them. Some of those lazy summer days afford me time to daydream, planning and even freewrite! But the Fall? The Fall allows me time to go ahead and reach into that growing drawer of creativity to decide what to work on next!
On those long Fall nights, I have the chance to rework and revise. Fall allows me the thing I may not often have: time. As my kids fall back into their routines, I conform the writing schedule around the turning of seasons.
Master your time, create your day, and keep writing!
With Love & Ink,
*Remember it is Back To Writing Month on The Writers’ Block Podcast. You will be able to get the encouragement that you need to pick up the very work you forgot!