A Writer's Sanctuary

A blog about writing.


Writer's Block?

Posted by Chastised-Dreamz on Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Have you ever struggled with writer's block? It can be pretty frustrating. There are times when I really want to write something but I have no clue what to write about. The following are some suggestions on what you can do to help spark some ideas. There's inspiration everywhere but sometimes we have so much going on or we think so hard that we don't see it.

The News:
News articles are a good source to get your creative juices flowing. There's such an abundance of drama in news articles and there are so many different scenarios that a writer can come up with from the little snippets of information that are given in them. There's so much more that goes on that isn't stated in a news article. You never get the whole story. Fill in the blanks. Make your own stories.
The short story "Where are You Going, Where Have You Been" by Joyce Carol Oates was inspired by the Tucson, Arizona murders.

Did you ever think that something as simple as a picture could inspire you to write a whole novel? Well, the novel Jazz by Toni Morrison was inspired by a picture that she saw.

Your Life:
Look at your own life. Think back to experiences that you've had as a child, teenager, or even in your adulthood. Maybe there was an event that touched you deeply or angered you that you want to speak out about. Give voice to your experience.

It's a good way to get ideas flowing. Don't pause when you're writing. Let all of the ideas spill out of you. Set a time limit. Tell yourself you're going to write (or type) for say ten minutes on a certain topic, or maybe just write in general, without stopping. Don't worry about whether someone else is going to read it and don't worry about perfecting what you're writing. Sometimes we can't write simply because we worry about what other people are going to think when they read it, whether they'll like it or not. We end up censoring ourselves and it can limit your writing. Get your ideas out first and worry about that later. You can add or subtract after.

I'll add more to this when I get some more ideas and time.

Writing Workshops

Posted by Chastised-Dreamz on Sunday, December 21, 2008

In a fiction or nonfiction workshop a writer shares their work with a group and after that group reads the work they make comments and suggestions about it. In many of the workshop courses that I took the person whose work was being workshopped was not allowed to say anything until everyone else was finished commenting. Not all instructors will run their workshop in this way but it's good because it allows you to get a person's initial response to your work. Think about it, you won't be there peering over your reader's shoulders when they're reading to clarify what you meant by something you wrote.

Workshops are a good way to see what kind of response you would get from your readers. When I had to take my first workshop course in college I was pretty nervous. I didn't know what people would say about my work and I wasn't how it would be received.

While taking the course though, I realized that criticism is a good thing once it's constructive. There are some issues that might come up in your writing that you might not pick up yourself so it's always a good thing to have other people read your work. From my experience in these workshops I've seen some people's work get interpreted in ways that the author had not intended. While you might have an idea on your head, it does not always come across the way you intended on paper.

It may be scary to think that someone may have something "negative" to say about your work but it's all part of the learning experience and just because someone points out something that can be improved that does not mean that it's negative. Anything that can help you better your writing should be considered and looked at as positive. I wasn't sure when I took my first workshop if I would be able to take the responses but I was able to take it. I realized if I wanted to be a writer I'd have to have tough skin because there will always be someone who is going to critique your work.

The First Line

Posted by Chastised-Dreamz on Friday, December 19, 2008

The First Line is a literary journal. I learned about their website in a creative writing workshop that I took last semester. They post a first line and you write a story that starts with that first line and submit it to them. They choose the winning story for that first line, publish it, and the winner gets paid. Check out the website to learn more.

It's also a cool site to visit if you're having writer's block. It's interesting to see the type of story that you can create with that one line. My instructor used the first line as an in-class assignment. We all wrote on the line and then some people read what they wrote. It was cool to see the different ways that everyone interpreted it.

Here's the link: thefirstline.com


Posted by Chastised-Dreamz on Thursday, November 27, 2008

I'm trying to give advice on writing here or maybe ideas that may spark creativity or inspiration to writers.

This site is a work in progress because I'm busy with school. I hope that I can make some time to update this and hopefully make it interesting.

Subscribe to: Posts (Atom)