Random Inspirations

Welcome to my blog, full of fun inspirations and insights on writing, self-publishing, and more!

5 Ways to Vanquish Writer’s Block

Writer’s block is the evil troll of the literary process, every writer’s nemesis. It strikes us all periodically, but how to lessen it? Here are five tried-and-true techniques I employ to tame the beast that is writer’s block.

Writer's block is the evil troll of the literary process.

Writer’s block is the evil troll of the literary process.

1. Make an outline. Before I even start a manuscript, I draft a short summary of my novel’s main sections. Then, I use that summary to create an outline, with a sentence or two to describe the events of each chapter. It’s a given that, as I write, I deviate from the original outline, adding and subtracting as the characters evolve. Nevertheless, I’ve found that knowing where I’ll be going next (outlining) helps me to get there (finished manuscript) with less roadblocks (i.e. writer’s block).

2. Keep a notebook. Make sure it’s compact and portable. Sometimes I have a sudden inspiration for a dialogue or scene in the chapter I’m working on, but I can’t write it on my computer immediately. My sparkly, animal-print mini-notebook is full of such inspirations. As soon as I can return to my writing, the ideas are already there and my creative juices are flowing, which in turn allows the words to flow across the page.

3. Don’t force it. If you’re serious about writing, you should do it regularly, preferably every day. In fact, you should feel compelled to do it from the depths of your soul. That’s what makes us writers. But if your schedule is running you ragged, you’re sick, or you’re just plain exhausted, do yourself and your manuscript a favor and take a little break. Rejuvenate, and you’ll come back stronger tomorrow.

4. Start and end your writing sessions right. At the beginning of your writing session, reread your last passage. This refreshes your memory and prepares you to plunge confidently into the next segment. At the end of your writing session, try a technique I learned at a writing conference: end where you know what will happen next. This could mean stopping in the middle of a scene, or at the end of a chapter. If you know how your next section will begin, you’ll not only end this writing session strongly, you’ll start the next one strongly.

5. Brainstorm. Sometimes, writer’s block rears its ugly head simply because we’re humans, not idea machines. Our creative tides ebb and flow. That’s why it’s imperative to have that handful of special people to bounce ideas off while writing. At one crossroads in my manuscript, I was unsure which path to take, and had two ideas, neither of which seemed good enough. Brainstorming with my mom and Antonio helped me to think of a completely different and better path, and I couldn’t wait to resume writing. Take that, writer’s block!!

These are the only kind of blocks that are fun to play with.

Good luck banishing writer’s block. These are the only kind of blocks that are fun to play with;)

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Chance to Dance Finale

Best wishes for a bright and sparkling New Year! Here’s hoping 2013 will be the best year yet.

Now that I’ve (mostly) recovered from the NYE festivities, it’s time to post some fun MG creative writing. In the last installment of One Last Chance to Dance, Arianna has her long-awaited audition. Will Ethan cooperate? And even if he does, will Arianna and Ethan’s best be good enough to beat Meredith and company?

Read on to find out!

Here's my illustration of our heroine.

Here’s my illustration of our heroine. She’s got pizzazz!

Once again, Arianna was paired with Ethan on audition day. And, once again, Arianna was the last to try out. Emily and Katie’s auditions had been disastrous. Emily’s dance partner had twirled her the wrong way, and she’d almost spun right into the speakers. Katie had refused to hold hands with her partner, and had seemed so appalled by him that she’d barely done her dance steps at all. Meredith had changed the entire routine, dancing arrogantly in front of her partner instead of beside him.

Arianna’s heart raced as she and Ethan took center stage. “Good luck, Ethan,” Arianna said, hoping he wouldn’t embarrass her.

The up-beat mood of the jazz music was infectious. Arianna relaxed as she grabbed Ethan’s sweaty hands, dancing just like she’d practiced with her father . Surprisingly, Ethan did not mimic Arianna, nor did he step on her toes. By the end of the routine, Arianna thought he’d enjoyed himself almost as much as she had.

Arianna sucked in her breath as she sat down next to Bethany, who gave her an enthusiastic thumbs-up. There was a tense, breathless silence as everyone waited for the judging panel to finish conferring. The only noise in the dance studio was the soft murmur of the judges’ voices.

After what seemed like an eternity, Ms. Indyk said, “It is with great pleasure that I announce our star of the Spring Recital, a girl who dances wonderfully alone, but has also learned the importance of teamwork.”

 Meredith straightened her spine, and glanced dismissively at the other girls, as if preparing for her singular honor.

Arianna twisted her silver hair ribbons around her fingers, gnawing her bottom lip. She felt nowhere near as self-assured as Meredith seemed.         

Ms. Indyk glowed. “And our star…is…Arianna!”

Arianna let out her breath like a gust of wind. She’d been so nervous that she hadn’t even realized she’d been holding it.

Everyone clapped enthusiastically, except Meredith. “But Auntie! Who needs teamwork?” she protested. “It should be about the best dancer, not dancers!”

“It is about the best dancer. Arianna performs beautifully alone and with a partner.”

Meredith scowled as Arianna raised her hand, feeling shell-shocked but ecstatic. “One question, Ms. Indyk? In the recital, will I dance alone or with a boy?”

“Alone,” Ms. Indyk answered. “It’s all you.”

Arianna smiled and thought, Dancing with boys isn’t so bad after all…but, for now, I still prefer to dance alone.



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