Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

Tag Archives: Writing Resources

#WritersBlock ~ Is It Real or Just a Figment of Your Imagination?


If you’re a writer, you may feel you’ve experienced writer’s block—if you’re not a writer and know one, share this article with them… 

So, some writers are sure this blocking is real—some (like me) never have it

My Best Friend (an exceptional author) feels that any block for a writer isn’t really about their ability to write coming to a stop—more like another kind of hindrance—a holding of part of themselves away from themselves.

At least that’s what I’m interpreting my writer-friend meant

So, what if it is a figment of imagination?

What’s a “figment”?

My Oxford dictionary says: “An invented statement , story , doctrine , etc.”.

Hmmm

If we consider fiction writers, their whole purpose is to invent statements, fabricate stories, create doctrines, etc.

Hmmm

So, if writer’s block isn’t “real” but only a figment, a writer should be able to write their way out of it, right?

But, for those who still feel it as a reality, I’ll share some excerpts from an article on LifeHacker-AustraliaThe 10 Types Of Writers’ Block (And How To Overcome Them).

All I’ll share here are the 10 types (with my brief comments)—do go to the full article for their ways to overcome it

1. You can’t come up with an idea.

All I’ll say here is that you might want to consider rephrasing that—I can’t seem to come up with an idea

2. You have a ton of ideas but can’t commit to any of them, and they all peter out.

This one seems over-complicated in its expression—my advice: pick one, commitment or not, and start writing—if that peters out, pick another and continue

3. You have an outline but you can’t get through this one part of it.

I had a detailed outline for my short novel—it was bleeding to death from slashes and overwrites by the fourth chapter—I “rewrote” the outline

4. You’re stuck in the middle and have no idea what happens next.

Well, make something up—use those figments that are always lying around; and, if you don’t see any figments, make some up :-)

5. You have a terrible feeling your story took a wrong turn a hundred pages back, and you only just hit a dead end.

Shame on you—back up 110 pages and reviseIf you still hit that “dead end”, back up further and start again

6. You’re bored with all these characters, they won’t do anything.

Well, they are Your characters—you’re responsible for what they do (usually). Perhaps you need to reconsider the plot—maybe the characters don’t like what you expect them to do and are just on strike.

7. You keep imagining all the reasons people are going to say your story sucks, and it paralyses you.

If this one doesn’t sound like something besides “writer’s block”—perhaps lack of self-confidence or an overactive imagination—you might want to consider throwing the whole thing away and writing, instead, your autobiography

8. You can’t think of the right words for what you’re trying to convey in this one paragraph.

Oh, my—set it aside for awhile? Back up 10 paragraphs and start over?

9. You had this incredibly cool story in your head, and now you’re turning it into words on a screen and it’s suddenly dumb.

Oh, my, again—grab a few figments and create another cool story!

10. You’re revising your work, and you can’t see your way past all those blocks of text you already wrote.

My response for this one is to quote part of what the full article says about it:

“I’m going to go out on a limb and say that if you’re getting stuck during revisions, that’s not any type of Writer’s Block (as nebulous a concept as Writer’s Block is), but rather just the natural process of trying to diagnose what ails your novel.”

Check out the whole article—share it with other writers—let me know what you think in the comments :-)
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What Are the “Best” WebSites for #Writers?


Regular readers know I have a well-populated Top Tags widget (over 1,000 posts available by keyword-groupings in the left side-bar) and, since I’ve been immersing myself in the Wattpad experience, I’ve learned that, on a phone (which is where the bulk of Wattpad readers do their thing), the left side-bar of this blog is not visible unless you find your general “Menu” and click on something similar to this:  “Request Desktop Site”

One of the tags there (with 54 blog posts hidden behind its link) is Writing Resources <— that’s the link for folks who don’t want to look for the Top Tags Widget :-)

And, even though my picks for “Best” WebSites for writers are scattered all over this blog, the Writing Resources Tag is a good place to start

Also, you may have noticed that, in the title of this post and in the last sentence, I put “Best” in quotes—just my way of indicating that “Best” is a very personal designation and choice (or, Should be...).

Still, I want to share a post from the Site, The Write Life, called, The 100 Best Websites for Writers in 2016.

