5 Creative Ways to Battle Writer’s Block

Nicholas C. Rossis

This is a guest post by Ben Russel, a content marketing expert contributing to solidessay.com and godotmedia.com. Depending on his availability, Ben also helps students with their academic papers.

5 Creative Ways to Battle Writer’s Block

Calvin & Hobbes, writer's block | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's booksWriting is an interesting career that requires a writer to think outside the box and be creative. Writing in the same field can become exhaustive after a while, and writers may find it difficult to come up with new ideas. This often leads to self-plagiarism and the infamous writer’s block. Here are some tips on how to overcome these.

1. Divide and conquer

Writing longer works can be a hard task for writers. To make it simple, they can divide up the writing into different independent sections that will be joined together upon completion. More importantly, this will allow them to juggle various ideas without forgetting any of them: writing an idea…

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Writing Quotes — R.A. Salvatore

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Avast! There be Pirates!

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Avast! There be Pirates!

We pour our heart, soul, blood, sweat, and tears into our writing. Every day we sit at the computer, or at a desk putting pen to paper writing a book, a series, or a short story. When the first draft is finished, we begin the painful but necessary task of editing, rewriting where needed, and revising. Once this is finished, it’s off to the beta readers, then more editing and revising. Finally, we have a book that’s ready to be published!

Many indie authors do everything themselves; formatting, the cover, the conversion to eBook. Many don’t have a choice because of limited funds. Others hire people to do the work for this which is great, keeps people employed. Once the book is ready, it goes live, and the author eagerly waits for readers to purchase their book.

The sales start coming in and the author is happy, returning to what they do best: writing more books. Meanwhile, a reader decides they love the book so much they want to make it available to everyone. For free. This is PIRACY. EBook Piracy is the illegal downloading of eBooks, usually for free. Some sites actually charge for these downloads, keeping all the profits for themselves, leaving the author out in the cold. If you download one of the pirated copies, you are STEALING! The online version of Shoplifting! You are the lowest life form to rob an author in this manner. Many writers depend on the income they receive from selling eBooks and if you illegally download a copy, you’re keeping them from making a living.

Don’t try to justify your actions by saying ‘You can’t afford to buy a copy’. Or ‘Everyone else is doing it.’ It doesn’t matter, you are stealing. There’s always a way to earn money to buy an eBook. Instead of paying your monthly subscription for playing an online game, use the money to buy an eBook! Do you really need to have Starbucks every day? Don’t support the pirates! Support the authors of the books you love to read!

For writers, there are a few steps you can take to help combat this growing problem.

  1. Create a Google Alert with your name and the title(s) of the books you have written. Set it for Daily.
  2. Do a Search of the popular file sharing sites.
  3. If you find a site that is hosting your work, you need to send them a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) form letter (A sample is available at the end of this article.)
  4. Make a list of these sites and check them a couple times a month.
  5. If your work is distributed through a publisher, let them know about the illegal downloads.

With more and more eBooks becoming available, the problem of Piracy will increase unless authors and readers take action. Don’t let these thieves ruin our livelihood and our lives with their activities.

SAMPLE DMCA TAKE DOWN NOTICE

My name is INSERT NAME and I am the INSERT TITLE of INSERT COMPANY NAME. A website that your company hosts (according to WHOIS information) is infringing on at least one copyright owned by my company.

An article was copied onto your servers without permission. The original ARTICLE/PHOTO, to which we own the exclusive copyrights, can be found at:

PROVIDE WEBSITE URL

The unauthorized and infringing copy can be found at:

PROVIDE WEBSITE URL

This letter is official notification under Section 512(c) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (”DMCA”), and I seek the removal of the aforementioned infringing material from your servers. I request that you immediately notify the infringer of this notice and inform them of their duty to remove the infringing material immediately, and notify them to cease any further posting of infringing material to your server in the future.

Please also be advised that law requires you, as a service provider, to remove or disable access to the infringing materials upon receiving this notice. Under US law a service provider, such as yourself, enjoys immunity from a copyright lawsuit provided that you act with deliberate speed to investigate and rectify ongoing copyright infringement. If service providers do not investigate and remove or disable the infringing material this immunity is lost. Therefore, in order for you to remain immune from a copyright infringement action you will need to investigate and ultimately remove or otherwise disable the infringing material from your servers with all due speed should the direct infringer, your client, not comply immediately.

I am providing this notice in good faith and with the reasonable belief that rights my company owns are being infringed. Under penalty of perjury I certify that the information contained in the notification is both true and accurate, and I have the authority to act on behalf of the owner of the copyright(s) involved.

Should you wish to discuss this with me please contact me directly.

Thank you.

/s/YOUR NAME

Address
City, State Zip

Phone
E-mail

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Writing Quotes — Jack London

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What’s on Your Shelf?

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What’s on Your Shelf?

Before I started writing, I was a reader. I’d read the back of cereal boxes at breakfast, read under the covers with a flashlight when I was supposed to be sleeping. I love reading! I think my parents gave me the reading gene, since they both loved to read. I would go to the library and leave with a stack of books, returning a week or so later for more. As a writer, reading is even more important.

