Wednesday, February 12, 2020

How to Keep on Writing when you have writer’s block?

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Hello, today I want to continue with this sort of, kind of series on starting a blog. 

Back in January, I started, sort of backward, the topic on “How to start a blog?” I went over the basics of picking a topic, a name for your blog, customizing it for you and your readers, and publishing your first blog.  In the next post, titled cutely, “What the heck is Well-nigh and other ponderings”.  I covered the dirty subject of using re-write software and another website that allows you to reuse a post over and over again without getting into trouble with the “copyright police” or Google with your own post.  This title came about when I was not pleased with the “How to write a Blog” post, tried to re-write the post using a program online, and confused when the software suggested that I use the word, “Well-nigh” throughout the piece.

Side-Note:  I found out from an article, “The First Blog Posts you Should be Writing as a new Blogger, by Beautiful Dawn, which she talks about deciding on what topics you cover in your new blog.  In the article, she suggests that “cover multiple topics.  The example she uses is that you can cover travel, organization, and cooking if that is what you want to talk about.  Do not start a string of travel blog post, then switch to a bunch of organizational posts, then finally to cooking posts.  You have to create a map to tie-in each little nugget of information for the reader. Another way is to have a common theme within your traveling, organization, and cooking themes.  For example:  If you are traveling to India, you can map out a plan to write about the trip and your travels, follow it by having an “Indian-inspired” organization container in your “Indian-inspired” bedroom, and conclude the trio of blog posts by cooking a posting your version of a Indian dish you had on the trip.  The point is in 2020 it is okay to have a blog, especially a lifestyle blog with multiple subjects in it.
I have more on these and other subjects as I try to prepare my blog for “move out of Blogger’s backyard and into the world of WordPress” day.  I figured that this whole process, which I am letting you come for the journey when be completed around May.  Yes, I am taking it slow and steady.  I will let you know of the official move out/in date soon. 

Today’s Topic:  I am stuck so I cannot write today (writer's block).

This happens to the best of writers. You get to the computer, you open up your word processing program, and WHAM! Nothing comes out.  No magical moment where the brain instructs the hands to form the words to a beautifully mastered blog post. Everything you had hoped for dreamed of writing and the message you want to give to the masses is stuck at point zero.  I am not talking about the computer.  It’s fine.  What I am talking about is that moment when you have everything planned to say, and you cannot think of a thing to say.
This is typical of me. I start writing on a subject, let’s say Disney trips since I have not used that in a while.  I have been talking about subjects, such as planning a trip, buying your tickets, making your reservations, and scheduling dining times.  Everything is looking good, and I am working up a sweat.  I want to keep this Disney trip thing going, but now I have run out of ideas.  What do I write about next?  Where does my thought process point to?  Another example:  You have a blog about owning your self-worth because you see that lacking in today’s society.  You have been at it for a while, having Motivational Mondays, devotionals (it is a Christian blog), affirmations, and dedications to name a few.  One day, a subject comes to mind that you really feel like it needs to be addressed, but you are not sure how to approach it with your audience.
What to do when that happens?
I am a believer in the art of “always have something to say”. Most of the time, it is a matter of knowing what to say.  When that happens, try these techniques to get your creative juices started…

1.       Freewriting
Rebecca Talley of her self-titled blog, Rebecca Talley says to just write.  Before you write, you must plan.  By planning, you are mapping out how the story must begin and how it must end.  This technique works best for those who are writing a book or a script, but points are taken from this technique also apply to the blog post and non-fictional writing as well.  She goes on to talk about, “Think about the scene. Who is in it? What is the goal of the scene? What is the conflict? Where is it set?”  I will further that sentiment by saying, “write it down in a notebook”.  That way, if something or someone takes you away from the moment, you can return back to that notebook, and pick up where you left off.
She also says to write anything, even if it has nothing to do with the story or in this case, the concept of an idea.  Sometimes it takes me two days to write one blog post.  It is not that I am conflicted about what I want to say, but more on I might change my mind and take the concept in a different direction. She further suggests that you use a timer and write about anything that comes to mind for about 5 minutes.  You would be surprised at the ideas you come up with for 5 minutes.

  1. Change of scenery
Maybe a Change of Scenery-Pixabay
One other suggestion is to change your scenery.   By that, you are getting out of your comfort zone, that place where solitude and tranquility meet as one big pool of peacefulness, but every once in a while, the two do not go together.  To return to that space, consider writing somewhere different.  For example, if you like to write cuddled with a blanket and your feet up on your lounge in your bedroom, try the kitchen or the family room (make sure family members do not disturb you), or go to the library.  I do not suggest a place like Starbucks unless you can drown out the noise. 