They organize the 100 into the seven categories of Blogging, Entrepreneurship, Creativity and Craft, Freelancing, Marketing, Publishing, and Writing Communities.

Let me share a telling excerpt from that post, that lets you know how they’re using the word “Best”:

“As writers, we want to keep up with the latest industry news, advice and opportunities, but we don’t have time to sift through everything happening in the online world.”

And, one more excerpt, because of its Twitter-link:

“And, if you’re looking to keep up with these sites on a daily basis, here’s an easy way to do that: we’ve compiled a Twitter list of all the websites in this post. Click Here to subscribe via Twitter.”

Finally, since the reason for those sites being the “Best” for writers includes “advice”, I’ll share the Top Tag link for Writing Advice (which has 64 posts tucked away…).

And, since I’m sharing what I’ve posted here about Writing Advice, I should probably also share what I feel is the most important post I’ve yet written for writers—What About All The Authors Whose Books Don’t Sell Very Many Copies?

That post begins with the words, “An extremely small percentage of writers sells more than 500 copies of a book…”

But, if you’re really strapped for time and want the critical gold nugget of information that makes that post what I consider the most important I’ve ever written, here’s the most significant link from it:

Survivorship bias: why 90% of the advice about writing is bullshit right now
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Writing Paradoxes


Yesterday, I re-blogged a post from Roz MorrisThree Paradoxes of the Writing LifeRoz Morris - Author

Today, I’m going to comment on those paradoxes

First, though, let me tell you a bit about Roz:

She’s an extremely successful Ghostwriter.

She’s written three excellent books about writing.

She’s written two fantastic works of fiction.

She’s available for Speaking and Tutoring.

She’s a Book Doctor.

She has her own Radio Show.

I’ve Re-blogged her numerous times.

And, I’ve written about her before

So, let’s get back to Roz’s blog post—Three Paradoxes of the Writing Life.

Obviously, I recommend you actually take that link and read her post first.

Then, my ruminations about the paradoxes she raises may make more sense

Back so soon…?

Actually, I know most of you never left—that’s totally cool—plus, her post has many links to other posts she’s written—very helpful for gaining knowledge but it will take a bit of time to read them all—though, I am comforted that there are other folks out there, like me, who do lots of internal linking :-)

O.K., I’ll lay out the paradoxes Roz wrote about and see what I can glean from my experience

1. “We must produce, but never rush.”

For many years, I thought about writing, thought I might be somewhat good at it, thought that when Life stopped yanking me around I’d make a go of it

I began serious writing in my late 50s

Since then (I’m nearly 70 now…), I’ve written and published 5 books; but, I’ve had three blogs before this one; and, this one has over 1,300 posts (that’s somewhere around 500,000 words just in this blog…).

I suppose I’ve nailed that “never rush” part—started late, have no definitive schedules, willing to wait till my Muse screams at me

Still, I hope for about 20 more years so I can be even more productive; and, the advancing years will nearly guarantee I don’t “rush” :-)

One more word about Production:

Unless you want to be sucked down a miserable materialistic hell-hole, resist the urge to write the way and publish at the speed most of the “experts” tell you to.

Well…

If you really want to produce work that folks can read swiftly, that won’t rock their boat at all, and that will soon be completely forgotten, go ahead; but, hang on tight when that hell-hole starts sucking

2. “We learn from others, but teach ourselves.”

I think that learning from others first means a writer had better read as many of the books of as many “good” writers as possible.

Defining “good” depends on the kind of writing you want to do; but, if you’re not yet sure what kind of writing you need to pursue, my advice is to read the “Classics” (ancient and modern) and read authors that you think write well

Obviously, as you progress in your reading/learning, your conception of what’s well-written will change

Still, reading a massive amount of books isn’t, by far, the only way a writer learns from others—just wake up, get dressed, and walk down the street; or, wake up, and start watching YouTube—Life activities should be learning experiences (except for those who aspire toward severe depression…).

“teach ourselves”?

