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Emma Leigh Reed
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Overcoming Writer's Block
When that big mental block hits, how do you get past it? Writer’s block is a writer’s nightmare. I had taken a hiatus from writing for about six months due to some personal issues. Yet when coming back to it, I suddenly faced that monster in the closet – writer’s block. How do you get past that?
There are several ways to move around it, ones that I am working on. I can say I haven’t pushed all the way through it as of now, but writing this blog alone is progress over writer’s block. I have several ways to work through this. Remember these all take time. You are not going to start one of these activities and find the writer’s block gone. Well, maybe you will – and if you do, consider yourself very lucky!
Writing sprints: Writing sprints are a great way to have the support of other writers. Every winter I join the Ruby-Slippered winter writing festival. They have timed writing sprints throughout the day and evening for anyone to join. Basically you are a group of writers in a chat room and write as much as you can for 20 minute intervals, checking in with everyone at the end of the intervals. I have had times in writing sprints where I have accomplished nothing. Not a great feeling for someone who is so competitive, but it pushes me to try further.
Journal Writing: Writing in a journal is another way to break through writer’s block. Write personal experiences, the struggles of writing, whatever may come to your mind.
Don’t isolate yourself! Meet in person with other writers if possible. There is something about being with another writer, who understands the difficulties that can give you renewed inspiration and motivation.
Keep track of your writing. I keep a calendar with how much I have written each day. Yes, lately I have a bunch of goose eggs on it. But when those new numbers start popping up, reward yourself!
For those who love to write, writer’s block can be devastating. But build yourself up again by trying some of the above steps. Remember why you write. For me it is the love of putting my emotions on the paper. Today, I’m celebrating. I just took another huge junk out of my writer’s block!
A Note from the Book Boost: Emma, I've been there and done that. Just emerging from a little slump myself. I think the sprints work best for me because I can easily commit to those short goals. Thanks for hanging with us today. Please share a sample of your latest with us.
Excerpt from Mirrored Deception:
“I will not hire a bodyguard!” Jayla Ralston stormed across the room. She righted a small bookshelf and started picking up the books from the floor. “You’re overreacting once again.” Jayla couldn’t believe her sister would even suggest such a thing.
“How can you say that?” Jenna’s eyes moved over the mess as she racked her fingers through her hair. “Your apartment has been broken into and trashed. You’re being impossible. What do you think Mom and Dad would want you to do if they were here?”
“That’s a completely unfair question.” Jayla closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Jenna had a way of hitting below the belt using their parents to create guilt, knowing only too well it worked every time.
Jayla grabbed the broom from the closet off the living room to sweep up the broken shards of glass from pictures that had been scattered about the room. “I will think about it, okay?” she whispered, only wanting to make peace with her twin.
“You know I love you, Jayla. I just don’t want anything to happen to you.” Jenna’s voice softened. “I worry about you.”
“I know, but you really don’t have to. I don’t think he will bother me again.” Jayla’s voice broke. She wished she could show more confidence. Looking at the two of them was like looking in a mirror. They were identical, and yet very different.
“I’ve got to go, sis. Will you be okay?”
“Of course, Jen. I’m fine. I’ll just clean up.” Jayla walked her to the door and hugged her close. “I love you. Please don’t worry.”
As she shut the door and turned to survey the damage: the overturned chair and knick-knacks scattered about the living room, Jayla choked back the tears. How could he have done this to her? Her pictures of her family were broken and strewn about the floor. A bodyguard wasn’t needed. What was needed to get away from it all.
She turned and headed to the bedroom. Dragging a couple of suitcases out of the closet, Jayla started throwing clothes into them. She debated whether to call Jenna and decided against it. She wanted to disappear and give herself a chance to think. Jenna would only be telling her she couldn’t run from her problems, but to meet them head on.
She needed more than this. Jayla slammed the suitcases, grabbed her laptop and headed outdoors. She threw the bags in the trunk and gave a good look around the parking lot. Convinced no one was around, she jumped in and started the car. She pulled her hair back in an elastic band and pulled from the parking lot. With no destination in mind, Jayla aimed for the coast.
For the first few miles, Jayla kept a watchful eye out for anyone following. After an hour it became clear she was the only one on the road. Her grip loosened on the steering wheel, the tension leaving her shoulders. As she rolled the windows down to smell the cool ocean breeze, Jayla’s mind wandered. She wanted her life back -- yet, she wanted a different life. She was filled with many regrets of late.
Driving the coastal route, she paid no mind to the time until her stomach grumbled reminding her she’d missed dinner, and she became very aware of the time. Dark shadows had crept across the landscape. She clicked on the headlights, realizing the gas gauge read empty. How could she take off on a whim without thinking of fueling up? She could hear levelheaded Jenna now -- “never thinking”.
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