Tag Archives: writers’ block

NLP for Writers

How you think, your beliefs and experiences impact on what you tell yourself and others and what happens as a result. If you’d like something different to happen, something better, then come to this workshop and find out how NLP can help your writing.

I’m running an NLP for Writers online workshop via Skype with webcams on please April 15th 8pm onwards. Cost is £10 . I’m going to cover strategies and techniques for keeping on track, overcoming limiting beliefs and writers’ block, confidence for approaching agents and publishers and resourceful beliefs around skills, prioritising your own needs etc. It’s relevant for non-fiction writers, fiction, children’s fiction, bloggers …

Online event

15th April 8pm

Skype – judy.bartkowiak

£10 via Paypal

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Focusing on your goal

I think most writers would agree that from time to time they lose their way a bit. We can get distracted by Facebook or by the housework, a book that will surely help us or writing something else that has suddenly taken our interest. We , like dieters, get really cross with ourselves and say “well that was a wasted day, I may as well not bother now because I’m not going to meet my daily wordcount goal.”

distractions

Instead let’s reframe the distraction. Meet it headlong and ask it what it has for you. How could you use the distraction to your advantage? Here are some ideas.

1. So you find yourself on Facebook or Twitter and you need to be writing your oeuvre.

How about asking your friends what a word you’re writing in your book, means to them. Ask them what they feel about the subject you’re writing about. Ask them for their favourite word. Maybe you can use it. Put out a plea for a quote that you could use. Ask favourite colour , maybe your character could wear something that colour. What is the most bizarre name they have ever heard of? What is the strangest sounding place name? Use your distraction to move you on with your book.

2. You’ve found yourself in Youtube and you’re getting carried away some place else.

Well this is fine, it is research isn’t it? Search for videos on subjects your character might be interested in. Search for videos on the same subject you’re writing on. Think about how you might post a Youtube video on your blog, you could take your smartphone and do it right now. Video posts or vloggs are very popular and drive a lot of traffic to your blog. Talk to camera about where you are in your story what’s the block, what are your options. This will engage with your readers and make them ten times more likely to follow your blog so they find out when you’re book’s coming out.

3. While you’re researching you find someone’s blog with some great posts on. If only you could write like that …. blah blah blah

Of course there are better writers out there and that’s good isn’t it? Who wants to read rubbish anyway? So what makes their writing good? What can you learn from it? Do they have a great way of starting a new paragraph or concept? Have a go at doing the same yourself. Do they use some great adjectives, copy them into your work. Obviously you aren’t taking the whole sentence but play around with some of the words you like.

4. For some reason you know not why, you’re doing the housework.

Well you character may have a view about housework. What would their view be? How would they approach the housework? Which would they like doing first and what would be left til last? Are they someone who hates to stick their hand down the toilet or are they someone who has to hunt out every cobweb. Do the housework like your character and get some more insight into their nature.

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5. I know it, you’re gazing out of the window

Who could be there? What might your character see? What will they do? Who do they least want to see? How could you make something happen that will be exciting and unexpected? What’s the most random thing that could happen now? If this doesn’t fit into your story or you’re writing non-fiction then how is what you are feeling or seeing at this moment a metaphor for the subject you’re writing about? Could it make a good blog post?

So here you have it. This blog post started by me looking out of the window and noticing how the frost on the leaves has gone and wondering what the garden will look like tomorrow when I wake up as there’s snow forecast. For me this reminded me how different my page looks when it’s full of writing, like the bushes covered in frost. The page looks attractive to me but underneath the blank page where I am about to write, looks bare and ugly so I want to fill it.

Homeopathy and writer’s block

What is writer’s block?

Endless staring at a blank page or word document, the twiddling of a pen between your fingers, frequent visits to Facebook or the fridge, many cups of tea.

That idea is in the back of your mind, but it’s shy. Somehow it has to be fully formed before it leaps, sparkling and singing, onto your page.

Somewhere between your reticent idea and your fat, beautifully covered novel or red-carpet movie première are a bundle of words that need to be herded together and fed through the pasture gate in perfect order.

But let’s face it, the material reality of the fat novel or the movie première is scary. Is it an impossible goal? Am I punching too far above my weight? Do my words have worth? Will they ever make it into print or on the screen?

Best let them lurk, let them slink, solitary-like, around the recesses of my mind. If I put them down on the page then I commit to action. I commit to my dream. I might succeed, but then again, I might fail, and I’m not sure which is more scary.

The enormity of the task facing writers is probably the biggest barrier to finishing, or even starting, a serious piece of writing. In the course of writing a serious piece of art, your whole self will be jolted, provoked, tested, stretched, piqued. In essence, you will come face to face with yourself. Homeopathic treatment can help you face your demons, understand your grief, unravel your traumas, and clear the way to superb, enlightened writing.

On the other hand, you may be totally sorted and none of that applies to you. It could just be that you are simply blank. You haven’t got a single witty word to say.

