Writing Tips

When Writer’s Block is Caused by a Lack of Time

As noted in the introductory blog, “5 Reasons Behind Writer’s Block,” there are several reasons why writers are often prevented from writing. The six primary reasons include:

  • Lack of Time to Write
  • Sickness
  • Work
  • Lack of Creativity
  • Home Responsibilities
  • ***Fear*** (I am adding this in response to the comments I received on the original post)

The first step to overcoming Writer’s Block comes from the need to discover why the writer is blocked in the first place. Once you have establish the why you can work on how to move forward.

Lack of Time = Intentional Scheduling

clock, hours, minutes

If your writing is suffering from a lack of Time issue then the issue might actually be your scheduling.

There are indeed few people with airtight schedules that hold no wriggle room; however, the majority of us are a bit more flexible. There are various ways that we can adjust our schedules to allow at least 15 minutes of writing time a day.

  • For instance, wake up 15 minutes early or go to bed 15 minutes late. Use that time to write every single day.
  • Don’t want to miss out on sleep? Do you watch TV? Perhaps it’s time to cut out a show, or record it and watch it later that way you can cut out the commercials and use that extra 15 minutes to write.
  • Have a facebook, an instagram, a WordPress, a Twitter, AND other social media sites? Limit your time on them! Yes, they are great and resourceful, but if you are spending hours online with “no time to write,” then something has got to change.

I’ll be honest. I have used the excuse “I don’t have the time” to really mean “I didn’t make the time.” Don’t do that, but instead intentionally schedule writing periods for every day. This will not only give you time to write, but if you do it at the same time every day, it will also help you form a habit.

Happy Writing Everyone!

How to you plan to adjust your schedule to include more writing time?

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Writing Tips

Five Common Reasons Behind Writer’s Block

There are several reasons why authors and poets may find themselves face-to-faced with that notorious villain known as “Writer’s Block.” Writer’s Block can last for a couple of minutes, a couple of hours, a couple of days, or even months.

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Here are some various reasons why people might face writer’s block:

  • Lack of Time to Write – trying to find time in our busy schedules can sometimes feel impossible. Many of us do not make money from our writing and so we have to sacrifice our time by going to school or work or elsewhere.
  • Sickness – we all get it. Some of us are lucky to only catch colds or flus while some of us struggle from chronic sickness and lethargy.
  • Lack of Creativity – it’s happened to every writer I know. Sometimes our well of creativity simply dries up without rhyme or reason, but that does not mean that we don’t continue to try.
  • Work – as I mentioned before. For many of us, writing is not our job. Also, for some of us, we are split between our love for writing and the enjoyment we find in our jobs.
  • Home Responsibilities – are you a parent? A sister? A brother? A spouse? An aunt? An uncle? A child? Whoever you are, I’m going to bet that you have some form or another of responsibilities at home that tug on your time and attention.

For one reason or another, writers will almost always hit that inevitable wall.

Wall

The first step to overcoming Writer’s Block comes from the need to discover why the writer is blocked in the first place. Once you have establish the why you can work on the how to move forward. Over the next few weeks, I plan on addressing each of these concerns (as listed above) with some tips and tricks on how to combat writer’s block. You won’t want to miss this!

Which of the above reasons do you struggle with the most? Be sure to leave your comments below!

Happy Writing!

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Writing Tips

Writing Tip: Accepting Failure

Let me be honest. Failure is going to be a part of your writing career. It just is. And let me honest again. Failure is going to be a part of life.

We are humans, we cannot succeed at everything, all the time.

So, before you begin your career as an author, an artist, a composer, a teacher, whatever you choose, accept that at some point you will fail.

Failure today does not mean that you cannot succeed tomorrow. – KaylaAnn

Failure is only a moment in time, a response to a singular incident. Failure does not define you or your career. The best option, and really the only option you have to success, is to accept failure and then move on from it.

