Authors Helping Authors · Inspiration · Writing Tips

“How A First Time Author Overcomes Writer’s Block” ~ by Susan Hatton

Writer's Block 1
Writer’s Block 1 (Photo credit: OkayCityNate)

For years I had a story line in mind for my first book. ‘Re-write the legends’ I thought, ‘it will be easy!’ I was very wrong. I would constantly stumble, falter over what colour whose eyes were. To stop forgetting minor details I tried writing them in a file titled Notes, but before I knew it I had 16 different files within that file on everything from character descriptions to character backgrounds and even building descriptions and places! There was probably more than 15 times I started writing again and stopped soon after, completely confused and frustrated at why the story was in my head and yet it wouldn’t go on paper.

When my daughter was born with a rare condition I was stuck, I wanted to fight to raise awareness but I wanted to be a fiction writer as well. Suddenly I had the idea to mingle awareness of my daughter’s condition within a fiction novel using my own experiences as leverage. Before she was born I wouldn’t have listened to statistics and numbers, I needed something exciting to grab my interest. Like a book about vampires. Inspiration struck and my passion for writing merged with my passion for making a difference. ‘I will write disabilities as though tied with the legends! Make people remember it, even if they only remember reading about some condition in a book once they can pass the knowledge on to any one they have contact with that might need it. I could really help people!’ the passion was nearly making me explode at that point! So… why was it still not going on paper?

After deciding I was going to go for it one day whether it was rubbish or not, I researched ways to help and how to move on and discovered it was a common problem known as writer’s block, so I decided to see just what writer’s block really is and if there are any tips online. What I discovered shocked me and spurred me on to get my story down and it is now being published. I can call myself an author and my dream is really happening. What I discovered is that writer’s block is only a trick of the mind and is when a writer over complicates something or writes something they THINK is rubbish and then just gives in. That made me smile.

After reading up on writers block I decided to just go for it and have fun, stop being so serious with it and just write. And I did. When people say to me now “I would love to write a book but…” my advice is simple. Open a file on your computer, write the beginning of your story and don’t stop till you have written the end. Don’t worry about characters, where they are or details or anything just write the bits that are in your head and use this as a basis to write an extended version, if you decide at that time you DO want a certain character to do something and you know what colour hair or eyes you want them to have then open another file called ‘notes to remember’ and copy the descriptions in there to use later on.

Oh and before I forget, the greatest thing I found to help my writing was caffeine. After three energy drinks and the coffee percolator on again things just started flowing, and even if it didn’t make sense when I went back to it (after recovering obviously!) it turned out I had so many terrific ideas to work from then. I found ways to spice up the boring parts and got the energy to just keep going without my eyes going blurry or closing on me half way through a sentence!

My book might never sell one copy, but in all honesty my dream was to see my name on the shelves as an author. That dream is coming true, that’s worth more than any amount of money in the world.  And writer’s block will not stop me again!

~~~~~~~~by Susan Hatton, Author of Awake Again (release date coming soon!), Blogger at http://susanpolp.wordpress.com/, Mother of three amazing children, Desperate to inspire and encourage others to follow their dreams and make the journey from writer to author.

HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH WRITER’S BLOCK?

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11 thoughts on ““How A First Time Author Overcomes Writer’s Block” ~ by Susan Hatton

    1. Thank you for your comment! I didnt know it was writers block becuase i assumed that meant you couldnt think of what to write, turns out it can be the opposite aswell and over thinking what your writing. Its very frustrating! Thank you for reading and thank you again for commenting – Susan Hatton

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      1. I don’t think I’ve ever had that problem either. I’ve always written everything in my head first because I’m rarely in a position where I can just sit down in front of a computer when inspiration strikes. I go through every last word a hundred times in my head so that, by the time I am able to sit down and write, I’m simply transcribing the movie that’s been playing in my head. I really don’t think there is such a thing as over thinking when it comes to writing. My mode of thinking has always been just get it all down and sort it out later. I wrote four or five different endings for HEAR HIM CRY that all began about 3/4 of the way through the story. I began thinking of it as a choose your own adventure book (remember those?) and just had fun with it.

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        1. I’m glad you had fun with it, as for the rest of the advice on writers block everyone is different. All I hope to do with this article is help others that suffer from writers block to find a way to overcome it, whether they use the way’s I have said i used or take inspiration to find their own is completely up to them. The main idea is that writers block doesn’t necessarily have to stop us in our tracks 🙂 thank you for sharing your personal experiences.

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  1. Thanks for sharing this advice, Susan. I do the same thing. I have notebooks filled with descriptions of characters and places. I don’t know why I didn’t put them in a word file to begin with. Oh well…live and learn –they say.

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    1. I found myself swamped with files, folders AND notebooks while trying to make the stories for my characters before even starting with the story for my book ha ha. In the end I opened just one document and took it from their. Hope i helped – Susan Hatton.

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  2. Thanks for the advice and encouragement, Susan! Great post. I like the passion you show for telling the (and your daugther’s) story within you. Your description of file upon file of story “notes” made me laugh because I DO THE SAME THING! 🙂 And yet it doesn’t seem to help me be any more focused on the story. (Yes, writing out character descriptions, plot points, and outlines help, of course, but are not the full answer to making progress.) I found the best thing to do–and is what you say–is just write the d@&% book! The more you write, the more it makes sense, and the more you make progress, even if slowly. See my take on writer’s block in one of my latest posts: http://eclecticpills.wordpress.com/2013/04/09/writers-block-does-not-exist/

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    1. Thank you for your comment, I will definatly have a look at your post now. The problem for me was thinking ‘but what if I need to refer to a characters background later? I should have it ready now!’ and then I was writing the characters, there profiles, their histories and there desires in life etc JUST IN CASE I needed them later on. And with a group of five vampires, a mermaid, medusa, two angels and a demon that seemed to could my mind and stop me from remembering my own name after a few hours! Once I let the actual story line flow I found the rest just sort of fell into place 🙂 it has still been hard work don’t get me wrong, but this time I have enjoyed doing it. And I feel about to burst with pride knowing my book will be available this summer. – Susan Hatton.

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  3. Wow, I’d want to keep all those characters straight too! 🙂 But you’re right: just start writing and much of it falls into place. Where I struggle is when I forget some of the plot points and the details of the backstory (e.g., writing about a virus and the timeline is difficult to keep straight). That’s very exciting about your book! Best of success to you when it’s published!

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  4. As writers, we all occasionally suffer from writers block – the inability to move forward with the story. Part of the problem is lack of forward planning about what you want to write. Every writer has his or her own technique to writing, but a good outline will help diminish instances where you don’t know what to do next.

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