Tag Archives: writer’s block

How to Keep Writing When Depression Strikes


by Lillian Csernica on June 6, 2017

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Yes, it’s that time again. Life’s daily stressors combined with two or three sudden unwelcome surprises have left me waging guerilla warfare against my own depression. This comes at a particularly bad time. I have writing opportunities to make use of, commitments to fulfill, as well as organizing the celebration of my younger son’s graduation from high school.

These things are very difficult to accomplish when it takes a massive effort of will just to drag myself out of bed every morning.

I am not alone. You are not alone. We are not alone in suffering the crippling effects of depression, whether temporary or chronic. In keeping with the Buddhist philosophy of “taking positive action for the good,” I offer this list of helpful ideas.

Why Writers Are Prone to Depression

Writing Your Way Out of Depression

Neurological Similarities Between Successful Writers and the Mentally Ill.

7 Ways to Help You Write When You’re Depressed.

The Writer and Depression (Chuck Wendig)

The important thing is to keep writing. Make lists. Brainstorm. Letters to your imaginary friends. Anything that keeps the pen moving. Suspend judgment and blow off the Internal Editor. Just write. One day at a time. Just write.

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What do you do when depression gets you down? What helps you keep the pen moving? I would love to hear your ideas and coping strategies. Let’s see how many answers come in before Friday, midnight. I will roll the appropriate die, the winner shall be chosen, and that winner will receive a free ebook copy of either The Writer’s Spellbook or The Fright Factory.

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Filed under creativity, Depression, editing, fantasy, Fiction, frustration, Goals, historical fiction, homework, memoirs, neurodiversity, publication, research, romance, science fiction, steampunk, sword and sorcery, therapy, Writing

5 Favorite Guides to Get Writing Again


by Lillian Csernica on February 28, 2017

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Writing is hard. We all know that. Some days we get sidetracked by avoidance behavior. Some days we procrastinate out of laziness or confusion about the story. Some days we’re just plain stuck.

Today I’m having one of those days. Here I sit, working on a blog post, when I’d meant to be making progress on my latest short story. Well, at least it’s productive avoidance behavior, right?

In the spirit of solidarity with my fellow struggling writers, I offer this list full of tips, information, and excellent methods to restart the writing engines. Enjoy!

Four Ways to Rediscover Your Passion for Writing

Nailing Scene Structure

100 Prompts for Writing about Yourself

Stop Putting Off Writing: 9 Experts’ Solutions

End Writing Procrastination Now

 

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Filed under artists, Blog challenges, classics, creativity, dreams, editing, fantasy, Fiction, frustration, Goals, historical fiction, Humor, Lillian Csernica, memoirs, publication, research, science fiction, steampunk, sword and sorcery, Uncategorized, Writing

Dare to Rip Out the Seams


by Lillian Csernica on July 26, 2014

 

I’m about fifty pages away from completing this edit of my historical Japanese romance novel.  I say “this edit,” because once I’m done I’ll be printing out the ms and letting it sit for about a week and then going through it again with the red pen.  If my beta readers will do me the kindness, I’ll have them go over the ms and tell me if I’ve improved the weak spots.  Then I will go through the ms and get a sense of whether or not the drastic changes I made to this draft really work.

New writers tend to get scared by the editing process.  It’s almost as if they’re afraid they’ve got only so  many words inside them and they just can’t make any more.  Nonsense.  There are always more words where the first batch came from.  Yes, sometimes it’s hard to coax the “better” words out.  When I wrote my very first novel, I hit a patch about three-fourths of the way through the process where my writing was terrible.  I knew it was terrible.  I had no idea how to find my way onward to improve the plot thread.  That lasted for about three weeks.  Then something made the light go on in my Idea Factory and the book started to work again.  The important point here is that during those three weeks of hell, I just kept writing.

That’s one way to cope with a problem in the narrative.  Another method is to just go wild and brainstorm possibilities.  Thunder and lightning!  Dramatic reversals!  Oh my God, I never saw THAT coming!  I mean it.  Go nuts.  Get past the insecurity and the anxiety and the frustration and the fatigue and just rip it all apart.

My best friend has been telling me that I’ve been missing an opportunity with a character that has worked her way up to joining the Main Cast.  I should really find a way to work her into the climax, because given how she’s managed to take up her share of story time, she really should be part of the grand finale.  I didn’t want to hear this.  The ms was already too long.  I was tired.  I did not want to push myself to do the work that would result in doing justice to this character and her contribution to the plot.

Bitch, moan, whine, complain.

This is the moment that separates the wannabes from the serious writers.  Was I going to let myself get away with a half-assed job?  The character wasn’t all that important.  There were at least two spots where one of the bad guys could easily have killed her.  She’s my heroine’s key antagonist, so fine, let the bad guys turn her into koi chow!

OR

Was I going to do right by all the time I’ve already invested in this project?  Was I going to show respect for the time and effort my beta readers had donated?  Was I going to do my absolute best to tell the best story I possibly could?  There were no trumpets.  There wasn’t a big thunderstorm with lightning.  I just got to thinking about how and where I could fit this character into the grand finale.  And sure enough, I found the exact place.  And then I found the exact place where I could do the set-up that would put her in that perfect position.  I now have the potential for genuine edge of the seat suspense as this character does her damnedest to kill my heroine when my heroine is just about to reach what she’s been after through the whole story.

This change, the tweaking of a few lines of dialogue here, the addition of maybe two scenes there, will make a serious difference in the overall quality of my story.

If you want to be a serious writer, resign yourself right now to the long haul.  Good work takes time.  Great work takes even longer.  Hang in there, believe in yourself, believe in your story.  And if you get stuck, remember Chandler’s Law: When in doubt, have a man come through a door with a gun in his hand.

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Filed under Depression, fantasy, Fiction, Goals, history, Horror, Humor, Japan, love, romance, science fiction, Self-image, Writing