Sometimes our failures will be small. For example, I failed a lot of my daily word count goals between the months of November – January. However, I did not let that stop me. I did not throw my hands in the air and say, “Well, I failed, it’s over!” Nope, I moved forward and planned to begin writing in earnest again.

Sometimes our failures will be big. For example, I’ve just recently received my review from my third reader and let’s just say, it wasn’t great. Now, I’m stuck where I have two decisions and either decision will require drastic change to my manuscript. However, that does not mean that I give up, I pick myself back up (after I cried my eyes out) and I get ready to face the problem head on.

So accept failure, but do not let it define you. Do not let it stop you. Do not let it hinder your progress. Acknowledge it, learn from it, be strengthened by it.

I’ll keep you updated on my book, The Agency Games, once I have some more information. Please wish me luck and keep me in your prayers as I work toward this goal and attempt to decide what is best for my manuscript.

Accept Failure but Never Stop Moving Forward.

College Writing Tips

Dear Teachers: Welcome Back

Christmas Break is over and you’re somewhat devastated, am I right?

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The break was not long enough and all that grading/curriculum planning you told yourself you were going to get done is still sitting in the back of your car.

You’re not alone, but it is time to get back in the groove of things, so wake up! Here are some of my tips to help get you through this upcoming semester:

  1. Get Up Early and Prep for each day. (I can already hear the communal groan). This tip is especially helpful for college professors. I know it may sound tipping to wing your lecture if you’ve written it before, but get up 20 minutes earlier and refresh yourself on the content. Your students will thank you.
  2. Every Sunday night, make sure you are fully prepped for the upcoming week. While morning refreshers are nice, it is better to be fully prepared in case you do not have the time.
  3. Grade immediately! As soon as those essays (or tests) start coming in, start grading them! Do not, I repeat DO NOT, put off grading. It will severely bite you in the rear end at the end of the semester.
  4. Have a Clear and Concise Rubric that you share with the class. This will not only give them direction on what to aim for in their essays, but it will make grading easier on you. In my opinion, no teacher should grade off a “gut-feeling.” Essays can only be graded evenly when being graded against the same scale.
  5. Plan easier lessons during the semester where there is less assignments. This provides breaks for both your students and yourself. During these times, go have fun! (Or more realistically, catch up on the grading that you keep putting off).

There you have it, my five “Welcome Back” tips for professors and teachers alike!

I wish you all the best!

 

College Writing Tips

Dear College Students: Take a Breath

Take a breath.

Like many of you, I, too, returned to college classes this week. Unlike many of you, I return as a professor and not a student. However, as I was still a student in January of 2017, I feel that I am uniquely qualified to comment on both sides of the coin as both former student and current professor.

I am sure that many of you are already overwhelmed. The syllabus is filled to the brim with assignments that you have no understanding of and due dates that seem impossible to meet. The professor seems aloof and you are pretty sure that they are just waiting for a chance to fail you. They do not care if you have a thousand other things going on at home, because their class is the most important. There is no way you will ever get through another semester . . .

Now, before your thoughts continue down this train of thought (a train I’ve ridden in the past), let me remind you:

Take a breath.

Of course the syllabus seems overwhelming, it’s an entire semester’s worth of work shoved into 8-10 pages.

Maybe your professor does such (sorry, those exist too), but more than likely, your professor does care about your success. And if they don’t, don’t let their attitude affect you. (Easier said than done right?) Find that one professor who does care and ask them question, even about other classes. Odds are, if they can, they are willing to help you.

There IS a way you will get through this semester, just like you did the last, and just like you will the next. ONE. STEP. AT. A. TIME. And one breath at a time.

Do not let this first week undermine your confidence. You can do this!

Writing Tips

Writing Tip: Managing Your Expectations

As some of you may know, I am engaged and in the process of planning a wedding! In that process, my fiance and I are also underwent pre-marriage counseling (which was been a lot of fun as well as insightful and I recommend it for anyone thinking about getting married). Did you know that recently it has been announced that what kills marriages faster than anything else is unmet expectations?

