The “Easy” Way to Overcome Writer’s Block

The “Easy” Way to Overcome Writer’s Block

Or, Learning How to Put in the Work

I recently wrote about how I believe there is no such thing as writer’s block.

The truth is, writer’s block isn’t some kind of insurmountable hurdle that prevents you from accomplishing your goal. The hard truth is anyone can break through writer’s block, if they are willing to put in the work.

Writing is a job, plain and simple. It might not be as hard as other jobs. I doubt many writers come home as tired as someone busting rocks for a living. But writing is a demanding job that drains your mental capacity and in some cases, your emotions.

That’s really why some people use the excuse of writer’s block. They aren’t willing to confront the challenge that writing presents. How do you take a nugget of an idea and stretch it out into a complete story?

For the stories that have been written throughout history, every writer faces the same challenge. There are no perfect formulas or recipes you can blindly follow to easily produce a finished product.

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There’s No Such Thing as “Writer’s Block”

Writer's Block

Or, How to Overcome “Writer’s Block”

Okay, I get it. Saying something like there’s no such thing as writer’s block is a pretty controversial thing. Even experienced writers say that writer’s block is real.

Some have written entire books on the subject. I’ve read about writers who stare at a blank page for hours, unable to come up with a single sentence.

I know, sometimes it’s hard to write. In fact, it can be very hard. But the concept of a mental “block” that prohibits you from finishing your story is not real.

But there is a real challenge that many writers face. One that can derail or upset the progress of a story/manuscript. A problem that is often mistaken for writer’s block is very real. But it can be overcome if you’re willing to work.

Oh yes, writing is work, just like any other craft. Writers just don’t sit down at a computer and watch the words fly onto the screen. Even the most prolific writers—who have produced countless books—didn’t start there.

The secret to all great writers is this: they write… A LOT.

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Crafting a Space Opera—Let the Pain Begin

Crafting a space opera as a fiction writer

I don’t know what possessed me to want to write a “space opera.” Of course, I loved the original Star Wars trilogy. As an aspiring fiction writer, it’s not that inconceivable that I’d want to try my hand at the genre.

But, boy, it is harder than it looks.

There are numerous magnificent entries into the science fantasy action/adventure genre. Too many to count. They span galaxies, timelines, themes, and tones. They are crammed with thrills, romance, mysteries, and just a little bit of science.

And—as someone who wants to write fantasy fiction, without boundaries—it seemed like the perfect place to jump in.

Ouch.

I guess I always jump into creative projects with both feet. Even as a kid, the excitement of drawing my own comic characters or writing my own adventures was enough to propel me forward. The enthusiasm I felt for creating my own stuff was enough for me to overcome whatever hurdles laid in my path.

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Finding a Genre That Works—It’s Harder Than It Looks

I’ve been writing for a long time. It’s been a journey, a long, hard, miserable journey.

Trying to get something published is a pain in the ass. And not really worth a person’s time anymore, since you’re better off self-publishing.

But honestly, none of that matters if you’re not writing. A lot.

For a long time, I tried doing the High fantasy thing. My role model is J. R. R. Tolkein and I wanted to write a sage as big and memorable as The Lord of the Rings.

Personally, I struggled with this. How do I write a story that’s as wonderful as his, but not come off as a cheap rip off?

And trust me, buddy, there are a lot of Tolkien rip-offs out there. So many, it’s kind of sickening.

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How to Use Real Life to Write Your Story

How to use real life to write your story

The most personal stories can be the most powerful

One of the most challenging questions aspiring writers have is where to look for ideas.

Well, we’ve spent plenty of time over the last few weeks exploring that question. And why, it can easily be solved.

Ideas are everywhere. And the more you think about storytelling, the more you will be bursting with ideas. When you implement a few practical tools for harvesting ideas, you will never run out of ideas for stories.

That’s, honestly, the easy part. The hard part? Crafting a story that is unique, sincere, and will resonate with a reader.

Last week, I detailed how real-life events can be jumping-off points for stories. The fact is, some of the most popular movies, books, and series were based on real life. It gives your work a kind of credibility (even if you don’t put in the line “Based on a true story”) and give a story a foundation from which you can experiment.

But how can you make a story more authentic? In an age when so many people are producing content—most of which is shallow and clickbaity—how can your stories feel real and meaningful? How can you make sure your story is going to connect with a stranger, to the point where they want to care about it?

You gotta get personal.

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