Monday, June 29, 2020

How to Overcome Your Writing Fear With Mind Games

When I want to sit down and write, I start thinking about all sorts of different mind tricks to help me get my work done.  That's what we're going to start looking at today, so you can choose the ones you feel the most comfortable with.

You're probably thinking 'why can't I just use willpower?', sometimes willpower isn't enough.  Fear is the something that protects us from any distress we may be feeling.  Or maybe a past experience has told us that we're not entitled to any kind of special help.  If you suffer from this kind of fear, maybe you should set a little time to ask yourself why you have such an adverse reaction when you start writing.

Here are some mind tricks to help you get started:

1. Lying

This approach, as you can see, is top of the list because it's so effective.  Telling yourself writing is a fun activity can really help you get through that first draft, or blog post, if you're struggling.  It can be hugely freeing to tell yourself no one else knows what you're writing except you. 

You can use this further on in your fiction writing and turn it into an intellectual exercise to see if you can improve your story.  This gives you time to focus on it deeply, and allow your voice to have freedom.
2. Write Without Any Boundaries

This can often be attributed to the time of day you decide to write in.  Some writers like to start early in the morning and get their work done, others feel night is the best time to let their creativity run wild.  It all depends on how much willpower you have at that particular part of the day.  Another way of tricking your mind is to play music, or sounds found in nature like the weather.  This will help distract your brain just enough to keep you writing or at least get you started.

3. Timer 
You can do this by using a timer on your computer, your mobile phone, or tablet.  All you need to do is set it to how long you want to write for, for example you might feel like a long session, so you might want to set your timer for an hour.  Or maybe you only have twenty minutes that particular day, so you set it to twenty minutes.  This can work for various areas of your writing, like editing, writing the first draft, outlining, or even brainstorming a story or nonfiction book idea. 

4. Just Write Anything

If you're really in trouble, just sit down and write anything that comes into your head.  What most writers don't realise is that the process itself is a one of failure.  Which is why writing anything is an important part of writing your first draft.

As writers we are fervent readers, otherwise why would we write? Which means we've spent years and years with our noses buried deep in books.  All of which have been skilfully written, edited and published.  It's little surprise that when we start our own writing, reality sets in, and all we see is poorly written prose.  Which is crude, clumsy, full of plot holes, and mistakes that would put any writer to shame.

Quick tip: Save each draft as you go along, this will allow you to go back to a previous one if you need it further down the line. 

A Few Words for the More Experienced Writer

After you've published your first three or four books, you may begin to lament the whole 'vomit draft' method, and long for editing to become easy.

The good news is that the more you edit your writing the easier it becomes, because as they say 'practice makes perfect'.  Your first drafts will slowly start to get better with each book you write.  Making you a more accomplished and experienced writer, and  you'll know what you need to make your book great, this is true for all authors.

You could try a bit of mind mapping or outlining before you start writing.  If that isn't your style, go back to the way you work best, by getting your words out onto a page.  But most of all don't worry about it!

Some Points to Think About on Your Blossoming Talent as a Writer

The craft of writing takes years to hone, which means you slowly start to get better.  But this comes at a price of putting more pressure on yourself as you start testing new ground.  This can often mean you're back at the beginning again if you're writing outside of your chosen genre. But it's not all doom and gloom, the learning curve is an important part of writing.  No matter what level you're at, there's always something new to learn.

Which is why the lying method is such a useful tool, when you want to take the pressure off.

Why Having Fun is so Important When You Write

When you start writing seriously, having fun can often be the last thing on your mind, because your sole intention is to make money.  And this means meeting every deadline you set for yourself, now matter what it costs.

Unfortunately over time this way of thinking can become a bit stale, and take away the reason why you started to write in the first place.  After all, writing is freedom and being your own boss, not having the usual nine to five work routine, or working under someone else.  Couple this with what you need to  make financially, and your working life can start to feel like a nightmare.

It's so easy to lose focus, and while away your days on social media.  This is why you need to hoodwink yourself with mind games and trickery, while reminding yourself why you started writing in the first place.  At the sametime calling to mind how fortunate you are to be sitting in front of your computer thinking of something amazing to write.

All of the parts of your job like social media marketing, and managing your blog, they're all small components of what you do.  Just remember the fun part is writing, and being able to put what you're thinking about onto a page for the whole world to see.

  • Use lying and mind games whenever necessary!
  • Play some music or right first thing in the morning if it helps.
  • Time your writing sessions.
  • Save numerous versions in case you need to go back!
  • Even when you think you're failing, you're still improving.
  • Tell yourself regularly you're writing for fun!

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