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We have all heard that procrastination, frustration, and perfection are all causes of writer’s block, but in fact, they are only symptoms of the problem. More important than knowing that we are distracted, overly focused on a specific part of the project or that we are frustrated with the project for an unknown reason, we do better to get to the root causes of those obvious signs that something is stuck in our writing process.
I have come up with five basic causes of writer’s block.

1) Myth of Waiting for Inspiration

One reason is that many people have the misconception that you have to always be inspired to write. The truth is, writing is work. As Thomas Alva Edison once said, “Genius is ten percent inspiration and ninety percent perspiration.”
As writers who may have been at this a while, it is not necessarily that easy. Sit in the chair and the words will come. That might have work with fans to Kevin Costner’s movie Field of Dreams, but this is no fictional movie. Giving proper and space is only part of the solution. Even with proper space and time, the writing process may not work when a writer has a serious case of writer’s block.
Waiting for inspiration is like waiting for a fly to land on your nose. It may or may not happen any time soon, however, the fly comes a lot easier if you bait your nose first with honey. Yes, you’ll have a sticky nose, but the flies will come. Inspiration comes more easily when you’ve primed the word pump. This is why writing prompts are so effective in bringing out our muse.

2) You Don’t Know What to Write

You have reached the point in the writing process you hit a glitch for which you don’t have an easy solution. This can cause the symptom of procrastination. It can also cause the symptom of perfectionism. You keep working over the same territory of your manuscript again and again because you don’t know where to go from here.
When you see yourself where you don’t know what to write, look for what is information is missing and keeping you from going forward.

3) Information Overload

Just as not having enough information to move forward can cause you to get stuck, having information overload can also cause writer’s block. You have so much information in your head that you don’t know where to start or you start something, only to stop in the middle of the process because you have so many ways that you could proceed that you are stuck.
This was a problem I had when I first started writing. I had so many ideas that I didn’t know which idea I should follow. What if this idea turned out to be a dead end? Rather than muddling through the pile of ideas, I would get stuck. I decided to do it later. Later, didn’t come for a long, long time.

4) Life Getting In the Way

Too many things to do that do not involve writing interfering with your writing process can also be a reason for writer’s block. It’s the idea that life gets in the way. The cure for this is better organization and focus. Setting aside time to write every day, even just fifteen minutes per day can help keep this cause of writer’s block at arm’s length.
Again, this is another reason for having a writer’s block. This reflects the idea of “doing it tomorrow” and then dreading the tomorrow that never comes.

5) Real or Imagined Fear

Cause five: of writer’s block that I have identified is fear (real or imagined) It can be of the subject matter or it can be caused by something in your real life environment.
In some cases, you might determine that fear of a subject means that it might be necessary to let the project go. Other times it might mean that you should square your shoulders and move on into the project with your head held high and your weapons ready for battle. However, most often, our fears are not real, but are imagined. We make the issues about the book and not what is really bothering use, but is about how we think about our own abilities to write the book.
We also are afraid how what we are writing will be received by our audience and in the process we freeze. It’s like being on the stage during a rehearsal and freezing because someday an audience will eventually see what we have written. It makes no more sense for us writers than it does for an actor on stage.
Simply understanding these causes of writer’s block may be enough for some people to overcome this malady, however, next week we will dig deeper and examine some of the solutions to the problem of writer’s block.

IMG_8330 final copy

Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church  1 1/2 miles south of Brandsville, Missouri on Hwy 63. Sunday services are at 10 am and Wednesday night Bible Study at 6:30 pm.   As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga

Her most recent publication were two booklets Help From Kelp and Using Diatomaceous Earth Around the House and Yard. Available in paperback.

.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .


My affirmation for November was that I write a novel every November for NaNoWriMo. This month was no exception. As you can see, I wrote the entire first draft of my novel The Anvil in less than 30 days. I currently have over 56 thousand words written.  I actually had that first draft completed and turned in by the twentieth. Like last year, I moved during this time, but I still got it all done.

What should I do now?

Cygnet Brown writing.

