Saturday Writing Prompt

Once more the Story Cubes are challenging you!

What might be going on here behind the door??

Cane, key hole and footprint

Mystery behind a locked door?

If you want to share the story that came out of this prompt, head on over to my Facebook Group. You’ll find even more inspiration, and lots of support for writers:
The Write Mindset

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Writers’ Block: Must Write a Novel

doorstopper novel

Doorstopper Novel

With this post, we move into the realm of beliefs about your product: The STORY

First of all, many beginning writers I know believe they must write at least a novel. A real book. Something “big”. And a series is even better! Yes, even with stories, size seems to matter in a certain way.

For a while, especially in Fantasy, bigger was better, no questions asked. If not the single book, then the series. It had to be huge. Doorstoppers, at least three for a series, but five were better. Maybe even ten, or a dozen. Imagine the size of that world, the headcount of the cast and the number of subplots to fill that many pages… it’s daunting!

Bigger is better!

And then you have the other extreme: Short stories.

There isn’t a clear definition of length for short stories by word count – officially – but lengths of 2,000 to 7,500 words are commonly mentioned. It “should be readable in one sitting” is an informal definition. However, many, many magazines have word count limits for the short stories they accept, and those limits have gone down considerably in the last 20 years. I’ve seen several go below the 2,000 words that were the lower limit of actual short stories.

Flash fiction has become popular, including the  “drabble” (100 words) or even “Twit Fic”, confined to the 140 characters that Twitter allows. That’s about 23 words, btw. And I have seen stories told in such few words.

Shortest is best!

So how do we know?

It can be a fun challenge to write a story to word count. It forces you to really think about the moment, the character and what happens – and how to tell it in a way that fits the word count.

Here form determines the shape of the story.

But you can also let the story determine the form.

The story is the story.

And this is the actual solution: A story should be just as long as it needs to be. Tell the story. That’s all. Make it clean, to the point, let it carry a punch. Focus on good story telling, not on length.

And the beauty of this?

It’s entirely possible in the new world of publishing. Ebooks can be any length at all! You just have to tell your readers what to expect.

So let go of that belief your story has to be a novel, or else! If you give yourself permission to simply tell the story, and to determine what to call it once your finished, your writing will be less constrained. You will worry less about form, and you can focus on what’s actually going on with your characters.

And … you might be surprised by your writing brain. It has been trained on what you have been reading, so it might just give you the size you dream of – unless you try to force it.

Here’s some tapping to get you out of the size trap:

Even though I always thought I had to write a novel, just to be a full-fledged author, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I now give myself permission to simply write the story.

Even though I thought only novels actually sell, I’m a good writer, and I now give myself permission to let the story flow and see what happens.

Even though I’ve always dreamed of writing a wonderful, full novel, I’m okay the way I am, and I now choose to let my story flow and work out the formal parts after I’m done with that.

Your Turn:
What’s your preferred story size to read?
Which size are you comfortable with when writing?
What happened while you were tapping?
And finally – what are you creating right now?
Would love to hear from you!

Image Source: F. Moebius

PS: You’ll find my personal experiences with these beliefs in the comment section. Because I am tapping with these very sentences, I’m inviting you to join me on this journey, and share your experiences.

PPS: My newsletter contains a full tapping round to go with my blog posts, so it’ll be easier for you to get results. Sign up through the form on the upper right hand corner, and receive that tapping round plus occasional special offers. If you’re on a mobile and can’t see the sidebar, you can sign up through this link: Newsletter Sign-up.

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Saturday Writing Prompt

A fountain under the moon? And what about the arrow?

What kind of story is lurking here?

Fountain, Moon and Arrow

What does the Moon mean?

If you want to share the story that came out of this prompt, head on over to my Facebook Group. You’ll find even more inspiration, and lots of support for writers:
The Write Mindset

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Writers’ Block – Flow or C..p

Flow

Flow

As writers, we demand a lot of ourselves, and we hold expectations about how our writing has to happen.

