Conversations : The Best of Royalene Doyle (part 4)

Celebrating the Best of Royalene Doyle

and her fantastic Conversations

farewell goodbye waving

Today we’re going back over a few of our favorite posts by Royalene on what to do when times get difficult, and you need a fresh burst of inspiration. Some writers call this “Writer’s Block,” but in all the years Royalene wrote for this blog, she never ONCE used that expression. Why not? Because for Royalene, there’s never a block that couldn’t be overcome or erased by reframing the conversation. In this, our first featured “Conversations” blog of the week, we wanted to dig into the most hopeful of all Royalene blogs—a blog in which she focused on what makes us write in the first place! “Sometimes we just must shake ourselves from normal patterns,” she writes, “like turning the soil around rosebushes and adding fertilizer—to allow the best writing that is within us to COME OUT!” Wiser words have never been said, and the rest of this post is equally enriching.

Next up is another fabulous, life-affirming “Conversations” post, this one a rallying cry for poets and other wordcrafters looking for a boost. Here, Royalene goes back over three key tips given to her by author and poet Lois Beebe Hayna. Hayna pointed out, and Royalene expounds upon, the idea that “you must be in love with words in order to be an excellent writer.” But how to make this happen? That’s the real trick. Hayna and Royalene also note that writing about the things which interest you (instead of being crushed beneath the pressure of writing for popular acclaim or other peoples’ expectations) as well as diving into research can be some of the best ways to free yourself from the weight of insecurity and fear—two of the greatest killers of good books everywhere. Of course, Royalene said it much better than we could ever summarize here, and we recommend you take a look at her original post!

We’re cheating a little bit with this one, as it was originally posted to Self Publishing Advisor as a three-part series focusing on reaching out for help when things are just too difficult to go it alone. Royelene titled this series “Helping Hands, Minds and Hearts” and you can find the three parts here, herehere and here.  If you’ve ever wondered whether your work would benefit from a ghostwriter, and how that relationship might play out, this series is a masterwork packed with useful information! From start to finish, Royelene walks you through weighing the expenses versus the benefits, deciding upon your options, and navigating the process of self-publishing with a ghostwriter. As Royalene puts it, two really is better than one, at least for some of us. And she helps us figure out who those “some of us” are. And when it comes to battling Writer’s Block and other difficult times as authors, putting your head together with someone else is always a good plan. And since we can’t all have Royalene … well, we can still make good use of her fantastic words, memorialized in this series.

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That’s all for this week! We’ll be back next Friday as we detail more of Royelene’s greatest hits, as determined by our blog’s analytics. You can follow Royalene’s further adventures by checking out her Twitter feed (her handle is @RoyaleneD) or her website at www.DoyleWritingServices.com. We miss you, Royalene! ⚓︎


Royalene

ABOUT ROYALENE DOYLE: Royalene has been writing something since before kindergarten days and continues to love the process. Through her small business—DOYLE WRITING SERVICES—she brings more than 40 years of writing experience to authors who need “just a little assistance” with completing their projects. She developed these blogs for Outskirts Press (OP) a leading self-publisher, and occasionally accepts a ghostwriting project from one of their clients. Her recent book release (with OP) titled FIREPROOF PROVERBS, A Writer’s Study of Words, has received excellent reviews including several professional writer’s endorsements given on the book’s back cover.
Royalene’s writing experience grew through a wide variety of positions from Office Manager and Administrative Assistant to Teacher of Literature and Advanced Writing courses and editor/writer for an International Christian ministry. Her willingness to listen to struggling authors, learn their goals and expectations and discern their writing voice has brought many manuscripts into the published books arena. December 2017 marked the end of Royalene’s tenure at Self Publishing Advisor. and we will be spending the next few weeks celebrating some of her all-time hits, her most well-received articles for our blog, in thanks for years of generous service.

Planning for 2017: Coping With Writer’s Block

“Writing about a writer’s block is better than not writing at all.”

–Charles Bukowski

Writer’s block. The two words that no author ever wants to have to mutter aloud, nonetheless suffer from. While a myriad of writing ailments get lumped under the cognomen, “writer’s block,” it can generally be summarized as an overwhelming feeling that you are incapable of being creative or productive in your writing.

What are the causes of the infamous writer’s block? One could be timing: maybe you’re not in a good headspace for writing or you need more time to process your thoughts before getting them onto the page. Make sure to not confuse the wrong timing for procrastination. If you’ve worked a 40+hour week and just need to catch up on sleep before starting that next chapter, then that’s probably a timing issue. If you just sit in front of the computer day after day with one Microsoft Word window open and another Google Chrome window clogged with Facebook and news tabs open that you can’t help but check, that’s an issue of focus and dedication to the task at hand.

