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Writing Bug Or Writer’s Block?

Writing Bug Or Writer’s Block?

Do you have the urge to write? Maybe there’s something specific you want to write: your memoir, or a children’s story—perhaps one you originally made up to tell your own child—or a compilation of recipes you collected in the course of your travels, or a novel set in Camelot involving one of King Arthur’s knights, or a how-to or inspirational book on maintaining a positive attitude in the face of difficulties. Or maybe you’ve been bitten by the writing bug and been left with an amorphous desire to write but no specific idea of what you want to write.

Nonetheless, do you find excuses for not sitting down at your computer and actually starting the writing process? “I have to do the laundry or the kids/my husband/my wife/my S.O./I won’t have any clean underwear.” “I’m too tired to be creative.” “I’m not in the mood to write.” “I have time to write or to read, one or the other, and I’d better finish reading that book I borrowed so I can return it.”

This procrastination is frequently a symptom of writer’s block.

Tell yourself you’re going to start NOW. Then do it.”

If you haven’t already decided what you want to write, now’s the time. Next, make notes about what you want to tell or to say about the topic you’ve picked. These notes don’t have to be a formal outline, although they certainly can be if you work best in a structured context. They can be as brief or as lengthy as serves your needs.

Now start writing, with your notes in front of you. Don’t duck, dodge, or shirk. Go to it. Let the words flow. And if you deviate from your outline, don’t worry about it. Go with what works for you.

You may find it helpful to try what some other writers do: Just write anything that comes to mind as long as it’s related to the book you’re planning. Worry about structure later. Worry about grammar and punctuation later. Worry about style later. You may find you write with more inspiration when you write longhand and transfer your work to your computer later. You may find you do better speaking your book aloud, into dictation software or, lacking that, into an audio recorder, for copying onto the computer later.

Whatever works for you is good. Discipline yourself to write every day, even if it’s only a half-hour a day, and eventually you’ll have that book written.

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