The bright side of writer’s block

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As much as we do not believe in writer’s block, we know there are some writers who still struggle with it. Today we have discovered something fun…the bright side of writer’s block! 

Who ever thought that writer’s block could have a bright side? 

Firstly, if you want to get the best out of a writer’s block experience (since you insist you have it) you have to change the way you see it. You have to stop seeing the block as an enemy. If you continue to see writer’s block as the enemy, you would end up frustrated and anxious. This will further hinder the inspiration from coming at the time it should come.

Secondly, writer’s block is life’s way of saying, “Hey, writer, it is time for you to take a break and have fun.” It draws your attention to some areas of life that you probably have been missing out on. It could be a shopping experience, a movie, another genre of novel that you probably never considered reading, a sermon, a scrabble game, a walk around the neighborhood, a music album, playing the guitar, anything to take your mind off the task for some time. The list is endless really. Have you ever wondered why inspiration drops at times when you are not even deliberate about it? So, relax and be calm. Handle writer’s block like a pro.

Finally, writer’s block will help you develop patience as a writer. It will teach you how to go easy on yourself and bring you face to face with your humanity. When you write in that “lack of inspiration” state and feel like what you have written is not worth writing or reading, you have to understand that with just a little patience, you can make something beautiful out of a crappy piece of writing. Do not give up on your writing because of writer’s block. Look on the bright side and become better at your writing craft.

See that writers block isn’t so bad after all? 

 

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Embrace your not so popular ideas

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We absolutely love Amos Tutuola! Yes, his life is still an inspiration to all writers out there. It is remarkable what he did and how he became the first Nigerian writer to gain international fame through his writing. His first novel, “The Palm-wine Drinkard” has been translated to 11 languages. It was the first novel published in English outside Nigeria.

Why are we bringing this to your notice today? The answer is simple. Amos Tutuola wrote that book in modified Pidgin English. The title of the book tells us that much and it was outside of the mainstream literature at the time it was published in London.

This book garnered more than enough criticism with a good mix of popularity as well. The book was criticized as being too primitive and barbaric because of the kind of English it was written in. However, the book has been described by so many literary icons as the greatest novel ever written.

Dear Sparkle Writer, embrace your out-of-the mainstream ideas and opinions. Be fearless with your writings. Imagine that Amos Tutuola had chosen to focus on how he had just six years of formal schooling and was not educated enough to write in Standard British English. We would not be celebrating the ingenuity behind the novel “The Palm-wine Drinkard.”

Embrace your strange and not-so-popular ideas. Forget about the criticisms you might most likely receive. Forget about what other people might think about it and just write. Amos Tutuola’s book was not a perfect book but it was appreciated for its originality. Let go of your fears and write what you need to write. Trust us; you would be glad you did.

#WritingQuote – “In your voice, your readers should be able to hear the content of your mind, your heart, your soul.” Meg Rosoff

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Your writing voice is the deepest possible reflection of who you are. The job of your voice is not to seduce or flatter or make well-shaped sentences. In your voice, your readers should be able to hear the contents of your mind, your heart, your soul. – Meg Rosoff

For those who have never understood all the plenty talk on writing voice, this quote by Meg is apt!

There are many writers who try to shape their writing voice or at best make it sound like the voice of a writer they admire. While this is not bad, such writers face the risk of losing their own authentic voices. 

Dear writer, your writing voice is precious. It is unique to you, your mind, your thoughts and your heart. Don’t be afraid to flaunt it and do incredible things with it! 

#Writing Quote – “A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper”

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“A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper” – E.B White, Author of Stuart Little

The harsh truth is that there will never be “ideal conditions” to write the way you have fantasized about writing. There will always be challenges you have to face. These challenges are what makes your story as a writer interesting.

There will never be perfect conditions for writing that book you have always wanted to write. Ask writers who have successfully published a book. Yeah, we know you want to develop yourself and hone your writing skills so you can put words together perfectly, we know you want to wait till you get that brand new laptop you have been waiting for, we know you want to wait till you own a website before writing. And all of these things are good. However, do not make them your excuses for not writing.

Seriously dear writer, time is ticking. And even if you get all of these things you so crave for, something else will come up and it will be an endless cycle of waiting until you realize that you and time are no longer buddies.

Today’s quote is spot on. Stop waiting for ideal conditions. That is a mirage. Start with what you have right now (yes, even if it is just a pen and a paper); start where you are, and let the words flow out of your heart.

#Writing Quote – ”There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” Maya Angelou

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”There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” Maya Angelou, I know why the Caged Bird Sings

We know this is a popular quote but the message still holds true.

It is quite unfortunate that a lot of writers have died with untold stories, stories that struggled to breathe, stories that were shut up in their bowels simply because they felt the words that made up these stories were not worthy enough to be read, heard, experienced and felt.

Dear writer, it is time to give those words the freedom to breathe. It is time to tell the world your story. Do not keep on bearing untold stories inside of you. Listen to the words of Maya today. It is time to give life to your stories. Rise up to the occasion, stare brazenly at your laptop screen and type away. Type for that one person who needs to hear your story to snap out of that depressed state or that suicidal thought.

Never underestimate the power of your story.

 

Dear writer, be your own Chief Encouragement Officer

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As a writer, one thing you have to learn is to be your own CEO – Chief Encouragement Officer.

To be a successful writer, you have to learn how not to depend on the encouragement of others to keep you writing or to keep you going. You have to learn how to speak nice words to yourself about your writing. This is because you might not always get the encouragement you desperately desire from people. We know that writers can be harsh critics of their own work. So, here is how to go about being your own CEO.

Whenever you write and you feel like your work is not good enough, just say this to yourself: “This write-up isn’t so bad but I can always make this better.” That should be the attitude rather than saying, “This write up is so dumb, no one would ever want to read this.” We already know that if you keep up with the negatives, the write-up will end up in the recycle bin.

