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8 tips to combat writer's block

So you want to be an author? You have heard the old adage: Writers write. If you want to write the next Great American Novel, you had better get crackin'....

Starting is the hardest part. Keeping motivated is the second hardest part. And what happens when you just plain find yourself out of ideas or fresh material? I have a few thoughts on that.

1) NO IDEA IS TOO STUPID TO WRITE ABOUT. Get that out of your head immediately. Some of the most absurd and unconventional ideas turned into classical and well-loved stories. What if Jules Verne had never put pen to paper about his nonsensical trip into the center of the Earth? What if Stephen King hadn't decided to write about a girl with telekinetic powers? There are so many great reads out there that have nothing to do with the real world.

2) You don't have to finish one project in order to start another. Some of my best ideas come in the middle of something else that I am working on. At the bare minimum, save your work, open a new document, and write down the great idea that just popped into your head out of nowhere. You can thank me later.

3) Speaking of ideas, write them ALL down. You would be surprised at how fast a little pocket notebook will fill up with notes about stuff that can fuel your fire. Oh – and that bizarre dream you had last night? Write it down. That weird comment one of your friends just made? Write it down. It is all food for thought. Just yesterday I had a great idea for another novel and I was just sitting on my front porch looking at something in the neighbor’s yard. Seriously. The idea was so good I almost peed a little.

4) Overcome your fear of not being good enough or perfect enough or smart enough. Everyone started somewhere and you can bet their first draft wasn’t perfect. You can also bet their third draft wasn’t perfect either. My grandmother told me something when I was little: “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” The more you write, the better you will be at it.

5) Timing is everything, BUT don’t wait until you get an epiphany or ultimate inspiration. If you just aren’t feeling it, do take a break. Just don’t let that break turn into days or weeks or months or years. Go for a walk and clear your head. Have a cup of coffee. Pull weeds. Take a bath. Then get back in front of your computer.

6) Read. It sounds strange, but most great writers are also avid readers. Reading will provide inspiration like nothing else, especially if you are reading something that resonates with you personally and draws you in.

7) Set yourself a routine. Try to write at the optimum time of day for you. If you are a morning person, work in the morning. If you are a night owl, wait until after dark before you start banging the keyboard. If you write at the same time every day, your brain will be trained to be in the writing zone. Trust me.

8) Last, and by no means least DO NOT GIVE UP. You have a voice. You have talent. I believe in you…

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