Working on Two Nonfiction Books

In addition to the The Anvil, I worked on two nonfiction books about overcoming writer’s block.These two books are moving along amazingly fast. I have almost 15 thousand words in both nonfiction books. One book is regards fiction writing and writer’s block and the other regards nonfiction and writer’s block. I am certain that you will be hearing more about these books in the days to come.

The Final Edits on Sailing Under the Black Flag

Finally, in addition to working on the novel and the two new nonfiction books, I am working on the final edits of Sailing under the Black Flag. By the end of next month, I have promised to get a copy of this book to my first beta reader so that she can do her part in the editing process.
December’s Affirmation: I am Forward Thinking
Can you believe that a year is already almost over? In December, I am going to be looking over the past year to see how much has changed during this year. I am also going to be looking ahead at the upcoming year. Rather than waiting for January to determine what 2016 will be like, I will do so in December. I will make a few quick adjustments next month so that I can make 2016 an even better year than 2015 has been.

IMG_8330 final copy

Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church in Brandsville, Missouri.  As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .


What should I do now?

What should I do now?

You have been meaning to write for days now. Every day you look at your desk and think, perhaps I will start tomorrow. Tomorrow however never seems to come. Ah, you think, you must have writer’s block.
You were excited about this project for a while. You sat down and wrote out your first chapter and even the outline for how your book was going to go. Then you went back and edited chapter one again and again. It never seems like it will ever be right. You’re stuck because you can’t get beyond editing chapter one.
You have a deadline looming and you feel like the walls are caving in on you. The song comes on your oldies station and the words “time keeps on slipping slipping slipping into the future” mocks you as you sit there, afraid that you won’t have anything to present at the deadline. You wish that you had not procrastinated this assignment but you did and you can’t roll back the clock now.
You have been working on writing projects for days, months. You have been putting out ream after ream of work and sending it out only to have it rejected time after time. Now you are sitting in front of the computer wondering if you are really a writer or if you have simply been fooling yourself into believing that you could write in the first place. You are paralyzed. What if what you write now won’t be good enough either?
You have researched and researched your topic. You have read forty books both in print and on e-book. You have scanned hundreds of websites and now you are stumped about where to go from here.
You have worked and worked on this project and you are burned out. You feel as though you want to throw the book out the window. You feel as though something is wrong, but you don’t know what it is, however, you no longer have the energy to put into this project.
If any of these sound like you, you have a diagnosis of writer’s block.
What can you do? Your editor, your instructor, your teacher, your mentor, and even your significant other tell you all you need to do is sit down and write. So you sit down. You stare at the computer screen and still the words do not come. You turn on your favorite oldies radio station and the Song “Fly like an Eagle” by The Steve Miller Band is on. Your time keeps on slipping slipping slipping into the future. If you don’t get some words on your computer screen. You now have doubts that you’ll get a passing grade, you’ll meet your deadline, or even whether you’re cut out to be a writer at all.

Basic Causes of Writer’s Block

Writer’s Block comes four basic causes:

  1. You don’t know what to write
  2. You have too many ideas and can’t figure out where to begin.
  3. You have an underlying physiological or psychological problem that prevents you from writing. (No that doesn’t mean you’re crazy.)
  4. You haven’t disciplined yourself to write on a regular basis using a specific process.

What To Do About Writer’s Block

Based on our four causes, I am going to share four basic ways that you can fight writer’s block:

  1. If you don’t know what to write, Brainstorm various ideas.
  2. If you have too many ideas and can’t figure out where to begin- Do a brain dump, dump all of your writing ideas as well as any other things that are on your mind. Then prioritize and put what you have written down into some sort of order.
  3. If you have an underlying physiological or psychological problem that prevents you from writing, journal about what is going on in your life that is keeping you from writing.
  4. If you lack discipline, determine to write on a regular basis at the same time and place every day. Even if all you have is fifteen minutes between brushing your teeth and making lunch, Write every day and develop a specific writing process.

Writing A Book About Writer’s Block

I know that writer’s block and its causes and the solution to those problems is a far more complicated subject. That is why I have determined to write a book about the subject. I will share more information in my upcoming posts.

IMG_8330 final copy

 

Donna Brown is the pastor at Faith in God Church, Brandsville, Missouri. Under her pseudonym,  Author Cygnet Brown, she  has published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .

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