One of those is that we have to be in flow in order to produce beautiful sentences and paragraphs.

That’s what Kim thinks.

When writing is like pulling teeth, he gives up right away and begins to doubt the story. Maybe it isn’t really any good, if he can’t get into it. Maybe the character is wrong. Maybe the challenge is too weak or too strong. Maybe he needs to start over.

Maybe…

By not getting into the flow right away, Kim invites self-doubt and stops himself from writing.

But the real killer is his belief:

If the words don’t flow easily, something is wrong.

That’s a terrible thing to do to yourself. And it’s totally wrong.

Every athlete knows they have to warm up. They can’t do their best right off the chair. Riders take care to warm up and relax their horses. They can’t jump high  or piaffe right out of the stable.

You can’t force flow.

So why would you demand from yourself that you are 100% focused and inspired the moment you sit down to write?

I’ve had many days where working on my story was difficult. When I could do one or two sentences and tabbed away to Facebook, because it was too hard to think about what happens next. Five minutes later, I squeeze out the next sentence. Terrible days. I hate those.

But even writing like that adds words to the story, to the material you can edit.

And these days without flow happen. They don’t mean you’re a terrible writer. In fact, they mean you’re writing anyway, and that’s a sign of a determined writer.

And then I celebrate those days when flow happens and the words just stream onto the page. Those are times to enjoy, savour and celebrate. Thing is… they are rare.

But you have to keep writing anyway, even if flow doesn’t happen every day. You’re a writer. A writer writes. And with practice, your words will be beautiful anyway.

Practice (and training) are more important than flow.

And in fact, they’ll actually help you get there more often.

Here’s some tapping to release that limiting belief about flow:

Even though I demand from myself to get into the flow immediately, or I don’t write, I’m okay the way I am, and I’m open to the possibility that even words written out of flow could be beautiful and move the story ahead.

Even though not getting into flow invites self-doubt and makes me feel like I’m a terrible writer, I’m okay the way I am, and I now allow myself to know that most writers don’t write in flow every day.

Even though I believe that flow is necessary to produce good work, I’m okay the way I am, and I might be ready to let go of that limiting belief and write anyway!

Your Turn:
How do you feel about flow?
Where or when did you learn that you have to enter flow in order to write?
What happened while you were tapping?
And finally – what are you creating right now?
Would love to hear from you!

Image Source: F. Moebius

PS: You’ll find my personal experiences with these beliefs in the comment section. Because I am tapping with these very sentences, I’m inviting you to join me on this journey, and share your experiences.

PPS: My newsletter contains a full tapping round to go with my blog posts, so it’ll be easier for you to get results. Sign up through the form on the upper right hand corner, and receive that tapping round plus occasional special offers. If you’re on a mobile and can’t see the sidebar, you can sign up through this link: Newsletter Sign-up.

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Saturday Writing Prompt

Strange things happening – mystery… what do you make of it?

Alien, smile and rainbow

Aliens? Over the Rainbow?

If you want to share the story that came out of this prompt, head on over to my Facebook Group. You’ll find even more inspiration, and lots of support for writers:
The Write Mindset

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Writers’ Block – Must. Be. Original

Original

Must. Be. Original

Let’s take a look at Helen, who has a huge problem with her writing.

Helen has a story that’s dear to her heart, and she really wants to tell it. But then she realizes her hero is the typical young person being called on a quest.

She hates that thought.

So Helen starts twisting around her story, turning her hero into an older woman, and avoids giving her a mission. Then, to her horror, she realizes this is similar to a book she read a year ago. She twists her hero into a man.

Then she finds out she’s telling a journey of finding oneself. Her stomach churns. Her story must be original! And she can’t find any plot that’s not been done. She even stops reading because it makes her feel bad about her story. And she hasn’t written in months…

Helen believes in a myth, something she has learned somewhere.

My story has to be original.

That is simply impossible. Just imagine… humanoids have been sitting around the fire and telling stories for hundreds of thousands of years. Humans have been writing down stories for over 3,000 years. (Linear B was developed in Crete ~1,500 BC.)

