A rather cryptic title perhaps for our article today, yet one that has nothing to do with any benefits or drawback of any alcoholic beverage. Rather, today, I want to draw your attention an especially important problem that many people who are considering how to get started in writing or speaking or presenting, may come up against
Here we explore some traits of writer's block or the underlying dread or illusion that we have nothing worthwhile to say or share, all wrapped up with a curious, yet useful tip from another writer.
Perhaps the essence of this entire article can be summed up in a single word: fear. Though I prefer something like "How to put your fears in a bottle", you can understand why if you read about the fun antics of my friend below.
We know that many different fears can find their way to the surface of the human brain. Even worse, a foreboding that is left to its own devices, tends to fester, can often make itself known through aggression, even violence.
So surely such anxieties are best managed "at birth" and dealt with a sort of firm kindness. Other more pronounced fears may need professional help to "remove" or control.
Writers however, especially like to really cook up some great fear recipes. Sometimes, a writer's fear has nothing to do with how they're perceived by the outside world.
Some authors simply don't care what people may think of them. Instead, those writer's block fears can be all "home-cooked" inside those little grey cells that make up the mind. Why? The short answer: imagination is complicated.
In addition, some writer's block fears are so great that they stop people from starting anything new. How many incredible writers have strangled their best thoughts and ideas at inception? Sometimes, one wrong word is that is required.
Yet telling someone going through writer's block that all their fears are imaginary, that they don't really exist, rarely helps. What is not real to one person may be a glaring nightmare reality to someone else.
Could You Use A Fear Bottle Too?
At least one world famous novelist deals with fears in a remarkably effective way: she bottles them!
Yes, other people bottle wine and beer and pickled onions and more. However, our wonderful author doesn't do any of those things. She's too busy writing. Here's why.
If and when her fears well up, she handwrites each fear on a small piece of paper. Then rolls up all the notes, stuffs them in a bottle, screws the lid tight, and places her "fear bottle" on the top shelf in a rarely used room. She has to stand on a chair to reach the top shelf. So her fears are packed away out of easy reach.
Then she gets to work: writer's block banished for good — and a shelf full of curious glass bottles full of ... litter. The moral of the story: do whatever works for you.
Without doubt, there must be many unrealized yet talented communicators around the world disguised as housewives, office workers, seniors, steel workers, bricklayers, students, parents, school children, managers, professors, politicians, psychiatrists, doctors, and so on.
Everyone, and I mean absolutely everyone has something really worthwhile to teach others! Each of us formed into a human being against incredible odds: yet we are here; we made the journey beating thousands of "others".
We are all living a totally and utterly unique life, filled with tips, techniques and shortcuts that we may simply take for granted, yet which when shared with others, could save money, time, heartache, create joy, and more, if end users could but only gain access what we know. How is that possible, if we don't start, write, build, produce?
Tips To Help You Write And Share And Do What You Want To Do, Starting Today
Yes, the world is awash with an ocean of information and data. Yet, like a fine Malbec wine, good information that has particular worth and value, tends to rise to the surface, waving a big red flag, floating on a sea of minute irrelevancies.
What is red and floats on blue or green or grey ... gets noticed more easily.
Naturally, not everyone gets what you say. Though some will. And a few will use what you share to ponder, wonder, do more, build, and create.
Yet how do we share the gold that lies untapped in our minds, when we there's another little voice inside that tells us our gold is made of lead? Are we surprised that sometimes, we may simply don't know what to write?
If yes, consider the following tips and surprising guidelines to help get you started, of kick-start your own writing engine again:
- If you don't know what to write, just say what you want to say anyway. I know that sounds slightly nonsensical — please linger with me a little while longer. What I really mean here is don't accept defeat at the first hurdle. Know that most activities become simple with familiarity and practice.
For example, appreciate that the process of walking only three steps is incredibly complex. Yet if our legs work and we learn to walk, over time, the action appears to be so straightforward. In fact, we don't even think about how we walk: we just do walk. Therefore, simply get started writing and don't be too concerned about the first few "swipes."
- If you really, really can't get started then don't try to start at the beginning. Here's a big secret: professional writers often write introductions and start pages later, sometimes even waiting until the end.
Why? How can we introduce something that does not yet exist? That's why writing introduction text can be difficult when what we're introducing has itself not yet been written, or even fully formed in our minds. Create first, then you become more familiar with your topic so can "talk" more easily about your creation.
So the solution is to write some of the later materials first. As you do that, you become your own expert on your topic. Just start to write and open those floodgates.
- If you're still stuck, feel free to write anything about your topic, or even something entirely irrelevant if this approach helps your mind get into the writing mode.
Also, if you just write about what's on your mind, perhaps what is bothering you, what emerges may provide a clue, or even the full answer as to what is stopping you write about your target topic or theme. Feel free to bottle your writer's block piece by piece if necessary.
- Writing is a kind of mental muscle, the more you use that muscle, the looser and more relaxed your writing muscle feels.
- Don't be too concerned about introductions or beginnings. Why? As you write more about the substance of your piece, increased knowledge of exactly what you're writing about, can then provide all the stimulus you need to write your introductions. Alternatively, if you prefer, you can leave writing your introductions until the end.
- One effective, low pressure, yet fun way to stimulate your mental "juices" is to write some kind of daily journal, diary or web blog. Private records work can work remarkably well for some people. Others prefer a more public outlet.
- If you find that the act of trying to force yourself to write something "interesting" is still hard and causing you much anguish, then excellent: write about that! Why: emotion and passion really can get your attention and help you focus.
Through the power of applied focus, you writing can really take off! You can turn negative experiences into positive production and then, surprise, surprise, you may find that you can create what you wanted all along: a satisfactory outcome is waiting.
- You'll be amazed at what you may have to say when you have vented some frustration. Both excitement and its opposite, relaxation can help banish writer's block. Get to know what works for you.
- If your goal is to tire yourself, to force yourself to relax. After you get to just let off steam, you can find yourself in a relaxed frame of mind — equally good for creative production.
When you "chill out" or "lighten up", your mind can allow the flow of creative thoughts, ideas and words to almost fall from your fingers onto paper or screen.
- Editing too helps. Later, in your follow-up drafts, when you edit with the gusto, with your word-cutting knife so sharp, you feel each slice. The discarded fragments drop away. You can examine your excerpt and rearrange sentences and paragraphs, fix errors, and so forth. What's left is what works.
- If all else fails, try anger. Yes, negative emotions can help too. Get to know which emotive tools work best for you: annoyance, indignation, irritation, and frustration, or a mayhem mix of many more. Use whatever works for you to help get you over your writer's block.