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Getting Through Writer's Block: Some Tough Love From One Writer to Another

October 10, 2017

 

Sometimes we need a slap in the face by someone that loves us in order to get the hint that we’ve been screwing up for a while. This is my tough love to you on how to become a better writer. Of course you can always just read this, call it bullshit and then exit out of the tab; these are all just suggestions to help you if you’d like to improve your writing. If you’re like me, you’re probably asking yourself, “who does this bitch think she is, telling me how to write as if she’s somebody important?” Well, my mom says I’m important, so there.

 

Don’t Give Up

 

When I first began writing, the most annoying thing that would repeatedly happen and make me doubt my credibility as a writer was, you guessed it, writer’s block. Sometimes life is just boring; you keep repeating the same schedule, experiencing the same boring weather, eating the same diarrhea-inducing food from Sodexo and nothing, absolutely nothing, is inspiring you. If this is how you feel when you’re writing, well, I’m sorry to break it to you, suck it up. Writing is hard, writing interesting and worthwhile content is even harder, and it requires dedication. I don’t care if your hand is broken and you can’t physically type on the keyboard; put on the voice recognition app and make it a point to keep writing. Writing, as easy as it may sound to engineering majors who decide to point out the irrelevance of English majors at any point they can, requires dedication and practice. Before I began to take writing more seriously, I would only write if I had a sudden bout of inspiration. This writing method left me with just a handful of underdeveloped and incomplete short stories that I never finished because my inspiration was only temporary. It wasn’t until I threw the notion of inspiration out the window and set a word quota to fulfill each day did I begin to see drastic improvement in the quality and content of my writing.

 

Try Reading Something New

 

Imagine if you were listening to a group of musicians talking and one of them stated how they don’t listen to other music because they only like the sound of their own. Sounds ridiculous, right? One of the most pretentious things that I have ever heard exit a fellow writer’s mouth was “I don’t like reading other people’s work because I prefer my own.” Well, congratulations on the confidence, you sure have enough of that, but that is a ridiculous statement. You are the culmination of all the authors that you have read; if you consistently read subpar young adult vampire novels that you can buy at a supermarket, then your style of writing will resemble just that. Make it a point to read different genres to broaden your perspective on writing, maybe you’ll find out that you prefer historical fiction novels to young adult fantasy novels. Being a writer makes you an admirer of other writers and their work. If you aren’t actively consuming new reading material on a semi-regular basis, then you will find yourself in a state of writer’s block more often.

 

Lighten Up

 

Avoid taking yourself too seriously when you’re writing, especially if you are just starting. If you begin doubting your credibility as a writer or artist, then you are blocking yourself from ever progressing into the artist that you want to be. No story is too crazy or fantastical to be written; as long as the audience is convinced by what the author is saying, then any story is a good story. As you’re writing, keep in mind that it's OK to have mistakes and that those mistakes will help you grow as a writer. When I look at my beginning work as a writer, I always feel a mixture of pride and embarrassment. I’m proud to see my development as a writer throughout the years, and embarrassed to see that at one point I thought my teenage mermaid love story based in California was actually enjoyable to read. Unless you’re an angsty hipster from Brooklyn that insists on writing their next masterpiece on a vintage typewriter, relax. Backspace buttons and erasers are still a thing.

 

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