How-To: Survive Nanowrimo

Also known as Survival of the Fittest.

30 Days. 50,000 Words. (I wish every single one of you good luck.)

Nanowrimo is here! And that means writers all over the world are boarding up their windows, locking their doors, and ignoring all further social interaction or human contact. Starting today, writers will start their long journey of 50,000 words by the end of the month. That adds up to about 1,667 words a day! Phew, that’s a lot of work!  Continue reading

Dealing With Writer’s Block

There is only way to describe writer’s block. . .

It isn’t easy. It isn’t fun.

At least once in your writing career, you will find yourself facing writer’s block. And it won’t be easy. You’re bound to hit the brick wall sooner or later. And it will suck, bad.

Writer's Block

What’s the cure to writer’s block? I’m still figuring that out. You might never experience the stone wall that will one day appear in front of you. Or maybe, you will. And when you do, you are going to be so frustrated and angry and annoyed that it seems writer’s block will never go away. An incurable unfamiliarity, you think. But one day you’ll figure it out.

It is only through the wisdom and experience of writer’s block that you might never have it again. A trial that will tire you out, take away your inspiration and your alacrity will. . . disappear. There is no other way to put it.

Just think: you had it all. The plot, the characters, the setting, and then it all comes crumbling down. All because you slam into an invisible barrier called writer’s block. And you’re allowed to hate it. Writer’s block is hate-able. Not at all hard to despise and hate.

You’re a writer, right? So why should you experience writer’s block?

Easy. Writer’s block is a common “disease” that spreads around in writers’. You suffer for a bit, then you pull yourself together. You have to. After all, it’s no good to sit around and whine about writer’s block. There is a way to fix the problem, to make it all better and make the big scary wall go away.

You can make a road plan. Plan out where you are going with your story, where the characters’ are going. Figure it out, and the retched writer’s block might not be so bad.

Still, you’ll have your moments.

I Got Nothing

Emma Stone

It is going to take time, but all you have to do is force that wall back and make it through. You’ll figure it out and soon you won’t even remember writer’s block. It is a matter of time, though, before you get through it. At first, you will be upset. Then you will lose all your inspiration, and after that, you will want to scream at your blank computer screen. Calm down, though. Writer’s block isn’t so bad.

Sometimes when you write so fast and furious and it’s nonstop, you run out of fuel. There’s a thing that gets you going when writing, and you might just drain all of that out of your system after writing 30,000 words in a week. So take a step away from the computer, tablet, or typewriter, whatever you write on, and take a deep breath. Take a little break from writing. Pile up on some books to get your inspiration and motivation going until you are oozing ideas and a fabulous writing attitude (sorry for the mental image.)

Just take a minute to breath, away from Microsoft Word, or some other writing program you use. Relax and let all your brain muscles relax, drink in what you’ve accomplished, and don’t worry about how many more words you have to write. Or your deadline when writing a novel. It won’t help. Inhale, exhale, inhale; you will feel better in no time.

Have you ever had that steam come out of you when reading? Where you read through three hundred to five hundred books in only two days? That’s what you might have lost back when writer’s block hit you upside the head, instead, in this case, it was writing. Refuel your system, and writer’s block will disappear for now. Just do not overdo it like last time.

You also have to understand what writer’s block is. Writer’s block is when you do not know what to write, or how to continue your story. You might open the floodgates for a few days and the story will practically write itself, until you burn out.

Don’t neglect your writing. Best to press the pause button until you are ready to press play again.

For me, it’s been the past year I have had writer’s block. My ideas are squash (translation: they suck), and all my stories fall right through the floor, into the pit of my other hundreds of thousands of book ideas that failed to impress me and inspire the wheels in my brain to work. Perhaps I need to take my own advice. Perhaps I need to take a step back and stop trying so hard to write something good. I have been forcing myself to write something magnificent, something intelligent with amazing characters and sinister villains and witty dialogue.

Don’t force an idea. Let the story evolve and write itself. Let it bloom from a seed to a beautiful flower in your mind until you are ready to sit down, place your callused fingers on the keyboard, and write like never before. All of the writer’s block is gone. For now. Hopefully forever.

Go toward writer’s block with a headstrong attitude and surpass the challenge before you.

“Then” and “Than”

Then and than. Homonyms. 

Two totally different meanings, but they sound almost exactly alike. The words then and than are very similar in spelling and sound. There’s only one letter off that doesn’t make them the same. They’re not the same, different from each other. Still, why do some people mix up the two words? I browse the internet a lot for a lot of different things, and sometimes I happen to come upon the mixed of words of then and than. I do not have a huge fit, even though I’m a Grammar Nazi –

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– it just bothers me that the word isn’t correct. It is a possibility that the person wasn’t paying attention, or maybe he/she just typed in the wrong letter when they were writing really fast. Or maybe they just don’t know the difference. I think, though, that once you figure out the different meanings and can easily tell the difference.

“Then” refers to a time when something takes, or has taken, place. “Then she met him,” “Then it all changed,” “Then we had pizza”. Once you pick up on it, it’s easy to remember. It just sort of prints into your brain, and then voila, you know “then”. And now I feel like I’m giving a Language Arts lesson in a classroom. . . I don’t think that’s supposed to happen.

“Than” compares to something. “She was braver than the other contestant,” and “the teacher was smarter than the younger kids”, and so on. 

See? Totally different, yet so similar. It’s easy to confuse the words, especially when you are writing in a rush, than then you don’t really catch that mix-up. There are a few times that I have written something, looked back, and saw that I messed up then with than, or the other way around. It’s not always something you think about, it could just be a mistake. Perhaps next time you write something (blog post, facebook status, novel, etc.), you won’t have to wonder if you mixed up those words. It’s easy to remember once you understand the difference. 

Who knew that two words could be so alike, yet so different. Kind of like identical twins. They look the same, but they have different personalities, tastes in fashion, wants and needs. The list goes on and on. Identical twins are actually a great example of then and than. 

There are many other words that sound the same but have different meanings. There’s their, they’re, and there, here and hear, write and right. I could go on and on all day of the different words sounding alike. There are probably hundreds of thousands of those darn homonyms, and I’ll never be able to count them all. But hey, at least I got then and than out of the way! 

Simple as that. 

then