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Majestic: Issue #13 Sunday, October 20, 2002

In this Issue:
Letter from the Editor
by Chrispian H. Burks
Article: A Bad Case of Block
by Jessica
Article: Writer's Block? 10 Sure Fire Ideas That Work!
Dallas Hodder Franklin
Article: 9 Steps to Easy Writing!
Peggy Hazelwood

Writers block

For all this time, would you believe?
My writers block refused to leave.
I tried so very hard and yet,
My brain had seemed to forget,
All words, phrases, spelling, and such,
My ability to read was my crutch,
It helped get my inspiration back,
The thing I seemed to mostly lack.
I waited for months and finally regained,
The gift to write poems, again and again.
It came to me out of the blue,
An idea that I could really use,
I looked back at the things I'd written before,
And realized something I couldn't ignore,
That if I combined these pieces together,
I could write something that was much, much better.
So I grabbed a pen and an old school book,
To get those words out, by hook or by crook,
I've spent the whole day,
Just typing away,
Quietly content,
Showing no repent,
'cause the way that I rhyme,
To me it's just fine,
My writers block was just a pest,
It stalled me, whilst I was at my best.
by Victoria Pennington

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Letter from the Editor
By Chrispian H. Burks

Writers Block has been the bane of many writers. It can cost you time and if you miss a deadline, even money. This issue of Majestic offers up some insight and tips to help you through those times when the blank page or screen gets the better of you.

Lit.Org has been growing rapidly. These last few weeks we've seen a jump in page views from around 3000 a week to a little over 10,000 a week. We've also been hard at work on a new control panel for users, which has been in closed beta for the last several weeks. I would like to invite you to try our new control panel and tell us what you think. We still have a bit of cleaning up to do on it as well as a few more features to add, but it does work and it's ready for you to use. Let us know if you find any bugs or would like any features added to it. Beta Test the new Lit.Org Author Control Panel

If you have suggestions or comments about this issue of Majestic, discuss it in the forums! Majestic is looking for writers! Take a look at our Publishing Schedule and submit your articles.

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A Bad Case of Block
By Jessica

You're flying along; fingers pounding at the keys while letters slam together to form words that smash together to form sentences. When suddenly from out of nowhere you loose it and you can't think of what to say next. You start to panic, then close your eyes, and force yourself to imagine the scene all over again only to come up with nothing. Minutes pass without anything to account for them. You're reaching into thin air and coming up with zilch. What do you do? Do you continue to squeeze your eyes shut, maybe pound your fists against the desk or pull out your hair strand by strand until the words start flowing again?

No, of course not. No matter how many times we as writers come down with a case of 'block' it always passes. I guarantee it will pass if you don't waste time on where you hit the wall. My advice and what works for me, is to simply leave a few blank lines and continue. If you're in the middle of dialogue, then skip where you stopped up and continue with the next person's conversation.

If you're in a scene and there's just no way you, can absolutely leave the scene where you are, yet you've run dry? No big deal, hopeful you know of another situation or scene you want to paint out farther along in the piece, simply switch to that. Just make a note of where you left off so you'll know to come back to it later, when your ship comes in. Hopefully the change of 'view' will get you motivated and those fingers flying again.

If you're the exception to the rule and find your case of block happening all to regularly and you start thinking 'Maybe I should just give up this writing thing all together.' then maybe you're stuck because the character(s) you created aren't motivated strongly enough. Whatever the motivations of your character are, they must be made very clear. Whenever you feel that sticky stuff coming on, think if now isn't the right time to reveal why your character's life will be in shambles if he fails to stop the villain, win the girl, save the day, what have you.

Maybe your block is triggered by the feeling that not enough is happening in this phase of your plot. It's just gotten blah and even you don't want to read what you've slaved over. Well, that may just be the perfect time to throw in that horrifying 'event' that could happen, something where your hero/ine makes a terrible mistake. Just try tossing the main character(s) into an instant problem and see if that block doesn't clear up like magic. Martin Roth once said, chase your hero up a tree and throw rocks at him, just to see how he responds.

Finally, another no-no, is dwelling on your mood, you just can't do that and expect your writers block to disappear. Once your plot, action, or dialogue gets going again, you'll get back into the swing of things and those fingers will soar. Time will speed along and so will the number of pages you've finished. Sometimes days that start out poorly can end up most productive if you skip around and find what you're really wanting to write.

Writer's Block? 10 Sure Fire Ideas That Work!
By Dallas Hodder Franklin

We all have bouts of writer's block and it's difficult to get out of the rut once you're inside. Nothing seems to ignite the passion to write. It feels like all your creative juices are locked up behind a steel door. There is hope! Often times you just need to be like a child and pretend.

Yes, that's right. Pretend! Imagine you don't have writer's block. Look at it from a new perspective.

Whenever you feel your mind is closed to that creative flow, acknowledge it but don't feed it. Allow yourself to be aware of the thoughts flowing through your mind but don't feed the negative thoughts with more of the same. Instead, do a complete turnaround and when you notice those blocked tendencies think of something positive instead.

Doing this conditions you to think of your challenges as opportunities. It also prompts you to look at your writer's block with a whole new attitude. Now, you aren't being weighed down but rather lifted up.

Keeping a positive attitude heals your mind, body, and spirit. And when you open up all parts of yourself, the block falls away, and your creativity returns full force. And to help you work with positive thoughts here's some writing prompts to get you started. Keep a list of your own prompts to help ease your mind and bring your Muse back to work again!

1. Do you remember your first day of school? Were you excited or afraid? Who was your favorite teacher and why did he/she influence your life? The more details you write, the easier you'll express it later.