Another cause of writer’s block could be a general fear: fear that you can’t do your big idea justice, fear that your work won’t turn out well or will be ill-received or even go unread. If you fear those things, it becomes rather easy to ask the question, “What’s the point?”–falling prey to the inactivity bred by hopelessness and despair. I’d be lying if I said I don’t ask that question in many aspects of my life. Who doesn’t have days when they wake up to the alarm they set for work in the morning and contemplate just hitting snooze? Sometimes there seems to be little point in heading to work to carry out what sometimes seem like meaningless tasks for a wage that doesn’t feel as though it reflects the quality of our labor. Yet, we crawl out of bed and show up anyway. If we show up for things like a paycheck, we should show up for things that are more near and dear to us, like writing, even if we have doubts or fears associated with it.

Maybe you’re a perfectionist, and the idea that your work isn’t going to be perfect if you start it when you’re a bit tired means you don’t want to start it at all. That kind of thinking is highly unproductive for many reasons. Writing is a practice, some days you won’t perform at your highest, but it’s important to keep the creative juices flowing no matter what. If you’re worried about perfection, focus your energy on something that doesn’t need to be perfect, like a stream of conscience journal entry, blog or social media post.

If you, or someone you know and love is suffering from this horrible condition, I have a few suggestions that may help get you back in line.

  • Go for a walk or a run. Get the blood flowing and clear your head. I find some of my best writing ideas have come to me mid-run.
  • Brew some coffee or tea. This gives you a break from writing, a fresh boost of caffeine, and who doesn’t feel more ready to write with a mug full of some delicious hot bean or leaf juice by their side?
  • Read. Read quotes, books, articles, blogs…anything. Reading is part of the writing process and if you’re struggling to find your voice, sometimes it helps to draw inspiration from others.
  • Freewrite. Stream of conscience writing can clear some of those spider webs of the mind. Sometimes I surprise myself when I write with reckless abandon. Maybe you’ll even come up with a fantastic poem or epigraph for your book.
  • Call a friend. Sometimes talking about writer’s block helps you get over it.
  • Change your environment. Sometimes I have to go to a library or cafe to get any serious writing done. When I’m at my house I’ll randomly find myself scrubbing the toilet or baking banana bread when I was in the middle of writing. I also find that being in an environment full of other people being productive makes me feel like I also have to be productive…to “fit in.”

writer's block

Overcoming writer’s block is really overcoming a mental block. Figure out what your mental block is, face it head on (with a cup of joe in hand), and get back to it. You are a writer. Get back to writing!


Thank you for reading!  If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, or contributions, please use the comment field below or drop us a line at selfpublishingadvice@gmail.com.  And remember to check back each Wednesday for your weekly dose of marketing musings from one indie, hybrid, and self-published author to another. ♠


Kelly

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog, kellyschuknecht.com

10 Ways to Overcome Writer’s Block

When you envision your dream writing life, you probably picture yourself somewhere peaceful like a park or a coffee shop, filled with inspiration and steadily writing away. But this is not the reality for most writers. No, most of us often find ourselves staring at a blank screen or page with no idea where to begin. Most of us struggle to accomplish our writing goals because we have writer’s block, but don’t worry. There are plenty of easy ways to overcome this writing obstacle. Here are the top ten.

1. Don’t strive for perfection, yet.

First drafts don’t have to be perfect. In the beginning, don’t worry about writing the perfect story, book, or poem. Don’t even worry about grammar and spelling. For now, just write.

2. Always be prepared.

You never know when inspiration will strike, so always be prepared to write. Keep a notebook and pen with you or download an app that let’s you jot down your thoughts.

3. Get some exercise.

I am giving you permission to walk away from your writing and do something physical. You’ll come back refreshed and you may even get some great ideas while you are working out. Often, the best ideas come when we aren’t trying to think of them.

4. Write out of order.

Who says you have to start your project at the beginning? If you are stuck on how to begin, jump to the middle or write the ending first.

5. Change your scenery.

Take your laptop or notebook and write somewhere different. Go to a park, coffee shop, the mall, your front yard, anywhere but where you normally write. You’ll be amazed at how a change in scenery can inspire you.

6. Let other artist inspire you.

Listen to music. Read some poetry. Visit an art gallery. Watch a movie. Let the work of others inspire you.

7. Take a nap.

I know you can’t write while you are sleeping, but every writer needs a little time to relax. Plus, you never know what ideas might appear in your dreams.

8. Try something new.

Novelty can spark inspiration. Take a class or go on a trip. Read a book in a genre you usually don’t read. Order an unusual food. These new experiences can bring new life to your writing.

9. Brainstorm.

Instead of trying to write an entire scene or poem, just jot down ideas as they pop in your head. You could make lists, a diagram, or just random notes.

10. Take a break.

It is okay to put a project away for a few days or weeks and come back to it.

I’d love to know, how do you overcome writer’s block?

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog at http://kellyschuknecht.com.