Getting Through Writer’s Block

Are you new to writing your book or blog and not really sure where to begin?

Or perhaps you’re an old pro who took a break from the pen and is ready to take up the craft again.

If you’re a writer of any sort, you’ve likely met the literary world’s mortal enemy, writer’s block.

*cue ominous thunder and maniacal laughter*

Well, in all honesty, writer’s block isn’t the soul-crushing, world-ending hurdle most creators purport it to be. There’s quite the easy fix to writer’s block that you can do any time, anywhere.

Just write.

I contend that, barring physical handicap, there’s nothing that keeps a writer from writing . . . except the writer. The true crux of writer’s block isn’t an inability to write, it’s the fear that what you write won’t be good. But then you won’t improve as an author if you don’t write every day. And writing that often means that you’ll undoubtedly create some bad . . . very bad . . . incredibly bad . . . pieces.

And that’s perfectly okay.

Anyone who is a great writer will tell you that first and foremost, you must write for your own pleasure. Whether that pleasure comes from what you create or from simply the act of making it, concentrate on that feeling as the passion that fuels your efforts. Get past the illusion that all writing must meet some arbitrary standard of excellence as soon as pen meets paper or finger taps keys. Stop thinking about your writing and start feeling your writing.

In other words, just let go and let your words flow.

Sure, you may create a horrid first draft that you’ll want to bury in the center of the Earth for no one to ever find. OR! Maybe you’ll find that you’re on your way to creating a manuscript that you’ll want to shout from the heavens for all to hear.

But you won’t know. Unless you write.

So get to it, my fellow creatives. Just write, and don’t obsess over the good, the bad, or the ugly.

After all, that’s what your editor is for. 😉

Happy writing!

Using “Toward” versus “Towards”

In both my writing and the writings of others, I often come across the question of which word to use. Sometimes it’s very basic, like “your” versus “you’re,” but other times the answer isn’t as obvious.

She stretched her hands towards the ceiling.

She stretched her hands toward the ceiling.

Which one is it? Is the correct form based on singular or plural objects, or something like that? Maybe it’s just personal preference?

They both sound right . . . is there even a difference?

Yes, there is.

Initially, my first thought was simply that whichever form a writer used needed to be consistent throughout the work. Pick one and just stick with it. But it turns out there is a significant difference between the two forms.

“Toward” is the American usage, while “towards” is the British usage.

According to The Chicago Manual of Style (2016):

The preferred form is without the ‑s in American English, with it in British English. The same is true for other directional words, such as upward, downward, forward, and backward, as well as afterward. The use of afterwards and backwards as adverbs is neither rare nor incorrect. But for the sake of consistency, it is better to stay with the simpler form.

So there we have it! For American English writers, it’s best to go with “toward.” But if you simply prefer “towards,” (maybe it makes you feel more sophisticated to use the British style!) then go for it. What’s most important is that you’re consistent throughout your work, whichever form you use.

Happy writing!