Combating “writer’s block”

Technically, writer’s block is a real illness and short term “writer’s block” does not really exist, but here is a list of methods from a variety of sources that I have used along the way.

  1. Write for ten minutes everyday. Don’t miss a day or it will just be harder the next.
  2. Keep a list of words you like. When you can’t think of what to write, use this list of words to jump start writing.
  3. Free-write. Write on paper for five minutes about anything. Do not lift your pen or pencil up, just keep writing. If you have to, write “cats, cats, cats” until you think of something. Write what comes to mind first.
  4. Revise an old piece.
  5. Make a list of your own methods to get unstuck.
  6. Go on a walk or do some mindless task like washing dishes. Write about what you saw, thought, touched, smelled, or heard. Use the stronger bits of language for future pieces.
  7. Write about your day. Pay attention to the five senses. Make sure to include as many details as you can.
  8. Listen to music. Write about how it makes you feel. Lyrics may find their way into your writing and that’s okay. Let the music inspire you.
  9. Write lists. What makes you happy? What is your favorite song? Strong images? favorite places to go? Things you hate? Favorite foods?
  10. Of course, use prompts.
  11. Read about the craft of writing.

-the team at Sonder

Image Painting

Now, when we think of what an image is we tend to think of something that is described so beautifully and intricately. But this can sometimes be problematic.

Writers sometimes refer to this over descriptive tendency as “painting.” This involves an overuse of descriptive language, may that be adjectives or adverbs, to add to the image trying to be portrayed. If an image is painted too abstractly, readers may not even connect with the image at all. Sometimes it is best to just blatantly say the thing you are trying to portray. Of course, still apply the five senses when writing about the thing, but that type of tip is for a different day.

-the team at Sonder

Credit: The Practice of Creative Writing, Heather Sellers

Journaling

Have you run out of prompts? Are you tired of writing in general?

Journaling is your answer. Journaling can be and is any form of writing but the only rule is that you have to write! There are so many different types of journals that can be made.

Write about your day. Write about what makes you happy. Make a list of your favorite lyrics. Make a list of what you have accomplished in the day. Write about the trees. Write about anything. Write a list of your favorite words.

Just about anything you can think of is classified as journaling and you may find some really good material while you’re at it.

Try it out and let us know your results!

-The team at Sonder

Workshopping

I know everyone is scared to share their work with others. I mean I am still terrified and I have even led a workshop group! But nobody ever teaches anyone that it is important for others to read your work.

Feedback is so beneficial for growth! How are you supposed to learn anything if nobody ever tells you anything about your work? At least I was never taught until I was out of high school. The amount of young writing opportunities I could have had is crazy. So get a jump start, whatever age you may be!

Step 1: Share your work with friends and tell them to be cruel! You may be able to find writing friends too that will help you even more so. Remember to be nice but constructive.

Step 2: Join a workshop or critique group. These groups will help you meet new people plus you will be forced to do some writing! There will probably be chances for generative prompts. Take full advantage of these groups.

Step 3: Read your work aloud! It’s fun plus what is a better way to know if people like your work?

Step 4: Submit to lit mags! Some literary magazine will have the option for feedback with a small fee. Plus it never hurts to ask. That way you can have useful feedback from people on the publishing side of things. Sonder will do this for you for $1 a piece! See our submission guidelines for more info.

Step 5: WRITE. I cannot express this enough. I know life is busy and thins happen but you gotta keep writing in order to get better. Pretty cliche of me, but it is so true. Reading other work will also help.

-The team at Sonder

Wednesdays are Tip days

Submission guidelines are super important, if they weren’t nobody would have them. The number one rule to submitting to a magazine is “follow the submission guidelines”. Most likely if the guidelines are not followed the editors won’t take the time to read the work, they most likely throw it away immediately.

Check out our submission guidelines and make sure to submit! 

The Team at Sonder Midwest