2. Do you remember your first boyfriend/girlfriend? How did you meet? What happened in the relationship? How do you feel about it now compared to back when you were in the experience?

3. Do you remember a favorite holiday event? Thanksgiving or Christmas or Halloween? Take your pick and write an article or story on any or all of them. You could start out using facts from your own experience and then embellish it into fiction! Have fun with it!

4. Imagine yourself opening a doorway and entering a stairway. You follow the stairway as it spirals around going ever further downwards. You wonder what's waiting for you below. Candles flicker along the staircase giving an ominous feeling. You hear a flute playing. Finally you're at the bottom and find another door. You open the door and..? What do you find? Is anyone there? Are you outside or in another room? Show us!

5. Do you have a favorite historical figure you admire? Do research on the person and write about what you find. Or, pretend you are interviewing the person and give answers you think the person would say. Or use your research to guide your answers. Creating the scene is great fun and something we did as children all the time. Bring back that child within you and let him/her speak through you. Is there someone alive today that you appreciate? Do a short biography on that person. Or if you can, interview them! Interviewing via email is less intimidating and also less invasive for both.

6. It's your 75th birthday. Your family and friends have gathered to help you celebrate this day. They ask you to tell them about a favorite memory. What do you tell them? Who does it involve? What's the theme of the story; romance, making money, having children, finding a mate, etc. You get the idea. Flow with whatever comes to mind. If you get more than one idea, write them down and do all of them. You can save some for another day of prompting.

7. You've just lost someone or something dear to you. This can be a death of a loved one, pet or some sentimental piece you've been saving. Write about how you feel. How are you healing? Do you deal with the loss in ways you could share and help others? How does this loss affect you now?

8. You open the door to go outside and enter a whole new world. What does it look like? What do you find there? Is it much different than the world you now live in? Is it minor changes or major changes? What do you do? Is anybody out there? If so, who? Are they human? This one could generate a great sci-fi story.

9. Have you had a night dream that seemed so real and vivid that you could write it in detail? Go ahead and write it down. You could create a new beginning and/or a new ending. Use some of the happenings and create new ones to add interest to the dream. How did you feel? Was it scary, loving, or adventurous?

10. Your parents are getting divorced. How do you feel? Why do you think they're parting? Do you feel responsible? Are you feeling scared? If you've experienced something similar to this in your life, use that as a guideline. If not, create how you think it would happen.

You can probably come up with many more prompts of your own. This is an excellent way for you to let go of that writer's block. Once you begin writing down these ideas, you'll actually feel the veil drop and creativity flow. It happens without you even realizing you ever had writer's block.

If your problem leans toward the other extreme and you have so many ideas you don't know which one to write about, here's what I do. I keep a list of all my ideas for articles, stories or poems. When I bring up the list I close my eyes and after half a minute of asking for guidance, I point to the list. That's the one I write about. Try it! It encourages fun and passion in your writings. Now you're building blocks of ideas rather than worrying about writer's block. So what are you waiting for? Close your eyes and let your fingers do the writing!

2001 Dallas Franklin

About The Author
Publishing Guidelines: Thanks for publishing this article in its entirety including the resource box. Please notify me of publication by sending either a website link or a copy of your newsletter/ezine upon publication via email: dallas@sellwritingonline.com

Dallas Franklin, Writer and Creator of the writing site designed for Writers. SellWritingOnline.com delivers while you discover how to sell your writing online. Visit us at: http://sellwritingonline.com Or subscribe to the Free SWO Newsletter delivered every Saturday at: mailto:sellwritingonline-subscribe@topica.com

Claws in Creativity eZine

9 Steps to Easy Writing!
Peggy Hazelwood

Do you hate to write? Is it a struggle? Would you rather have a tooth pulled than sit down to write? Hold the Novocaine! It's not that hard. In fact, I can show you how to be an Easy Writer in 9 easy steps!
  1. Think. That is where all good writing starts-by thinking. What do you need to say? "I was late sending my car payment in last month because Fluffy had to have emergency surgery and I forgot to send the check on time."
  2. Jot it Down. Don't worry about grammar or spelling. Get the information out of your head and onto the paper. "Fluffy, surgery, worried, didn't send check on time, had money in bank, don't want to pay late fee."
  3. Write Like You Speak. Say out loud what you would say to the bank officer. "I want to explain why my car payment was late last month." Write that down.
  4. Elaborate. Now, tell the bank officer more. "Fluffy, my beloved cat who just turned 12, ate a Lego and had to have emergency surgery early in November. My car payment was due November 6, I think, but I was so worried that I forgot to mail the check on time. I didn't mail the check until around November 11. I know the payment was late and I want to apologize. I would like you to consider my circumstances and waive the late fee this one time for my oversight."
  5. Research. Are there any missing parts? When was your payment due, exactly? When was Fluffy's surgery? Get it right.
  6. Finish Writing. Now, go back and add the missing dates and details. Be clear about what happened and when. Remember, write like you speak. Don't try to impress or use big words. Just write it simply and get it all down on paper.
  7. Take a Break. You did it! You got your thoughts on paper. Go have a cold beverage and relax for a few minutes. You deserve it!
  8. Polish. Now that you're refreshed, go back and look at what you wrote. Run a spell check. Read it aloud. Ask someone else to read it. Fix any formatting or grammar problems. Keep your page looking clean and simple. You want to communicate after all, not impress the bank officer.
  9. Hand it Over. Now, send that letter. Be proud that you communicated and completed your task. I knew you could do it!

About The Author
Peggy Hazelwood is a writer and editor with 20 years of experience. She runs the Albooktross electronic bookstore, http://www.albooktross.com and the site for writing made easy, http://www.ezeewriter.com. Subscribe to the FREE weekly newsletter - send an email to albooktross-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

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