For me this is simple:

You sit down and write something—anything

Perhaps you then get up and do a few chores

You sit back down and read what you wrote and, perhaps, change it

If you really get into a stint of writing, you may have to do a bit of research

Just be sure to sit back down and incorporate the research into what you’ve already written

Keep this kind of activity up for prolonged periods and you just might become a good writer.

I can’t help but say, though, that a particularly good way to learn from someone else while teaching yourself would be to study Roz Morris’ books about writing.

3. “We make our own rules but recognise when we’re wrong.”

Obviously, if you’re just starting out as a writer, you may have a very small kit of “rules”; and, I certainly hope you haven’t “borrowed” those “rules” from the ever-present and exceedingly pushy “WebWritingExperts”

Crafting a story may be relatively easy—crafting your own endurable rules of writing is a labor of love.

If you’re intent on nailing down some rules for yourself, try starting by making sure you’re somewhat clear about Why you want to write

Hows are meaningless without Whys.

But, even my own all-time fav fiction writer, C. J. Cherryh, finished her short set of “rules” with, NO RULE SHOULD BE FOLLOWED OFF A CLIFF…

So, there are a few of my thoughts on those writing paradoxes.

Now, I heartily encourage you to go read Roz
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A Literary Magazine Recommendation


I scan and browse and burrow-into and search and taste and save lots of sites that might end up being mentioned in this blog… 

I almost didn’t consider telling you about a literary magazine I just discovered.

It’s created in Australia—my Best Friend lives in Australia—I almost sent her the link directly—I’m wondering if she already knows about Writer’s Edit

It began it’s life in 2013 through the founding efforts of novelist Helen Scheuerer—check out her article about Online Publishing Challenges

There are now 18 folks on the Writer’s Edit Team.

Some of the site’s content relates primarily to Australians—like places to hang out, contests to enter, and favorite bookstores—though the preponderance of the site is still for every writer.

Try out their Advice for Writers Archive.

Or, their Literary Devices Archive.

Or, their Writing Prompts.

Also, they recently gave birth to a publishing division.

And, here are some of their most popular posts:

10 Insanely Hot Tips: How To Kickstart Your Writer’s Blog

5 Reasons to Drop ‘Aspiring’ from ‘Aspiring Author’

4 Simple Ways to Get Your Poetry Recognised

Oh! They also have Book Reviews.

Can’t wait to hear what my Best Friend has to say about them :-)
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To Leave A Comment, Use The Link At The Top-Right of The Post :-)
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

Writing Knowledge from Down Under…


I wonder if there are a few readers who saw the title of this post and thought, “Oh, wow! Alex is going to talk about getting help for our writing from the subconscious.”

Melbourne Australia

Image of the Capital of Victoria courtesy of Greg Bains ~ http://www.freeimages.com/photographer/bphotos-61699

Actually, I’m not gonna do that…

But, really-actually, I’ve done that before here and will probably do it again.

And, really-truly-actually, one of the links in this post is to an article that does get close to the subconscious

However, for those who didn’t know, “Down Under” is a physical place that’s also called Australia.

Though, I’m going to share about a particular place on/in the continent/country—the state of Victoria.

My Best Friend happens to be a writer in the Down Under state of Victoria.

And, if it weren’t so late at night where she is, I’d ask her if she recommended a particular WebSite to me or if I just, as we all do, happened upon it

The site is Writers Victoria and that link is their Home page; but, I’m going to first share a few links from their On Writing pages

Here’s an article by Lee Kofman, a Russian-born Israeli-Australian author—My Top 13 Writing Resources—a wonderfully varied list of fantastic stuff.

Next, an article with Margie Lawson, psychotherapist and editor—Deep Editing—where she says, “I analyze how writers capture emotional reactions including body language, dialogue cues, and visceral responses on the page, and teach them how to make them fresh and natural.”

And, an article with Greg Foyster, full-time freelance writer and editor—The Business of Freelancing—for those brave souls who write for cash (not “advances”…).

There are a ton of other articles in their On Writing pages………

Other places of interest on the site:

Writing Advice

Writing Workouts

Short stories, features and poems from their writing community

There’s Way More on the site; but, I’ll let you discover it—especially those of you who either live in Australia or plan to visit :-)
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Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
To Leave A Comment, Use The Link At The Top-Right of The Post :-)
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com