7 Tips to Beating Writer’s Block

The Illuminator's Test, by Alina Sayre

The Illuminator’s Test, by Alina Sayre

7 Tips to Beating Writer’s Block

Guest Post, by Alina Sayre

Back in the spring, I undertook the enormous project of writing and publishing a novel by the end of this year. To meet that goal, I realized I’d have to write 10,000 words a week. That didn’t leave much time for writer’s block! I eventually met my goal, and my second fantasy novel, The Illuminator’s Test, released on December 1st. Here are some tips I learned along the way for avoiding writer’s block and keeping creativity flowing.

  1. Set a challenging deadline. How long do you think it will take to finish your book? Now give yourself less. Try NaNoWriMo or decide you want the book finished by the end of 2015. Your timeline doesn’t have to be crazy, but having an impending deadline certainly helped me stay on task and waste less time.
  2. Write with a partner. To keep each other accountable, my writer friend Angela Wallace and I sometimes met to do our writing at the same time. Sometimes it happened in person at a coffee shop; other times we exchanged emails or Tweets to check in. It’s hard to waste time on the Internet when you know someone else is writing productively across the table from you.
  3. Develop a routine. Arranging your morning tasks into a normal rhythm can help your brain get ready to write. I sometimes change the order of the items in my routine, but it almost always includes things like eating a healthy breakfast, going for a walk, and checking/answering my emails for the day. It helps my body and mind settle down so I can focus on writing.
  4. Switch tasks. Sometimes my brain refuses to settle down into the writing zone. That’s okay—no need to waste time staring at the blank page! A good friend suggested I keep a list of all my writing-related tasks that need doing. Then I can pick and choose any task from the list. I’ll often start my day out with less thought-intensive tasks, like editing yesterday’s fiction or writing a blog post, while my brain warms up. After about thirty minutes, I’m usually ready to start work on my book.
  5. Change locations. Writing spots are like gardening soil. Sometimes you use up all the mental “nutrients” in one place and you find yourself unable to think. To get the ideas flowing again, I like to change my writing scenery every so often. A day in a coffee shop can really help me focus, but sometimes all it takes is switching from my office desk to the living room couch. The outdoors can be an especially inspiring setting.
  6. Create a project playlist. For both books in my Voyages of the Legend series, I’ve started almost every writing session with the same playlist. The first song, the instrumental “Ora” by Italian composer Ludovico Einaudi, creates a Pavlovian response in my brain. When it starts playing, my thoughts begin to focus and I step into the fantasy world of Aletheia.
  7. Nourish yourself. Writing draws from the well of what you have inside of you (energy, ideas, mood, calm, etc). If all you do is drain your well, you’re going to run out of writing inspiration. Much writing feeds our souls, it is still work, and it is tiring. So I’ve learned that taking care of myself is taking care of my writing. While things like coffee and sleep deprivation may power me through a short sprint to the end of a book, I’ve learned to generally maintain habits that are good for me long-term. Daily walks, exposure to sunshine, quiet prayer time, bedtime fiction reading, and scheduling regular meet-ups with friends are things that help me stay balanced and keep my well of inspiration filled up.

Synopsis of The Illuminator’s Test:

As Ellie and her friends start new lives on the flying island of Rhynlyr, Ellie hopes she’s finally found a home. At the Academy, she learns to wield her gift of Sight and discovers her role in the war against Draaken. But Draaken also wants to control Ellie’s gift. With the help of a blind mentor, an elite bodyguard, and a hostile singer, Ellie must navigate a storm of danger and deception that threatens to cut her off from her friends and corrupt her very self. When disaster strikes, will she find the courage to fight for her friends and the future of the One Kingdom?

 

Author bio:

Alina Sayre began her literary career chewing on board books and is now the award-winning author of The Voyages of the Legend, a fantasy series for readers ages 9-14. Book 1, The Illuminator’s Gift, was a silver medalist in the 2014 Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards and has appeared at a number of schools and literacy events. On December 1 it was joined by Book 2, The Illuminator’s Test, now available on Amazon.com and at select bookstores! When she’s not writing, Alina enjoys photography, collecting crazy socks, and reading under blankets. When she grows up, she would like to live in a castle with a large library.

Website: www.alinasayre.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/alinasayreauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AlinaSayre

E-mail: alinasayreauthor@gmail.com

The Illuminator’s Gift on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Illuminators-Gift-Voyages-Legend-Book-ebook/dp/B00GYNPIAE/

The Illuminator’s Test on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Illuminators-Test-Voyages-Legend-Book-ebook/dp/B00QDDOA18/

Alina Sayre, Author of The Illuminator's Test

Alina Sayre, Author of The Illuminator’s Test

4 Comments

  • Posted December 5, 2014 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

    Great post, Alina. Thanks for the tips.

  • Posted December 6, 2014 at 1:42 am | Permalink

    So glad you found it helpful, Diane! I’m glad we’ve now connected on Twitter 🙂

  • Posted December 6, 2014 at 3:00 am | Permalink

    Great tips! I miss our writing pow-wows. 🙂

  • Posted December 6, 2014 at 4:17 am | Permalink

    I’m so jealous you even had pow-wows! What a great way to support each other!

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