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Helpful Writing Tactics
I love to write...and that's a great understatement. I've been doing so ever since I can remember; my mother has saved a few things I wrote as a child...and let me say that it's not exactly quality work! Even so, writing is one of the many things that defines my personality. I even have my degree in English. So, needless to say, I've learned a thing or two when it comes to writing.
One of the many issues is not just style, finding your voice, etc. It's the evil barricade between the writer and the great idea...the dreaded two words: WRITERS' BLOCK. And it's torture. Whether you're writing for pleasure, a class assignment, or even for a job that has a deadline, being stuck with no end in sight is beyond aggravating.
Fortunately, there are a few tricks to the trade. Well, there's more than a few, but there are certain ones that I know that are quite effective, and feel the knowledge should be passed on.
Using the First Line
A good way to jumpstart some creativity is by doing some light reading, finding a line or two that for whatever reason stick out to you, and going from there. By researching for just one sentence, your mind will eventually break down those walls between you and quality writing. It was a trick a college professor showed my class, and some really interesting stories and poems were created. Read up on some Frost, Ginsberg, Auden, see what other writers have to offer in terms of a particular sentence or two. You'd be amazed how much of a story or essay can be created with a little help from another.
The catch? It's imperative that you give credit to the writer whose words' you've used. We were all taught about plagerism...no one wants their hard work and personal creations to be misused.
"It's Just a Little Gibberish"...
...or is it? Believe it or not, one of the most effective methods I've discovered is using your stream of consciousness. What does that mean? Well, quite literally, you write whatever comes off the top of your head...and don't let your pen come off the page. Perhaps set a timer? Go for ten minutes or so, and see what comes out.
From the ashes rises life. Think of the babble as ash...a few lines could be worth holding on to. Throw out what's unnecessary, and keep going!
Unique, Beautiful, and Strange Words
Sometime in the 1950's, a study was conducted and determined that two of the most beautiful words in the English language were murmuring and cellar-door. But what do you think? Make your own list of words that you might find enchanting, bizzare, underused, or don't even know the meaning! Two of my personal favorites are willow and beloved (now, why those two, I have no idea! But they've certainly helped in the past!),Create a new poem based off of your list, try to use as many of the words as you can, you name it! You're the one in charge.
...no, really. It's difficult to do anything productive when you're stressed out...be it writing, or anything else that requires your creativity or attention. So, take your time. It's ok every now and then to walk away from a project; you need to recharge your batteries. Leave the manuscript in your desk drawer for a day or two...or three. It'll help give you a fresh perspective when you step away for a bit.
Clearing your head makes room for more great ideas, and allowing time to let your mind rest is vital for regenerating your inspiration.
And When All Else Fails...
Try reworking some older pieces, revisit stories from long ago. Instead of focusing on writing, focus on reading for a while. Look for books that are on the same topic or of the same genre. Seek some peer editing; maybe good friend could offer some insight or suggestion. You never know.
A writing life can seem tedious and unproductive, but it can also be fun and fruitful. Hopefully these tips will help make it the latter. Happy writing!