Getting back into the writing saddle can be difficult. I just finished a writing break and I found the hardest part about saddling up the writing horse was not getting up and falling off, but that I wouldn’t ride with the skill I once had. I feel writer’s block is more of an emotional issue than a physical problem, and usually that emotion is fear. Fear. I heard this acronym once, and it stuck with me. False Evidence Appearing Real.
In my case, my fear stemmed from a belief that I had lost my writing skills from lack of use. Could I prove that as a fact? No, because I hadn’t tested that theory, I was too scared. Losing my skill felt like it could be real. Haven’t you heard the saying, Use it or Lose it?
Based on that belief system, I am right.
Aside from letting go of that belief system and choosing a new one? Preferably the one that states it’s just like riding a bike. In other words, once you get going, it all comes back to you.
Don’t buy into the fear, get writing. Write when were and how you can. Don’t let you stop yourself with excuses. I have heard this one a lot lately, “I don’t have the right equipment.” Go outside, find some dirt, pick up a stick- equipment- and write.
Write for yourself, write to change the world, write for fun, write to get the voices in your head out on paper. Just write!
How do you know if you are improving?
I am here to tell you that the more you write the more you will improve, but not without some sort of feedback. Moms and significant others don’t count. Sorry. They are great for support, but don’t count on them to be completely honest, or even trust them to know the writing business or what they are talking about. And in some cases, they can do more harm then good. One aspiring writer I spoke with gave a worst case scenario where family took her story and tried to make it their own and she lost her voice in the process.
I don’t let my supportive hubby read my work. I bounce ideas and brainstorm with him, and he is great for that, but he is not my critiquing buddy.
Honestly, the best choice I ever made for my writing was joining a writers group. I actually have a hard time reading another aspiring writer if they have never been in a writers group. The difference can be staggering between novice writers that are in a group and a writer that has never dared show another person what they write.
Find a good writers group. Whether locally or online. Try a few of them on until you find the right fit for you.
I am lucky to have an awesome writers group. One where each person actively tries to improve and learn more about the craft and trade. We get together and share our knowledge. We find strengths in each other, and find weaknesses too. I learned by being critiqued what they have an eye for, and I rely on their eye if it is in an area I need improvement.
I’ve learned that anyone can get published, as long as they are trying to improve and they never give up.
Don’t let FEAR ever stop you. Keep writing and keep smiling, and for the record, it is like riding a bike.
By Lillian J. Banks