Writing should be enjoyable in its own right, but even the most dedicated authors sometimes face the sorts of frustrations that would make an impatient person throw their laptop out of the window. I’m not talking so much about writers’ block in this case, although that is frustrating too. What I’m talking about are the sorts of situations in which you really want to write, but the difficulty has been cranked up to eleven and nothing seems to be going your way. For example, I have never been much good at writing romance, but I felt that at least one affectionate scene would be essential to the character relationships in my latest novel. So I tried. Boy did I try. But this genre just isn’t something that comes natural to me, so after three or four passionate attempts to get it right, I ended up exhausted and disappointed with my forehead on the table.
When you face a situation like this, you are going to need a few tools to dig yourself out of that rut. To a certain extent, these techniques have a crossover with those used to cure writers’ block but in this case, they are more academic or challenging and so they will work better on someone who has the will and inspiration to write already. In contrast, techniques used on writers’ block tend to be focused on stirring up a bit of passion and excitement for your craft in the first place.
I know it sounds boring, but if you know what aspect of your work is causing your frustration, which for me was the romance genre, you can make a precision attack on the problem. Find some educational resources such as recorded seminars and classes. Or even go to one live if you can afford it.
If you know a fellow writer who has a particular strength in the area you are trying to work on, enlist their help! Generally speaking, people love to teach and share their skills, so it is likely they will be more than willing. Just buy them a nice cup of tea as a thank you present and remember them next time they need your help in return.
Challenging yourself can be fun, but it is easy to burn-out if you push yourself too hard and then you run the risk of never working up the energy to go back to the piece that was causing you problems. For me, regular breaks and small rewards are a good way to help myself keep moving forwards. I don’t mean that you should buy yourself a diamond necklace for every 500 words you churn out. But you could set yourself a goal such as this: I am going to produce 1,000 words/write for the next 60 minutes/get pages 43-47 fully edited and then I will walk the dog down to the park and get an ice cream. Having these little treats will not only encourage you to get your work done, but it will also give you enough rest time to clear your head and keep you sharp.
One warning on this is to make sure you aren’t rewarding yourself for doing nothing. If you set your goal of writing for 60 minutes but you end up getting distracted and browsing the internet for half of that, don’t give yourself the reward you agreed upon. That isn’t to say you shouldn’t rest; if you exhaust yourself with effort, that goal is going to become harder and harder to achieve. But instead of your reward, you might just step away from your desk for ten minutes, rest your eyes and have a glass of water before giving it another shot.
I hope you enjoyed this article. If you did, please click like and follow, and look out for my next article when I will talk about writing characters who you disagree with.
P.S. This post was scheduled in advance as I am currently sunning myself on a much-needed holiday! Please excuse any delay in responding to comments. I will read them when I find a free wifi zone, honest!