Now, my blog is not about marriage, however, I could not help thinking how this applies directly to our writing. How often to we come up with grandiose ideas for our novels that will sell a billion copies and make us millions of dollars? Ever catch yourself day dreaming about which actors and actresses would star in your film once that adapt your book into movie formatting? (No one, just me? Anyhoo . . .)

The point is, in our writing too we must manage our expectations. 

Writing is hard and making a break through in the industry is even harder, some might say that it is nearly impossible. So I am encouraging you to “make resolutions” (without the need for a New Year) and to set goals for your writing, but in doing so, make them realistic!

  • Set yourself real goals that you truly can accomplish!Here are some examples:
      • Write Every Day (even if it’s just for 5 minutes)
      • Try to hit a word count every day (even if it’s 20 words).
      • Try to finish as much as that book as possible (even if it’s not the whole thing.)
      • Send out queries to multiple publication houses (but don’t stop writing, waiting to hear back)
  • Don’t give yourself unrealistic expectations.Here are some examples:
      • Starting and Finishing that new idea for a book and having it picked up within the year (yes it can happen, but it doesn’t often)
      • Becoming a millionaire with your first book (Suzanne Collins wrote amazing books for YEARS and was not known until her latest series).

Be kind to yourself and be honest with your writing. Expect that some days will be more productive than others and set realistic expectations so that you do not cause unnecessary hardship.

Happy Writing Everyone!

***If you enjoyed today’s tip, be sure to check out more under the “Writing Tip” tab on my main menu. Have any questions about writing? Feel free to ask in the comment section!

Derek Harvey has a great article expectations in marriage if any of you are interested in reading the article.

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Writing Tips

Writing Tip: The 3-Draft Rule

Today, I’m going to offer you some advice about how many drafts you should have before you consider sending out your full manuscript to a publishing company.

I consider the magic number to be 3: Three full-length drafts and let me tell you why.

Draft One: Getting it Down

Your very first draft should really be focused on just getting your writing out of your head and down on paper. In this draft, I encourage you to just write. Do not focus on getting it perfect, or saying everything you need to say. Create the bones of your manuscript. Or, in other words, consider it the road map for the rest of your drafts. This first draft is all about getting your words on paper and it will be messy, it will be disorganized, it will not be perfect. And guess what, it shouldn’t be.

Draft Two: Buffing it Out

After “completing” your first draft (meaning that the bones of your manuscript are present and arranged), it is time to start adding the “meat” (the muscles, sinews, and veins, etc.). Draft Two can be accomplished on your own or with a friend or writing colleague. I personally believe that it is beneficial to have outside opinion for this draft. What I do, is I send my Draft One to friends and receive BETA reader comments. What needs flushing out? What drags? What doesn’t make sense, etc.? Once I have their comments, I comb back through my first draft and begin addressing both their comments and add in my own. After this, you should have a completed, flushed out draft, but you’re not done yet.

Draft Three: Cleaning it Up

Once you have completed crafting your narrative (it has bones, and muscle, and skin), it’s time to make it pretty! If hardcore editing is not your thing, ask for outside help whether that means the family member who is an English major or paying for grammar edits. Trust me, nothing lowers the quality of a good book faster than bad grammar. This is your one chance to impress a publishing company, so spend some time (and maybe some money) improving your manuscript until it shines.

 

Well, there you have it: my three-draft rule!

What do you think? Is three drafts too many or too little? Be sure to comment below!

***Extra Tip: It is okay to have some time take place between Draft One and Draft Two, distance can be a good thing for your own writing! It can give you perspective.

 

Happy Writing Everyone!

***If you enjoyed today’s tip be sure to check out my Writing Tips section under the main menu for more great tips and tricks on how to improve your writing!

 

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Writing Tips

Writing Tip: Allow Your Book To Evolve

When writing your book just know that your book WILL change.

Perhaps not a ton, perhaps only a little, or perhaps it will be a completely different book than the one you intended on writing in the first place, but one way or another, your book will evolve over time.

