Words on a Page Writings about writing

Answering questions to break through a block

A question mark

I don’t believe in writer’s block. But I do know there are times when you just can’t write. The words are in your head. But they don’t travel from your brain to your fingertips to keyboard to screen. You’re frozen.

When that happens, you get frustrated. That makes writing even more difficult. It’s easy to fall into a downward spiral of avoiding the keyboard so you don’t have to face that freeze and that frustration.

One way around that problem is to ask yourself some question. Not just ask, but alsoanswer them. Doing that can burn away the mental fog and get you back to writing.

Here are a few tips.

Leading dual lives

A pair of rhinos

As you may or may not know, in addition to helping my own business, I also write and blog elsewhere. Several elsewheres, to be more precise. One or two of you who do know this find it a bit odd.

On more than a couple of occasions, I’ve been asked why I don’t consolidate everything from my other blogs, or do other writing work, under one umbrella.

It’s an interesting question, and there are two answers to that question.

A few links for the end of the week

Writing should be uncomfortable

A pair of hands on a black laptop

Writing shouldn’t be easy. Writing shouldn’t be free of stress. Writing shouldn’t start with a smile.

Writing should be uncomfortable. Always.

Why do I believe that? If you’re comfortable, you’re not pushing yourself.

If you’re comfortable, you’re not trying as hard as you should be.

If you’re comfortable, you’re not learning or improving.

If you’re comfortable, you’re not pushing the limits of your ability.

If you’re comfortable, your writing becomes mechanical. It risks becoming repetitive. It becomes a bit too easy. When that happens, you’re doing yourself and your readers a disservice.

Learning to write tightly by summarizing

A man writing on a small pad

When blogging or presenting about writing, and when coaching other writers, I continually hammer home the point that we all need to learn to write tightly. I hammer that point home so much that people get sick of hearing it.

I stand by that opinion. Writing tightly is an essential skill for any writer. Why? You might need to write to a specific word count. Or, you might only have a small space in which to write. In either case, you need to boil your writing down to its essentials.

One very effective way to learn how to write tightly is by practicing writing summaries of book chapters, articles, blog posts, or news items.

Here’s a look at how to do that.