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I Hate Writing and You Can Too

Overcoming writer's block: a simple guide

By Madoka MoriPublished 11 months ago 4 min read
inspirational

Do you struggle with writer’s block? Do you like numbered lists of things you already know from a person you don't? Well boy howdy strap in chum because I’ve got just the listicle for you.

Below are my tried & true strategies for dealing with writer’s block. You can trust these methods: you're reading about them on the internet.

1: Try the Pomodoro Technique

Recommended by many professional writers, the Pomodoro Technique uses a kitchen timer (the traditional tomato timer gives the technique its name, but any timer will do!) to allot twenty minutes of uninterrupted productivity. Giving yourself such a limited, fixed timeframe forces the mind to focus on output. Don’t think, just write!

Don’t think about the seconds meted out by the timer never coming back. Time is just an illusion, anyway, right? But my god, where has the time gone? Don't think about how all the authors you admire were well into their careers by your age. Don't think that life is like a hallway lined with doors, each an opportunity, a chance for a different life. When you were a child all the doors stood open and you could have chosen to be a doctor or something. Now the doors slam steadily shut, in time with the ticking of this wretchedly-cheerful tomato timer. Tick, tick, tick; SLAM SLAM SLAM.

If time is an illusion why does my back hurt, why is my eyesight failing. Don't think. Oh god where has the time gone.

Ding! Time’s up! Now give yourself a five-minute break before resetting the timer and giving it another go!

2: Learn to embrace criticism

Worrying what people might think of your writing can be a major cause in freezing up. But if you learn to embrace critique of your work then you will be more open to taking risks, find areas to improve that you might have missed, and ultimately find the words flowing a little easier. Remember: perfect is the enemy of good!

Some do’s and don’ts for responding to criticism:

DO:

  • Thank the person for their feedback
  • Notice the positive things they say, as well as the bad
  • Seek out many opinions; a stranger will often be more direct with you than a friend or family member

DON'T:

  • Feel pressured to take on all feedback — it’s still your story, remember!
  • Let them see your hot tears of shame
  • Insult or threaten the critic, at least not in writing or where they can hear
  • Drift about the house for a week afterwards like the ghost of a victorian lady who died after having her heart broken by a poet

3: Give yourself a break

Sometimes trying to force something that’s just not coming is the worst way to go about it. Take your mind off of writing and do something else. Self care is important! Go for a walk, watch some TV.

“Self care,” you mumble from beneath a pile of blankets as your power nap passes the four-hour mark.

"Self care," you whisper to Youtube as you click 'Yes, I'm still watching' for the fourth time that day.

“Self carrrre,” you mutter, your lips sticky with chocolate. Did you really eat that whole box of chocolates? Those were for my mother. Don’t ‘self care’ me, you ate an entire family box of chocolates by yourself. Now what are we going to give my mum when she visits? Why are you like this? Please change out of your pyjamas at least, it smells like teen spirit in here.

4: Count your achievements

It can be easy to get overwhelmed with negativity, so be sure to stop every now and then to count your wins! Editing articles that have been translated by DeepL because you’re the only native English speaker in your company? Hey, you could call yourself a professional writer! You could! Technically that’s true! oh god

5: Join a writing group

Whether online or off, surrounding yourself with like-minded people is a great way to get over the initial hurdle of putting pen to paper. It helps keep you in a ‘writing mindset’, too, which makes slipping into a flow state less difficult. And it’s a great resource for getting honest feedback (see above)! Try not to think about how much better everyone seems to be doing compared to you though hahahahahah

For Vocal users, joining a group is also a great place to post your published stories to get more reads and likes. Just remember to get back to your actual writing, don’t sit there endlessly hitting refresh and alt-tabbing between Facebook and your Vocal stats page, buddy! It’s only been a few minutes, the stats don’t even update that quickly. It'll take a day or so. Refreshing the page won't make the people read your stuff faster. Close the tab now. Clooooooooose it. There you go. Now to get back t-

You opened it again, didn't you? Well, maybe Vocal updated in the ten seconds it was closed. Refreshing the page might help.

6: Write something else

watermarks and poor resolution kept intentionally for comedic effect

If you're stuck, try switching over to an unrelated writing project. Taking the focus off your current project gives your mind a little breathing room. Don't worry, your subconscious will keep turning the ideas over behind the scenes. Did you ever get a flash of inspiration in the shower, or right before you fell asleep? That’s what we’re aiming for!

Switching to something else gets the pressure off but keeps you in 'writing mode' in case inspiration strikes. You can work on another story you’ve had on the backburner, or try something completely new like a poem or satire self-help listicle.

this man is my spirit animal

Writer's Blockhow tolist

About the Creator

Madoka Mori

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Comments (9)

  • J. R. Lowe5 months ago

    Hahaha oh I’ve missed your witty sarcasm and writing voice. Very good advice, and en even more entertaining read! 😂

  • Addison Horner10 months ago

    Nice article, but you forgot the... Hold on. You covered absolutely everything. I hate writing now, thx k bye

  • The Dani Writer11 months ago

    This was the hilarity of genius! I want to just hug this writing style and take it out for tapas. Great writing for top story!

  • Maggie Elizabeth 11 months ago

    Just beautiful. Thank you for the encouragement (and the lols)!

  • Morgana Miller11 months ago

    sorry Madoka but you forgot to address the primary reasons I hate writing right now, which consist of (1) having approximately 8 half-formed shitty ideas and heavy resistance to commitment and (2) but a poem would be easier. (LOL @ "Hey, you could call yourself a professional writer! You could! Technically that’s true! oh god")

  • Cathy holmes11 months ago

    Oh ffs. Ignore me. That was the one the books. I forgot to comment on that one. Anyway, this should be a TS.

  • Cathy holmes11 months ago

    Excellent advice interspersed with a few welcome giggles. Congrats on the TS.

  • Excellent counsel (& well written, I might add).

  • Sarah Massey11 months ago

    Truly inspirational. This is the advice of a well seasoned (perhaps with salt) published author. My genuine thankfulness to this author for publishing their harrowing article written from the depths of writers block. May we all find the same strength in our own writing.

Madoka MoriWritten by Madoka Mori

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