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How to Deal with Writers Block


I think as a writer one of the biggest hurdles that potential authors face is writers block and while this is a topic often beat to death by many accomplished writers I'm still going to throw in my two cents cause well, I'm a writer and I can. While on Lit I'm rather new to publishing stories in another life I've written quite a bit and have spent a large amount of time hanging out with other writers. Having done that I think the majority of writers block tends to fall into two categories, both of which cause an immense amount of stress in authors; negative feedback and other authors. We tend to pay a bit too much attention to those things and really need to refocus attention and thoughts.

Writing is an art form, and pretty much the only one I'm any good at, sometimes I get lucky with a decent photo or drawing but for the most part it's writing that I enjoy the most. As such it's special to me, and it's a form of relaxation to just sit down and write. Like many writers I enjoy getting feedback, be it positive or negative and I really do enjoy my readers. I am in awe at some of the emotions that people have felt at my writing and the time people spend to write a constructive comment. This isn't the feedback I'm referring to, instead we need more of that sort of feedback and to each reader who makes the effort to give constructive or positive feedback I thank you deeply.

To post their work is often a very emotional decision that writers make, we're putting ourselves out there and that leaves us vulnerable to folks who like to troll the boards and seem to take joy in nothing less than shredding a carefully constructed story for the simple need to hurt someone else. These people sadly do exist and even worse really have done some harm to people full of potential. It is these people that I refer to. Writers, first and foremost I think there are those who really need to either develop a little thick skin or at the least learn to not read those sort of comments. It is a shame that they exist, yes, but unfortunately if you read any comments section on the internet you're bound to find them.

Developing a little thick skin is the first line of defense, don't take it personally but not everyone is going to see within your story exactly what you see. You can leave a line meant to mean one thing and someone will perceive it another way, if you're lucky they'll leave feedback that helps you to understand that. Appreciate that feedback, it is constructive even if it hurts a little that they misunderstood what you meant. But if the feedback is just trashing you in general with no constructive points to it, odds are it was someone trolling and felt the need to say something nasty for whatever reason it was, ignore them and don't let them ruin your joy at writing.

One final thing on feedback is don't take scores too personally, for one people do like to push down scores of writers for whatever reason. If your story suddenly nosedives odds are someone decided they needed to push your scores down. I usually don't take scores seriously for at least two weeks and even then a month or so should really be given to wait and see if sweeps clear up the scores. This is especially important in contests as people will try to prop up the scores of stories they loved or push down stories of scores they disliked. In regards to the contests, no score will really be correct until the management unleashes the final standings.

Other authors seem to also be a serious stressor for newer authors particularly when it comes to offering advice on writers block. My advice is simple when it comes to this, stop listening to everything some says. Do this for at least a couple of days, appreciate some other forms of creativity such as reading a book, watch a movie, listen to music, or go to an art show but do not try to force the creativity. There are some fantastic writers on this site, and most of them mean well when they offer advice on how to stir up the juices but if you notice one thing, just about all of them have something different that they do and that's really the point of this advice, everyone is different.

When it's not feedback that kills the muse it's people trying to force the muse to work. Muses are fickle, they will strike and leave when they feel like it so embrace it when it's around but when it's not try to create a fertile environment which will make it want to return. All too often we try to force it with exercises and whatnot, really that just seems to be forcing something that should be invited in. It's not just writers, I've watched photographers try it and to be honest it tends to show with the folks who embrace the environment and those who force the creativity. So stop it, just really stop it, take a breath and allow yourself to relax into creativity, it will come when it wants to and the more often you encourage it by surrounding yourself with creativity the more it will come.

Basically though, authors like other creative people tend to allow themselves to be hurt by negative feedback and trying too hard to force things vice allowing the creativity to flow. I won't guarantee this advice will work, everyone is different but much like how we're all different this advice seems to be a bit different than what is often preached. If you still find yourself struggling though, come to the Authors Hangout in the forums, there are plenty of folks more than willing to share their advice and tips. Good luck in your writing adventures!

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