There is no original plot anywhere.

In fact, it has been postulated that there are only about seven different plots for every story ever told. (“The Seven Basic Plots: Why we tell stories” by Christopher Booker)

So why do people still create new stories?

Because they have their own personal way of telling them. Their own characters. Sometimes, their own worlds.

And that’s where originality comes in.

By pouring one’s one self into a story, being deeply connected to the main characters and what happens to them – that’s what breathes life into a tale. That’s what makes a story special and original.

So don’t despair over the general plot, or even the fact that “it’s been told before”. Just don’t try to write the next Harry Potter or Hunger Games. Write your own story, even if it has parallels to what you’ve read before.

That’s the key. Trust your own voice, take the time to develop it, and write your own stories from your heart. Love your characters and bring them to life from that love.

And “original” no longer matters.

Here’s some tapping to help you release this particular block:

Even though I’ve been taught that I must write stories that have never been written before, and that is completely blocking me, I’m a good writer, and I now choose to know that no story is fully original.

Even though the rule that my story must be like no other and completely original, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I now give myself permission to tell my own story, even if there are similarities to others.

Even though I always believed my stories have to be completely original, and that has led to despair and avoiding books, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I now give myself permission to be inspired and tell my own stories in my own way.

Your Turn:
How do you feel about originality?
Who said your stories have to be original and unique?
What happened while you were tapping?
And finally – what are you creating right now?
Would love to hear from you!

Image Source: F. Moebius

PS: You’ll find my personal experiences with these beliefs in the comment section. Because I am tapping with these very sentences, I’m inviting you to join me on this journey, and share your experiences.

PPS: My newsletter contains a full tapping round to go with my blog posts, so it’ll be easier for you to get results. Sign up through the form on the upper right hand corner, and receive that tapping round plus occasional special offers. If you’re on a mobile and can’t see the sidebar, you can sign up through this link: Newsletter Sign-up.

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Writers’ Block: My Art has to be Special

I'm so talented!

I’m so talented!

We writers create stories to read. And we create art.

Story telling is in fact one of the most ancient arts around. I’m sure even the Neanderthals sat around their campfire and told stories about hunting, finding food and maybe Gods in the sky.

And as we create art, we can create a very tricky, nasty block for our writing.

Because Art is supposed to be special and unique.

So our stories have to be special and unique.

Quite possibly this idea of having to create something special is a nasty trick of the mind.

It’s a mindset that allows only super-talent with instant success or nothing. And that leads to instinctive avoidance, because the chance of failure is so high – if your one and only attempt at excellence and unique success fails, you have proven that you have no talent and shouldn’t be a writer. It’s all or nothing.

This is what holds back Tim: Continue reading

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Saturday Writing Prompt

Now what is going on here? There’s a story lurking in those cubes…

flashlight, house, dice

What is going on here?

 

If you want to share the story that came out of this prompt, head on over to my Facebook Group. You’ll find even more inspiration, and lots of support for writers:
The Write Mindset

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Writers’ Block – Waiting for Inspiration

Inspiration!

Inspiration!

I’ve seen many, many writers who believe they need to be inspired in order to actually sit down and write. Or that they need inspiration to write a great piece of art.

Here’s the tale of someone who things along those lines:

Chris has many rituals to call forth inspiration. Before writing, he goes for a little walk, then makes a special tea which he pours into a special mug. He puts on his writing shirt. Finally, he sits in his special writing place, calls up his file and…

…nothing. All the joy he had felt about writing fizzles away.

Trying to ignore the sinking feeling in his stomach, he reads the last paragraph he wrote, and finds it horrible. He deletes it and reads the one before it.

Still nothing. Continue reading

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Saturday Writing Prompt

Now this … this might totally spark a story. Doesn’t it?

sleep, eye, footprint

A scare in the night? Or what?

 

If you want to share the story that came out of this prompt, head on over to my Facebook Group. You’ll find even more inspiration, and lots of support for writers:
The Write Mindset

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