Now, we are not saying that you do not need cheerleaders (encouragers) in your life. Cheerleaders are an important part of a writer’s life. Rather, all we are saying is that you cannot afford to allow other people determine your confidence level when it comes to your writing. 

Learn how to be your very own CEO. In other words, inspire yourself to greater heights. Always remember that you are your own biggest fan.

 

Writing Quote – The useless days will add up to something  

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“The useless days will add up to something. The shitty waitressing jobs. The hours writing in your journal. The long meandering walks. The hours reading poetry and story collections and novels…. These things are your becoming.” Cheryl Strayed, Author of Wild

One thing you should know and understand as a writer is this – no experience is useless. It really does not matter if it is the most condescending of experiences. It is all going to count for something in the end.

For a writer, every single experience is a potential story waiting to be birthed through words – your words.

It does not matter if it is a heartbreak, a boring lecture, a difficult roommate, an overbearing sibling or parent, a boring book that you have to read for an exam, a birthday celebration, a harrowing experience with your mother’s annoying customers, taking care of your pet dog or the pain of watching your puppy die. All of your experiences will add up to something in the end.

Just like the writer in the above quote says, “These things are your becoming.”  The seemingly useless days will add up to something beautiful in the end.

This is what successful writers have in common

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Have you ever wondered how the famous writers you admire made it to the limelight? Even more so, have you ever thought about what they had to grapple with before their names and works ever saw the light of the day? The thing is, these writers might be domiciled in different corners of the world but these three qualities bring them together—Discipline, Persistence and Patience.

Discipline

Discipline is the art of writing one word at a time until you are done with the article, book or novel you had in mind when you began. This is easier written than done but successful writers write and get the job done even when they do not feel like it. In this thing called writing, feelings do not matter. What matters most is doing what must be done. Mystery writer Janet Evanovich pulled in $33 million in the year 2012 but wrote for ten years before getting published. Only a disciplined writer would keep on writing for ten years with a name and story unheard by the entire world. Keep on writing even when you do not feel like it. Even when you feel like you are writing crap, keep writing.

Persistence

This is the art of digging the ground until you find gold. When it comes to writing, discouragement always lurks around the corner, waiting for you to throw in the towel and surrender to negativity. Successful writers do not stop digging for gold even if there are slim chances of finding it. Do not stop digging; do not stop writing. No matter how many books you sell, no matter how many people visit your blog and no matter how many rejections you get, do yourself a favour and keep on digging. You will surely find gold, depending on what you see gold as. Judy Blume, who has sold 80 million books, got nothing but rejections for two straight years. Judy found gold after two years of digging. Never say never!

Patience

This is the art of waiting for the seeds you have planted to bloom and grow. A beautiful garden takes time to bloom. It has to be cultivated, nurtured and fertilized to flourish. It is the same with writing. Whenever you write, you are planting seeds and nurturing them. Successful writers understand this principle. Give your writing time to bloom and flourish. The only way to do that is to keep on writing. Do not be in a hurry to “hammer.” Great writers are patient enough to hone their talents and skills to perfection or near perfection. Always remember, patience has the ability to bring out the best in any writer.

 

Don’t be afraid to evolve

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You either evolve or you disappear.”  Tupac Shakur 

We had to quote Tupac for today’s post! Think it’s too direct? Not so much. It is the absolute truth. Whether in personal life, business, career and for us as writers, evolution is a necessity and as Tupac has said you either evolve or you disappear. 

Evolving as a writer means getting better at what you do. 

When you start off, nobody expects you to be perfect. Nobody is perfect really. In as much as we all have our individual writing weaknesses we are not expected to celebrate them. This however does not give you the liberty to sit on your skill. There is no finish line. Regardless of how adept we become at writing, there will always be room to evolve. 

One fundamental way to do this is to let go of the pride, limiting beliefs and embrace learning. You have natural talent but there’s still a lot of experience to garner. 

This is the hardest and most important ‘mind shift’ every writer needs to go through. We all come into the journey believing our writing is good, and special which is something that is true but most times, our writing still needs to be polished.

Once you are open to learning you’d be amazed as to the number of things you didn’t know and are pretty important for your career. 

Attending writing workshops and training will do a lot to your career.

We do not know how and why it is believed that every writer must be an introvert who is only in love with his computer, journal and pen. Writers do not necessarily have to be introverts and NO we are not saddists too. You should be able to associate with other writers not just online but offline. Attend writing workshops and conferences because you’d see things from different perspectives and improve your writing.

Remember that evolving is not an option, it is a necessity especially if you want to stay relevant. 

Stop confusing failure with weakness

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Failure is really not a good thing. But we’ve all felt like failures at one point in our lives. And the pain that it brings can be enough for us to slam the brakes on ever trying to be a writer again.

However, when you start writing you do not necessarily need to get everything right immediately. Have you seen a baby learning to walk? He falls, stands up and falls again but hardly does he refuse to walk again because of that. A good writer masters the skill by writing, rewriting and writing again.

We know failure has a way of getting to you. You’d probably just believe that this is the kind of person you are – a failure and there’s little or nothing you can do to get better. It is not true.

Not getting it right the first, third or tenth time doesn’t mean you are weak or not good enough. Failure is a critical step in learning what works and what does not. Take note of that.

See failure as the adult version of falling down through lack of experience, practice, or knowledge – all of which you are on your way to acquiring. If you could have walked from birth, you would have defied the laws of human development. Same as being a writer, if you could write the wittiest and most intriguing stories at first trial, you would have no need to grow and most likely you would not appreciate the skill you have.

If you still need some dose of inspiration contact us and we will hook you up!