  1. Keep a notebook of ideas
This is a different type of notebook than the one I mentioned under Freewriting.  This is also more for the blogger who needs to come up with a topic for future references.  Keep this notebook with you at all times for when those creative juices emerge.  Yes, this includes keeping it by your nightstand.  You can keep a traditional notebook or a digital notebook.

  1. Quora
Quora Website-
I love Quora. In case you are not familiar with the website, Quora is a place where people can ask questions and the general public answers them.  The way I use this little nugget of a website is I answer the question provided to me.  They are often to me through my email.  I can choose to answer because I am an expert in that area, or I have experienced it at one
time or another.  I will answer enough to give a good answer.  If I think that it is blog post-worthy, I will copy the answer before submitting it to the database, then in MS Word, I will pull up a blank document and copy the answer onto it.  This blog post I am writing, and you are reading now came from a Quora question.  I will sometimes omit the answer.  The original concept of this blog post had my answer to the question on it, but sometimes the answer does not fit the blog post.

  1. Writing prompts
They are in the same category as Quora, where you are given a question to answer, and you provide the answer. My one example was a post I wrote in 2012 about my summer vacation.   I forgot where I found the prompt, it has been a while since I wrote.  Please excuse the typos. 
There is an online event for writers every year in November called National Novel Writer’s Month or NaNoWriMo for short.  It is for people who write novels, and in the past, they used to have writing prompts.  Now you can easily look them up on search engines, Pinterest, and Facebook even has some groups that allow you to get you thinking about writing.

Well, that’s the end.  Not by a long shot. I want you to have a successful writing career if that is your choice.  Writer’s block happens to all of us, from novelists to bloggers, journal writers, and journalists.  It is what you choose to do with that writer’s block when it comes, and I have given you 5 ways to conquer it.  The point is to recognize it when it comes. 

Call to Action Prompt:  Comment below if you have ever had this experience of writer’s block and how you solved your situation. 

Monday, February 10, 2020

Preparing for your next journey

Hello, and welcome today’s blog.  I want to talk to you about something that we, as humans are always looking and striving for.  This is a series, but I want to let you know that I am going through something.
I am preparing to be a great aunt. My nephew and hopefully my niece in law to be (a nicer way of saying that they are not married) are expecting a little girl in March.  For privacy reasons, I will not disclose the baby’s name, but I love the name, in part because it has my middle name in it, and the mother’s middle name for her middle name.  This is a trend.  I kind of wish the name was after one or both their mothers’ or after my mother, or something like that, but this is their baby, and as long as I can spell and pronounce the name, I am okay with it.
My brother, who lives in the next city is the grandfather, and he, of all people, is the one who suggested that we throw a baby shower.   I want to throw in what makes a good baby shower in preparation for anything we do in life.  Yes, this is
also the way that you can set a goal as well.

  1. The project.
Now, this is the easy part.  You have to know what you will be working on or the end goal.  In this case, it is to have at least a decent baby shower without no fussing or fighting among the host(s) or guests.   For my task, it is a baby girl shower.
  1. The date.
Finding a date is hard.  By hard, I mean finding a date that works for at least half of the people you want to invite.  The best way I found that works are to ask the guest of honor (my nephew and niece) what day works for them.  They both work jobs that do require the weekend and long hours.  My nephew works primarily in the afternoon to around 6 pm, while my niece works most weekends.  Her hours have been cut due to the pregnancy, which also means flexibility. From there, schedule a date far enough in advance so that if a person is working, they can ask for time off.   This is what it means to RSVP a date.  It is to let the host know if this is a good date to come or a bad date.
  1. The list.
Not everyone is suitable to be in attendance.  I suggest inviting people who are close.  I choose close church members and family who live in town for my part of the list, while my niece chooses the people she works closest too.  her parents do not live here.  I am not sure who my nephew's choice, and I will find out today. 
  1. The food.
This is equally as hard.  Why?  Because everyone has different tastes.  I will advise on one thing:  finger foods.  Do not stress over a big pot of Chicken and dumplings.  We are having the following:  meatballs, subs, fruit tray, veggie tray, cupcakes, and a candy bar.  What is a candy bar?  Well, you will have to come over to At Home with Tricia's Baskets to read about it.  Speaking of which, by now, you are probably wondering why I would have “How to Host a Baby Shower” in this blog.  No, I have not lost it, and there is an analogy between hosting a baby shower to writing and preparing for a journey.  Keep reading….
  1. The Decorations and games.
In order to entice a person to come to future parties, there must be some fun.  After all, this is a celebration of a birth to come (or in the case of a friend of mine, a birth that arrived before the shower).  The decorations make the place look festive and inviting.  Since we have a theme (baby girl), the color is pink (the mother’s choice).  If this was a gender reveal party (which is gaining in popularity due to advancements in technology), then the colors would be both pink and blue (or green and red-oops wrong celebration).  I bought and printed this little cutie, and I have a table with the words, “Sweet Baby” on it.  I had one mishap which is the baby will not stay on the sign.
Games are another feature.  “So what do you want to talk about” does not work in this setting.  In order to engage a person, you must have something to do that is interesting.  We played games such as ”What is in your purse/wallet (yes there were some men-my father, brother, and nephew at the time), The clothespin game (you cannot say “baby” or you will lose your clothes pin), the right/left game (you pass a prize around every time the reader says some form of left or right), and my personal favorite, the baby food game (guess the flavor of the baby food).
  1. Presents for the baby
This is self-explanatory.  The new parents open up gifts that the guests brought for the baby.  They got mostly diapers and other practical things for her, but they also got the love and the support from all who attended.  A friend of mine could not make it, so she gave me a present at church today.