So write that down. “I haven’t got a single witty word to say.” Keep going. “My mind is blank. There are no thoughts in my mind.” Keep going. “Oh look – a squirrel has just climbed the tree outside my window. I wonder if it has a mate? Are they going to have a squirrel party? Squirrel parties are cool: they….”

See what has just happened? You have used the principles of homeopathy to lead to writing. Homeopathy rests on the Law of Similars – that which causes the disease can cure the disease. So what cures a blank mind? An even blanker mind!

That is why meditation (or allowing your mind to be empty) before writing is probably the biggest cure of writer’s block, and the greatest engenderer of fine creative thought and writing.

Homeopathic treatment combined with meditation will lead to untold creative fertility. I should know – I do both, and have just completed my first feature-length movie screenplay.

If you would like more information on how homeopathy can help your creative process, or fancy a bit of coaching to get your writing juices flowing, please contact me on 07885 529060

Julia Lockwood BA RSHom, homeopath and writer.

http://marlowhomeopath.wordpress.com/

Julia works as a freelance writer and homeopath for The Alternative Writing Doctor, based in Marlow, Buckinghamshire.

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Stretch before you exercise your pen

Do you ever sit at your desk or table gazing outside, hoping that the words will flow and you can move on with your chapter? I know I do sometimes. However disciplined I am, however motivated to complete a project and meet a deadline there will often be times when I find my attention wandering. We were talking about it in our writing group meeting yesterday in fact. One member (you know who you are!) said “Surely that’s part of the writing process?”

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Yes of course it can be, but is it always so? Just as we stretch before we exercise in order to warn our muscles to prepare for exercise and get them warmed up and ready for action, so too should we do the same for our writing arm and our creative brain.

I studied in Creative Writing with the Open University and one of the ‘stretching exercises’ we did, and there were many so sign up as a Blog Follower and make sure you get them, was this one.

Step 1. Write the letters A – Z down the left hand side of a piece of A4 paper.

Step 2. Alongside each one write your favourite word that starts with that letter. There may be several favourites so for the purpose of this exercise just write one of them down, the first one that comes to mind perhaps. After all, you’ll have other opportunities to use other favourite words. Some letters may have you temporarily stumped so just leave them. This isn’t a test.

Step 3. Now make up a story using all those lovely words. See how many you can use in the shortest possible story. Give yourself a deadline. A good deadline could be to say to yourself “I’m going to write my story in the next hour and then have a coffee and get on with my novel.”

By allowing your creative brain to wander off and yet give it a project to do, we offer it a warm- up before the real exercise of the day which is the writing we are working on.

Let me know how it goes. Maybe it’ll be the start of a new novel!

Sign up as a Blog Follower to get more stretching exercises for writers.

Top 10 tips for tackling writers’ block.

I belong to a number of Linked In and Facebook groups for writers as well as a local writers group and a national children’s writing group so I am in touch with lots of professional writers as well as many who write for pleasure with no thought of being published. A frequent complaint is that writers get writer’s block. If you sometimes suffer from this perhaps I can help? I am an NLP Master Practitioner and use NLP both in my own writing and to help others by coaching.

writers block

Here are some top tips.

1. Being a writer is your identity, it is not just ‘something I do’. You are a writer whether you write full or part time. Recognise this at a deep level that being a writer is who you are as well as what you do. You write because it matters to you and because it fulfills your sense of purpose.

2. Make your writing space work for you. Make it special and conducive to writing. Be able to close the door on distractions and own your space.

3. Make sure that you always have something to write on and with in your handbag or briefcase. You are a writer and you need to write. Sometimes you may be in the car waiting at the school, waiting for a train, on the train or plane. Use these times to write.

4. Visualise the block. What does it look like? Your thoughts control your behaviour so imagine the ‘block’ as something like jelly that you can easily overpower. Make it a colour you like and one that you are attracted to rather than one that threatens you.

5. Some writers have a problem starting a piece and sit staring at a blank screen. Start anywhere. It does not have to be the beginning, start half way through and add the beginning later.

6. Read! The more you read and enjoy words, the more you want to use them in your writing. Use a notebook to record words you have encountered in your reading. Take 6 of them at random and make up sentences from them. Then turn the sentences into a story. You’re writing now!

7. “I can’t think what to write” is a common problem expressed by writers. Challenge this inner dialogue by asking it “What if you could think what to write?” and then “What would it look like? What would it sound like? What would it feel like?”

8. Have ‘towards’ goals. Aim to write for a certain length of time or a certain number of words. Set the goal at a level you know you can easily achieve.

9. You DO have time to write. Delegate or dump things that have no value to you as a writer so you can do your writing.

10. Your thinking controls your actions. By thinking you have writer’s block you will make it a self fulfilling prophesy. Believe instead that you are a writer with something to write. Just DO IT. Trying to do it will not work as there is built in failure in the word ‘try’.

Judy Bartkowiak runs a Distance Learning course in NLP for Writers. Contact her now judy@hitchamvale.co.uk or Skype her judy.bartkowiak to find out more.