With the age of eBooks, my current To Be Read List has increased to over 1200 books. Some of the books are for research for two of my trilogies, the others concern writing, editing, and self-publishing. The rest are novels. I read novels for fun, but I also read them to learn how that particular author wrote them. Studying the way they use dialogue and weave in descriptions of characters, places, and things. How did they make that scene so emotional? How did they make me feel like I was actually there? What is their secret to great fight scenes? So many questions run through my mind when I read. Some novels I enjoy so much, I tend to read them again, so I set them into a Collection on my Kindle called Read Again. These novels are like comfort food. Something I can read when I want to escape or relax and think of nothing else but the characters in the novel.

When I read for fun, the genres I prefer are Thrillers, Conspiracy, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal (so long as the paranormal doesn’t have too much romance in it.), Fantasy, Steampunk, some Science Fiction, Mysteries, police procedurals, Zombie novels (yes, there are a few zombie novels I enjoy), some Horror, and a few  vampire novels. (No, I did not read the Twilight series, nor do I plan to read it. Give me Bram Stoker’s Dracula any time.) Last but not least, a book I’ve read over and over is The Complete Sherlock Holmes: with an introduction from Robert Ryan by Arthur Conan DoyleRobert Ryan (Foreword). Since my interests lie in lost civilizations, such as Atlantis and Lemuria, I have a number of books on my shelves and Kindle for these subjects. And last but certainly not least, I have The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by JRR Tolkien.

I own several books about writing and editing I think every writer should have on their shelf or on their ebook reader. The first is On Writing: A Memoir Of The Craft by Stephen King. He offers a great deal of advice to new writers and to writers who have already been published. I’ve read this book countless times and never tire of it.

The next book is a must if you want to be organized when writing your book: Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success by K.M. Weiland. She takes you through the process of selecting the type of outline that will work for you, shows how an outline won’t restrict your creativity but help to enhance it. I also have the Outlining Your Novel Workbook.

Next up, we have Structuring Your Novel: Essential Keys for Writing an Outstanding Story by K.M. Weiland. She explains the structure of your novel, techniques you can use; taking you from the opening sentence to the end and what goes on in between those two points. I also have the Structuring Your Novel Workbook.

Onward! Here’s another you should own  Revision and Self Editing for Publication: Techniques for Transforming Your First Draft into a Novel that Sells by James Scott Bell. Sure, you can hire a professional editor to go through your work, but editing the manuscript first will help your editor. Even though you’re paying the editor, you aren’t their only client. Anything you can fix before sending it out is a good thing. This is also important when you send out copies to beta readers.

Another one about editing. Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, Second Edition: How to Edit Yourself Into Print by Renni BrowneDave King. Again, read the book, follow the advice they give.

Another book I have is How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method (Advanced Fiction Writing Book 1)  by Randy Ingermanson. This was a good book and has several interesting ideas to help with your writing. Parts of this were funny too and it was a fast read. 

Two more I recently added to my shelf are Fire up Your Fiction: An Editor’s Guide to Writing Compelling Stories and Captivate Your Readers: An Editor’s Guide to Writing Compelling Fiction by Jodie Renner. Again, some good information and tips in both these book. 

I own another book, Flip Dictionary Paperback by Barbara Ann Kipfer. This book is great when you want to say something, but can’t think of the word or phrase. Unfortunately, there’s no ebook version for this book.

One other I own is Random House Webster’s Word Menu by Stephen Glazier. This book is organized by categories to help you find the words you need. It’s a cross between a dictionary and a thesaurus.

The books I listed above won’t make you the next Stephen King, but they will help you become a better writer, helping you to create stories that flow and are a joy to read. I know there are other good books on writing and editing out there, but I stick by my list.

May the words ever flow!

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Studying the Masters – Part 7 – Jonathan Kellerman

Don Massenzio's Blog

This post is the seventh in a series that I’ve been writing about the individuals that I view as the masters in my genre of choice, crime/detective fiction. I am a firm believer that you become better in whatever field you pursue by following those that excelled and paved the way before you.


kellerman

Jonathan Kellerman is a classic example of writing what you know. He has written a series of novels where the main character is a California psychologist that treats children. This mirrors his own life. He is a trained psychologist and has written 48 fiction novels to date along with 5 non-fiction works on psychology, crime reporting, and guitars (he’s also a musician).

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Jonathan Kellerman has been a huge influence on an aspect of my own writing. Kellerman has developed two characters, Alex Delaware and Milo Sturgis that have stood the test of time. He takes these same…

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A Perfect 10 with Kathleen Lopez

Don Massenzio's Blog

Today we sit down with author Kathleen Lopez to learn about her work and the things that inspire and motivate her.

Please enjoy this edition of A Perfect 10.

If you want to check out past interviews, you can find them in the following links:

A.C. Flory, Steve Boseley, Kayla Matt, Mae Clair, Jill Sammut, Deanna Kahler, Dawn Reno Langley, John Howell, Elaine Cougler, Jan Sikes

Also, if you are an author and you want to be part of this feature, I still have a few slots open for 2017. You can email me at don@donmassenzio.com


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  • Does writing energize or exhaust you?

I find writing to be very energizing.  There is something thrilling about creating events and stories from pure imagination.  There is some work involved, sure, and there are times that it may put a strain as a writer can…

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