Now, all of this is for preparation for the birth of my niece.  Once she is here, the new parents cannot say, “we need diapers” or “we need a crib”.  Nope, not at all. 
What does all of this have to do with writing or creating a blog?  I will show you, but first here is a hint:  most of it was highlighted in my last two posts, “How to start a Blog” and “What the heck is Well-nigh and other ponderings”.  Here are the steps once again to prepare for the task at hand:
  1. The project
Instead of preparing for a baby shower, you are preparing to become a freelance writer or a blog writer.  It may not be this particular project, it may be started a podcast.  Whatever this project, you name it and claim it, as they say at my church.  Get yourself a notebook or binder, and write it down.  Name your project (My Ambiance Life Blog), and say that you are going t do it.  Let me give you this little tip:
Tip:  You have to commit to this project.  You cannot start a project than stop it anytime you, please.  You may go at your own pace and you may have moments that you are stuck, but stick to it.  Do not give up or give in to insecurity.  Have an accountability partner if you must, which is a trusted person who is going to keep you on task, but do not give up.
The key to your journey is preparation-Pixabay

During this time, you must plan out your project.  What steps are you going to take with this project?  I am currently working on my craftroom makeover project.  The first thing I did was the name that this is a craftroom project.  Next, I did some research on the project.  What is the point of this project if I did not look into the furniture to hold my supplies and project areas, work areas, and labeling system?  It would look a mess.  This included looking at crafter blog posts, vlog channels from YouTube, and planning out my budget. Also, look at where this craftroom is going.  I want it in the second bedroom, but it is occupied by my nephew and niece, so I have to keep it in its current position, in the dining room area.  I also have to get one piece at a time because the area is small, and I may have to wait until they move out.
  1. The date
Yes, you will need a start and end date for your project.  Do not say “ongoing” or you will never see the end of your project.  If you must say ongoing, divide your project up into smaller pieces, like this:
·         Organizing the embossing folders and dies- January 20, 2020 end date.
·         Organizing the stamps and inks-January 25, 2020 end date.
·         Organizing the 8.5 x 11 paper and 12 x 12 paper pad- February 3, 2020 end date.
Do not hold to that date if you are behind.  If you need to stop that section on that date and get back to it.  There are all sorts of ways to do it without beating yourself up for not finishing the mini-task.
  1. The list.
In this case, list everything you have to do in order to complete the task.  Again, you may have to divide and conquer because you may not be able to do everything in order.
  1.  Decorations
Now we are in the fun part, you are going shopping if the project calls for that. 
For example:  In my case, I do two types of shopping: Online virtual shopping and online/offline actual shopping. With virtual shopping, you will need an online store with a wish list.  Use this to your advantage.  Take the items from your list and look them up in the store.  If the online store has a wish list or allows you to leave things in your cart, place the items in the wish list or shopping cart.  I do this to Ikea and Amazon all the time. DO NOT CHECK OUT! REPEAT, DO NOT CHECK OUT! If your bank has online banking, check your balance.  Why?  If you have automatic payments, the bill payment department may have taken the amount of your bill out of your account, and when you go to pay for your stuff, the money may not be there.  If your bank in the United States like I do, that charge may go through, even if you do not have the money in the bank, and this would mean an overdraft fee.  Not only that, the second reason is you may not like it, and now it is coming to your house. Some stores may make it impossible to return it.
“what if I am just writing a book”?  You do not have to worry about this step, unless you are shopping for new software or a new journal to write your notes in it, then it applies, but not as detailed.
  1.  Presents
I like to call them rewards for your labor.  You get a published book or blog, or in my case, I get a complete craftroom or I get to go to Disney.  Whatever you are preparing for and you are persistent with your task, you will get to see the end results.