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Writing Woes: Kill Writer's Block and Effortlessly Increase Word Count

Updated on September 8, 2017
KoraleeP profile image

Koralee is a writer penning her first novel. She loves to share what she's learned on her writing journey that's been ongoing since 2008.

Unchain Your Creativity and Beat Your Mind at it's Own Game

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The Woe of Writer's Block

Have you ever tried to unleash your creativity but your brain refused to cooperate? I had this problem when I was writing NaNoWriMo last year. I was desperate, so I wrote a letter to my brain. Well, it was more like a plea. I begged the logical side of my brain to shut up and allow me to write out of my comfort zone.

Then a few weeks ago, I found a video from a best-selling author on Youtube. He has a writing process that cures writer’s block, (although he doesn’t present his system this way). He shows authors how to write a best-selling novel on a weekend, by accessing the writer within and writing a minimum of 1600 words an hour.

Quick Question

Do you think writer's block exists?

See results

Are you Afraid to Write and Share Your Ideas?

I’ve looked at my draft a few times since November, but eight months later I had completed no re-writes. Each time I read my manuscript I got discouraged because 80% of it sucks.

But, the problem I was struggling with in November was I wanted to introduce a supernatural element to help tell the story. I wanted to introduce two characters. One is a celestial being. Not an angel, but a man with strong ties to heaven, and explicit knowledge of the adversary. The second character is linked to hell, but not in a way you’d think.

My thought is that unseen celestial and hellish beings surround us, but we can personally control their influence with our minds. Our mind is so powerful, but so many people waste it because they underestimate the role it plays in our lives and the power it gives us. My protagonist learns this the hard way, of course.

Is Your Story Trapped in Your Brain?

Are the ghosts of past criticism still lurking in your brain?
Are the ghosts of past criticism still lurking in your brain?

Letter To My Brain to Cure Writer’s Block

Dearest Brain,

You know how much I love you, right?

I need massive creativity from you today.

We need to write 5,000 words for our NaNoWriMo novel. I know you’re not used to writing fiction so you’re overwhelmed.

But, it’s an amazing opportunity. You get to create a way for readers to break free from their troubles and entertain them. It’s your story brain, and you’re in charge. You can make the characters do whatever you want.

We’re not aiming for perfection. You’re mission today is to string together 5,000 words of the story, that’s it.

You’re holding the story hostage. Tell me so I can type it and share it with others. Stop wanting to only write about stuff that makes sense to you.

Being selfish isn’t helping anyone! Not me, you, or the readers. You don’t want to be that kind of brain, do you?

You’re in control of everything. My motor skills, imagination, creative and logical thinking. Today I beg you to unleash creativity and keep the condescending part of you on standby.

No, it wouldn’t be easier to make them vampires or zombies. You know I’m not interested in writing about undead characters, so quit being silly.

Think about this – “How are we going to write the new characters into the story?”

You need not fear them. They’re not real and can’t hurt you, so stop worrying. Bring them to life so we can help Nike. Without them, the book is boring and not as meaningful.

Yes, it’s sad that a character will die. But it’s crucial to the theme. Why are you stressing about that anyway?

Brain, I need you more than ever, so please don’t disappoint me. I’ll even give you fair warning before I start writing.

Remember it’s only 5,000 words and you don’t even have to edit, or criticize what we write today.

Hey brain, I found something for you on the Advanced Fiction Writing blog: http://www.advancedfictionwriting.com/blog/2012/03/07/chapters-scenes-and-fiction-writing/

Take off your Editor’s hat and put on your Creator’s hat. When you wear the Creator’s hat, you get to be sloppy. Just type. Don’t edit. Slam out the words. You can always fix it later. In fact, you will fix it later when you take off the Creator’s hat and put on the Editor’s hat. It’s a lethal mistake to wear both hats at the same time. This is like driving your car pressing both the gas and the brake. Don’t do it!

See, I didn’t lie to you so you can trust me.

Quit telling me it’s too hard. Why are you so afraid? It’s your ideas, and words so how can writing be hard? It’s not! I’m sorry I’m chastising you, but I need you to focus on what’s important; and that’s releasing 5,000 words of Nike’s story - including the parts you don’t want to write.

Together we’ll write beautiful, elegant prose. We’re a team brain, never forget that!

Are you serious right now? You’re bringing up the unimportant tasks I need to do. You’ve got to get over this and do what I asked before you drive me insane. Then we’re both screwed.

It’s 11:59 Scrivener is open. I’ll start with an opening prayer for creativity, focus and guidance in our writing. Don’t worry, I’ll give you breaks when you need them, Now, I need you to remove all logical thoughts and focus on the story.

With Love,

Koralee

Did My Letter Cure Writer’s Block?

Did my letter cure writer’s block? The answer is yes. I wrote 5000 words, but I didn’t tell the story I wanted. My brain continually reminded me that what I wanted to write couldn’t happen. So, in the end, my brain didn't listen.

A Cure for Writer’s Block?

As I mentioned, I found a video by a bestselling Author and his name is Tom Bird. In addition to writing, he has a writing retreat. At his retreats he teaches, and mentors authors to write a best seller on a weekend. The video is over 2 hours, but you can fast forward through some parts; and still understand his writing process. I’ll link the video at the end of the article.

His philosophy may sound airy-fairy to some writers. But his process works to cure writer’s block, although he doesn’t market it that way. Tom says to write you must shut off the left side of your brain (rather than try to reason with it as I did). You can do this by completing a 4-minute relaxation exercise while listening to a subliminal track he’s created. The exercise begins at 41:20.

There’s a second recording to listen to while you write. The recordings are helpful for any writing project, not just books. When you sign up to his website, you can download them for free.

The first step is to relax. To get into position you sit with your spine straight, and your hands and legs uncrossed. Gently rest your chin on your chest.

