Everyone has a great book inside of them, or at least that’s the common misconception. Ask any reader and they would most likely tell you that they have a great idea for a novel, they just haven’t gotten a chance to write it yet. Writing is difficult and comes naturally to very few. So even though everyone may have a great idea, the challenge of writing a book is beyond the reach of most folks. If you are up to the challenge though, be aware that there are many pitfalls and hurdles to overcome. Oftentimes, the first wall that most writers hit is the dreaded Writer’s Block. When you know what you’re trying to say but you just can’t get it down on the page. We’ve all been there, but luckily there are a myriad of methods that could help you write up that story or article that has been sitting at the edge of your fingertips and get you closer to your dream of being on that best-seller list.
1. Write down whatever comes to your mind.
One trick is to just start writing. Even if the words that you are putting down are not going to be used, just typing ideas out will get things moving. Momentum when writing is key, just start rolling along and good ideas may just end up pouring out.
2. Write in short form.
When those ideas are flowing, write them out in short form. Spending too much time trying to figure out the wording can cause you to forget your next point.
3. Brainstorm some ideas.
Similar to writing in short form, brainstorming can be a useful first step when you first sit down to write. Write down the key concepts and ideas that you want to convey. Write down only a few words for each idea to avoid getting bogged down by details. Those will come back to you when you are writing. You can even use your brainstorm notes as a framework for your short form writing.
4. Skip and check later.
Can’t get that right word or sentence? Put it in brackets and come back to it later. What often happens (due to our limited short term memory) is that we will often continue repeating the same words or sentences in our head and not finding that word or idea that is at the tip of your fingertips. It doesn’t need to be perfect on the first time through, so mark it and give your brain a chance to forget the solutions that aren’t working so that you can come up with new ones later.
5. Avoid Perfectionism.
Ask any artist and they will be able to pinpoint flaws in their work that would otherwise be unnoticeable. We are often much more critical of ourselves and our own work than others are. Simply own your work and be confident that, even though it is not perfect in your eyes, what you are putting down on the page will all make sense.
6. Write in chunks.
Sometimes starting right at the beginning can slow you down since you spend too much time trying to piece out the right way to catch a reader’s attention. Consider starting midway through with the content that you know needs to be in piece of writing. By working this way you can make sure that all the points that you want to make are written down first, and the rest of the words that you write will be pertinent to what you are trying to convey.
7. Train yourself to write.
Writing is a skill that gets easier with practice. Think of writing like a puzzle, where all the pieces need to fit together to make a cohesive picture. The first time you do a puzzle it may take you a long time as you need to keep stopping to move and organize the pieces around, but the next time it may come a little bit easier as you learn how the puzzles work. Different and more difficult puzzles will pose less of a challenge as your eye gets better and faster at fitting together the pieces. The same will happen with writing, the more you do it, the easier it gets to fit words together and paint the picture that you have in your head.
8. Eat something healthy.
Look after your body and it will look after you. Just like your muscles, your brain needs energy to work. Make sure that you are eating fresh, healthy foods since vitamin balance and foods rich in antioxidants can help you work better. Eating healthy can boost your mood, allowing you to focus your thoughts and be more productive!
9. Have a nap.
Your brain needs sleep. If you feel sluggish and tired, take a quick nap. A 20 - 30 minute “cat-nap” may be just what it takes to get you refreshed and back to writing. A study by NASA found that a 40 minute nap can improve performance by 34% and alertness by a whopping 100%!
Writing requires more than just the talent and inspiration, it requires the drive to sit down and do it. If you’re having trouble getting started or getting through a tough piece, try a few of the above methods to get your creativity flowing. You just may have the next hit book on your hands!