Let me save you the time and trouble. However, this time it felt right to take new chapters each week to my critique group as I wrote them.
I stopped writing fiction for two months recently--the first time I have ever stumbled to a complete halt. I couldn't focus on fiction when truth seemed so much stranger.
I had sent the first pages of my new novel to my agent. Life isn't getting any cheaper and fiction isn't any getting any easier to sell. With so many great reasons to quit, why did I feel compelled to beat back writer's block? Because I feel horrible if I'm not writing, and decent-to-amazing when I am.
Writing fiction is my portal to another life.
When the words are flowing, nothing in my "ordinary" life feels impossible, from dishes to democracy. So I had to find ways to reboot my creative habits. In doing so, I stumbled onto a few new tricks that might help you, too: Switch Up Your Schedule Before this particular hiatus, I would get up and exercise, do half an hour of social media, then dive into my paid freelance projects.
Only when all of those "must do" things were completed did I "allow" myself to write fiction. Since that wasn't working anymore, I decided to switch up my schedule and try writing first thing in the morning--before I exercise, and often before I even get dressed--just for an hour.
If I have an early morning conference call or deadline, I get up an hour earlier to write fiction. Then I quit after that hour, do my day job and house chores, then get back to my novel after dinner for what I call "play time.
Read Books about Writing I hardly ever read self-help books for writers. I'm too big-headed, thinking, Hey, I already have an MFA and have published six novels, plus many more ghostwritten books.
What else is there for me to learn? So, when my good friend, the writer Maddie Dawsongave me a book called Writers on Writing edited by Meredith Maran, I said a gracious thank you, but set the book aside. Then the book mysteriously drifted to the top of the stack on my nightstand, and one night I started flipping through it.
This book turned out to be just the nudge I needed, with advice from writers I admire and their own tales of doubt. For instance, bestselling author David Baldacci, of all people, writes, "Every time I start a project, I sit down scared to death that I won't be able to bring the magic again.
I do, too, especially when I have a contract with a tight deadline. Even without a contract, I have traditionally given myself word counts to ensure that the work keeps progressing. When my writing screeched to a halt, I felt terrible when I couldn't make my word counts, but some days I just couldn't do it.Write to learn, learn to write, write some more to learn some more, etc.
One last note, this one about storytelling. Again, based on your question, I took this to mean not fiction, but narrative nonfiction. Feb 07, · If you still can't see the direction after doing those two things, write another fifty pages and try this exercise again.
Nov 02, · NaNoWriMo always makes me excited to start writing again, just like fitness challenges excite me to eat kale salads and workout a little harder. If you’re even slightly a competitive person, join a challenge or contest with a deadline and specific goals in mind.
Most people will tell you to just start writing, and keep writing, but I don't agree. It's not enough to just write every day if you don't know what you're doing. That just . I'd suggest writing maybe fifty or a hundred pages, then stop, read what you have, and outline where you want the book to go.
Then write a book jacket description--something you imagine as marketing copy for your book. If you still can't see the direction after doing those two things, write another fifty pages and try this exercise again.
A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to My Laptop. Typically, I write my entire first draft without getting feedback, with the “door closed,” as they say, a la Stephen King.
However, this time it felt right to take new chapters each week to my critique group as I wrote them.