Breathe in deeply and use force when exhaling to empty your lungs. After completing the relaxation track, you listen to the second subliminal recording and write as fast as you can without looking at your work. You can write a minimum of 1600 words an hour with this method, but you’ll probably write more.

Disclaimer: I'm not affiliated with Tom Bird's retreat or website.

Getting Ahead of Writer’s Block

Writing fast without looking at your work as you type isn’t a new concept. But Tom explains it better than any other article I’ve read, or video I’ve watched.

“Write so fast your left brain can't keep pace. All great writing is stream of consciousness. The left brain is shallow and functions in spurts while the right brain runs like a river.”

Physical Endurance While Writing

Tom suggests you eat food, and drink water every 15-minutes. Writing is hard on the body, brain, and it’s emotionally draining. Staying hydrated with a full tummy eases the stress on your body. This is especially important because you should write for 8 or 9 hours each day to finish your book.

Key Elements to Writing – The Author’s Job

The following, which you could say are the only 2 rules for writing a bestseller is Tom’s brief description of the job of an author.

  • Make readers feel
  • Remind them they're alive

It's how you feel when you use words that leaves a lasting impression on readers. When I heard this, I thought of Martin Luther King’s I Have a Dream Speech. If he read his speech in a monotone voice, his delivery would have had little impact on the crowd.

Although we’re discussing writing, not speaking. It’s easy to imagine how Dr. King felt when he wrote his speech. This tells us how connected we need to be with our feelings when we write.

How to Convey Feelings in Your Writing

Write through your heart, not your brain. This is where Tom’s subliminal track helps. Tom created the music to allow the author to write what they feel, by guiding their brain to work with them as they write.

To reach your deepest, genuine self and access your innermost feelings and express them via words is draining. It’s easy to understand why food and water are important to keep your body going.

Write With Your Heart

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Your Divine Author Within and Birthing a Book

Tom’s philosophy is that you birth your book. It’s inside you like a baby, and you must push to get the words out. To do this, you access what he calls your Divine Author Within by connecting with your spirit because ‘books are reflective of your deepest self’.

Little thought is needed while you write because the book is inside you pushing to get out as well. When you’re finished, you’ll know because the spirit within tells you. He also has an interesting method to edit your book using colored sticky notes. He uses a screenplay style format so the book paces like a movie, you can view his 40-minute video by clicking here.

Overpower the Logical Side of Your Brain

Effortlessly Increase Your Word Count

With Tom’s method, your body and mind are relaxed. But your right brain is also energized so your writing flows, and the left brain shuts up because it’s overpowered.

I’m all about simplicity and constantly look for ways to minimalize tasks so I’m free to pursue multiple passions. Tom Bird’s writing system is simple, and quick to carry out. Who doesn’t want to write their first draft of a best-seller in a few days?

I wrote a 10,000 word first draft of a non-fiction book in six hours using his method. But then I realized I don’t want to publish a non-fiction book. That’s too easy, this style of writing comes easy to me. I want to access my writer within and publish a novel.

The Take-Away – Writer’s Block (If there is such a thing)

Since learning this new way to write, I discovered that I wasn’t even true to myself about the book I wanted to write last November. No wonder my brain was so confused.

You probably don’t have writer’s block. You just don’t know exactly what you want to write. You may think you do, but you’re trying to protect something within yourself because it’s so deep you’re afraid to access it. Let alone share it.

This is the main struggle with novel writing, in my humble opinion.

I’ve learned so much in the last few weeks about the creative writing process and how my brain works. It’s helped me clarify and define my writing goals. Writing is a continual learning process, and that’s what makes it so exciting.

Cure Writer's Block And Effortlessly Increase Word Count

I have no evidence that writing a letter to my brain worked to cure writer's block. As I said, I reached my word count. The letter may have got me pumped to write after thinking about it as I wrote it. However, I didn't succeed in writing the story I wanted to write.

In Stephen King's book, On Writing he says: "That said, when I get stuck, it’s usually because I don’t know what happens next."

I didn't have the plot for the additional characters outlined enough to feel confident writing about them. So if you're stuck with writer's block you might want to acknowledge and deal with any apprehensions you have about your story. That could be your block.

Or, you might not know what happens next, so you need to go back and figure that out.

The video helped me immensely not only because it cured my problem by making me understand what the real problem was - accessing my author within and letting it work.

Listening to his tracks and following his eating and drinking advice helped with increasing my word count. If you follow Tom Bird's instructions it's easy to increase your word count.

On Writing: A Memoir Of The Craft
On Writing: A Memoir Of The Craft

Stephen King has brilliant advice for writing. But, you must keep in mind that he's experienced and a pancer. He doesn't outline. He tells himself the story, sometimes for years and then sits to write it. He gives his characters the freedom to do what they want. This process may not work for new writers. There's too much potential for gaps in the plot. Even Stephen King runs into this problem.

 

Tom Bird - Unleashing Your Author Within

I'm Curious

What's your biggest writing woe? Please reply in the comments. You can type a one-word answer, a synopsis of your writing woes, or a full-blown explanation. I'd love to read them all.

© 2017 Koralee Phillips

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    • KoraleeP profile imageAUTHOR

      Koralee Phillips 

      12 months ago from Penticton British Columbia Canada

      Thanks putri purnama. I hope it helps!!! :D

    • putripurnama profile image

      putri purnama 

      13 months ago from sukoharjo, solo , central java, indonesia

      thanks. its really usefull.

    • KoraleeP profile imageAUTHOR

      Koralee Phillips 

      13 months ago from Penticton British Columbia Canada

      Thanks FlourishAnyway. Yep that's a big problem too - it's hard to focus.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      13 months ago from USA

      Too many ideas

    working

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