Just Write: Getting the Words on Paper
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.
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
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.