Just Write: Getting the Words on Paper

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Just Write

Some days the words flow effortlessly out of my mind through my fingers into my keyboard and onto my computer screen. Other days I’m forced to lasso them, dig in my heels, and yank each one-- kicking and screaming-- onto the blank screen in front of me. Oh the joys of creative writing…

As you might’ve guessed, today has been one of those days. I wouldn’t call my problem “writer’s block.” I don’t suffer from a lack of ideas. I have binders and folders full of scribbled story ideas. No, my problem is taking those ideas and transforming them from simple story concepts to fully written stories.

Okay, we’ve established that I’ve got a problem. So, what am I going to do about it? Well, in the past I’ve usually done one of two things: 1. hit the books, or 2. visit the internet. Both sources are overflowing with ideas.



Hit the Books

What better way to pick up writing pointers but to consult the pros? Numerous well-known and enormously successful writers have written books about their writing techniques (and advice for newbies) through the years. The following are a few of my favorites:

On Writing by Stephen King

How I Write by Janet Evanovich

The Creative Writer's Survival Guide: Advice From an Unrepentant Novelist by John McNally

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott

Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

Al of these books are well worth the read! Some are more focused on the mechanics of writing, others on finding your creative muse, and other on the publishing aspect of writing.

Visit the Internet

The internet can be both a help and a hindrance when it comes to writing. On the one hand, there are a lot of web pages dedicated to writing. On the other hand, there are a lot of scams out there. Also, it can be easy to get in the habit of only using the social networking aspects of a writing web site-- and spending long hours chatting online when you could be writing-- instead of focusing on how to improve and promote your work.

I’ve found the following web pages to be both helpful and amusing. Plus, they both offer writing challenges—which can be a good motivator.

The Inky Girl Word Count Challenge

National Novel Writing Month

Speaking of Challenges

While we’re on the topic of challenges, I have found in the past that I’ve done some of my best writing while focusing on a particular challenge-- or while facing a deadline. I think that part of my problem is that I often lack the necessary self-discipline to write every day-- rain or shine, work day or day off, no matter what.

When it comes down to it, I just need to write. It’s not about finding the perfect words—initially anyway—it’s just about getting the words on the page. Just write-- there’ll be plenty of time to edit the story later.

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Comments 11 comments

Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

I visit an online writer's prompt site or even reuse a favorite. I have many stories begun from the same sentence. It is fun also.


Reprieve26 profile image

Reprieve26 5 years ago from Oregon Coast Author

Yes, prompts can be a lot of fun. I love that you can have 10 different writer's use the same prompt with completely different responses. :)

Thanks for stopping by! :)


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 5 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

Reprieve26--

Sorry I am just catching up on my reading and I find time to be a factor in my writing... never seems to be enough time in the day.

I am forever thinking of ideas and getting my inspiration from "slices of life"; talking to and meeting people; and lessons learned along the way. My notepad is getting long with my lists, because I always jot down the ideas... now to find the time to expand and actually write.

This was well done. I always enjoy your work.

Voted UP & USEFUL & AWESOME! Have a good weekend, mar.


Reprieve26 profile image

Reprieve26 5 years ago from Oregon Coast Author

Marcoujor,

Thank you for the positive feedback! :)

I agree with you completely about not having enough hours in the day. I feel like I'm constantly playing catch up-- and not just on my writing. LOL I also agree that we're surrounded by sources of story ideas and inspiration. Now, if we could just fine enough time to write out those ideas! ;)

Thanks for stopping by. Have a great day!


htodd profile image

htodd 5 years ago from United States

Great post,Thanks


Reprieve26 profile image

Reprieve26 5 years ago from Oregon Coast Author

You're welcome. Thank you for taking the time to stop by, read, and post. I appreciate your suppport! :)


Marlin 55 profile image

Marlin 55 5 years ago from USA

I think that when faced with a challenge makes us dig deeper into the imagination and look for answers. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this subject. I give it a vote up.


htodd profile image

htodd 5 years ago from United States

Thanks for the great post..Nice


B. Leekley profile image

B. Leekley 3 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

Up, Useful, Interesting and shared with followers.

All good advice. Thanks.

For tips on writing without getting stymied by the internal editor, google on: freewriting OR "free writing". Wikipedia, for instance, has an article.

I've found very helpful books by Natalie Goldberg, such as WRITING DOWN THE BONES: FREEING THE WRITER WITHIN and WILD MIND: LIVING THE WRITER'S LIFE, and so on. Learn more at her website.


GusTheRedneck profile image

GusTheRedneck 3 years ago from USA

Hi Reprieve26 - Deciding to "write something" is the first part of the battle. "Writing something" is often the war. Everyone seems to have some personal way of doing both of those things, but reading about how to go about them is rather too late I would believe.

My own methods are not at all unique - I often focus my attention on a word or a phrase, after which I let the keyboard do its thing. Often enough, the end point is not perceived at the beginning of this, but it reveals itself after the keys are tapped sufficiently.

That thing some folks refer to as "writer's block" can be moved to the side by even a single word placed before the eyes or the ears such that its import is visited on the brain. :-)

Gus :-)))


Reprieve26 profile image

Reprieve26 3 years ago from Oregon Coast Author

I agree with you about writer's block. I find that the best way to overcome it is to just get something-- anything-- on paper. Once I get a few sentences out, I usually find an idea I like and keep going. Besides, I can always go back and edit if I don't like those first few words!

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