This isn’t a bad thing though. As you write, your ideas will grow and form. You might realize that what sounded like a great idea before doesn’t really work well in application. You may be hit with a sudden inspiration to go a different direction.

My advice?

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But in all seriousness, go for it! If you feel your book changing, you need to allow it. If you stick too tightly to your original plan, your writing will come out forced and it will sound that way to your readers. Take the new path and see where the new ideas lead you. If you hate them you can always go back and try again.

In other words, planning and outlining your book is important. But it is also just as important to allow your book to change and evolve as you write.

As you all know, I recently received my feedback from the publishers and they encouraged me to change and improve some chapters in my book. Through their suggestions, I have come up with new solutions and actually changed the entire chapter order of my book! And to be honest, it’s better for it!

Happy Writing Everyone!

***Enjoyed today’s tip? Check out my main page for more under the tab “Writing Tips”! Have any questions about today’s tip or writing in general? Leave your comments below!

 

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Writing Tips

Writing Tip: Waiting Out the Waiting Period

Any author or poet who has attempted to go the route of traditional publishing is familiar with that dreaded “waiting period.” You know which one I’m talking about. You spend all your time and effort into creating an amazing story, editing and revising until your eyes are bloodshot and your fingertips are raw.

Then you hit send.

And you wait.

And you wait.

And you wait.

If you are very lucky or very talented (and often a combination of both), you will hear back from the publishers 6-12 months later as they express interest in you or your book. You think, Huzzah! The waiting is over and my book will be published immediately!

Sorry to burst your bubble, but that is not how it works. After that initial waiting period and the good news, you’re in for more waiting periods. Your book will most likely go through several editing phrases and after that you have visual decisions such as cover and formatting. Your book will most likely not be published until a year or two after you hear back.

That is a LOT of waiting.

As someone intimately engulfed within this dreaded waiting period, let me give you some tips on how to survive it:

  1. Take a deep breath and stop opening up your email every single hour of every single day (Seriously, Kayla Ann, stop doing this.) It only makes you more antsy when you fixate on their response.
  2. Get outside and do something. I don’t care if it’s the gym (which is my favorite as it’s a great way to release pent up energy) or a walk with your pup, or minigolf, or going to the beach, or biking, or going to the mall. In some way, get out and do something physical.
  3. Get back inside and do something. (But you just said go outside! Yes, I did, keep reading.) After you have gotten rid of some of that nervous energy and you can actually focus, start working on a different project. Write your next book or create some blogging posts and schedule them for the future.
  4. Take another breath and repeat the steps above. Trust me, you’re going to be waiting for awhile. (I’ve also found that small, but frequent, amounts of chocolate can do wonders for your mood.)

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Anyone else ever been stuck in that waiting period?

How do you pass the time and maintain your flimsy grasp on reality?

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Writing Tips

Writing Tip: You are NOT an author, unless you are a writer.

I know yesterday, I spoke all about how important it is to read, but it is equally important to write!

You cannot be an author without first being a writer.

This one may sound redundant but hear me out first.

So often as writers I feel we forget how important it is to sit down every single day and write. Especially for those of us who have family responsibilities, educational distractions, work obligations, you name it. As a college professor, daughter, bride-to-be my time is often split in a million different directions.

Our lives are filled with distractions that can often keep us from our passions. We find ourselves at the end of the day, crawling into bed, exhausted, only to remember that we never got to our writing. We assure ourselves that we will get to it the next day, do even more to make up for the missed time and before we know it a week has passed without writing.

So here’s today’s tip: Write!

Every single day be sure and set aside some time to write. Whether it’s 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 60 minutes or more, be sure to make it a daily habit to put your pen to paper (or your fingers to a keyboard if that’s your thing). Maybe put a reminder in your phone or have a notebook placed by your bed to remind you to write.

Just remember, in order to be writers we need to write!!!

Happy Writing Everyone!

What do you do to make sure you write everyday? Do you do a word count? If so, what?

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.