Positive Writer

Writing through doubt and fear, and you can, too!

Three Ways to Enjoy a Good Writing Challenge

There’s something simultaneously rewarding and utterly frustrating about pushing through your writing to get it into a semi-finished state.

It can take days and weeks, sometimes longer, but the feeling of having written something is great. Here are a few tips for making the actual writing process of that challenge more enjoyable.

Why-you-started-writing

Lately I’ve been feeling stuck creatively. I’ve started no less than five different projects in the past month, but never made it past the first twenty pages. Every time I sit down to edit, I can’t seem to find a way to put my ideas onto paper. Even this post took me a couple days to come up with a topic when usually I have a whole list of them to pick from.

I think I’m finally getting over that now, but being in that position was so aggravating. Every word I painstakingly typed felt dull. None of the sentences were flowing like they usually did. But once I figured out how to turn that writer’s block into a manageable challenge, I was able to get back to normal.

Here are three things I did:

1. Let go of pressure

Easier said than done, right? But if you don’t set the bar so high for yourself (at least at first), it all comes more easily. Let yourself be atrocious. Every cliché, every poorly written simile, all of the stilted dialogue, write it down without fear. Ignore spelling and grammar, don’t even touch the backspace button.

Once that becomes easy, then you can start setting small goals for yourself. Write a page, or even just a paragraph, of whatever project you’re working on. Then two pages. Three. Pretty soon you’re typing like the wind and it’ll be hard to even imagine that you were stuck in the first place.

2. Do it for yourself

Remember when we talked about Difficult Dan? He’s probably a big reason why this is hard for you. Remind yourself of the reason why you started writing in the first place by writing something that no one else will ever see.

Write something solely for the purpose of hiding it underneath your mattress or deep in the documents file of your computer. If you enjoy writing it–and I mean the actual process of writing it, not just the finished project–nothing else matters. It’s a great confidence boost.

3. There’s always next time

It’s okay not to do it perfectly the first time. Or the second time, or the third, or ever, really. That’s what editing is for. You don’t even have to keep everything you write, you can always scrap a project (just as long as you don’t get too attached to that delete button).

I’ve written many a short story that will never see the light of day. Lots of novels have maybe thirty pages written, and that’s all it’ll ever be. That’s perfectly fine. You learn something from every experience, even failed attempts. And with that newfound wisdom, you can write something fantastic.

What are some techniques you use to enjoy a good challenge? Share in the comments!

This post is by Positive Writer contributor The Magic Violinist.

About The Magic Violinist

I am a home schooled teenager who daydreams, writes, reads, and does nerdy stuff in my free time. I have two awesome parents, a wonderful little brother, and an adorable, crazy dog named Scout. I blog at The Magic Violinist. I'm also a contributor to The Audacity to be a Writer. I'd say that I want to be an author when I grow up, but I don't think I can wait that long.

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Like a good friend, Bryan guides you through the process of facing your inner demons, conquering the craft, and creating work that matters. ―Jeff Goins
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  • Donna Phillips

    Great post! I will be using these ideas!

  • Nicole M

    I try to turn a challenge into a competition. Even if I am just competing against the timer, I really like to win. 🙂

    • That’s a fantastic idea! 🙂 Especially for those of us who work better under pressure.

  • Susan Mary Malone

    You are so right–we often focus so much on the results that we stifle our own creativity. And remembering why we’re doing this in the first place is sure helpful! I love: “Remind yourself of the reason why you started writing in the first place by writing something that no one else will ever see.”
    This works like nothing else I know–both for me as an author, and for those writers I counsel.
    Great post!

    • Thank you so much! I’m glad something I wrote could help you. Hopefully it’s able to carry you through for a long time.

  • Brenda Coffey

    Very nice! Thank you for this wonderful post! You are a great writer. I want to share with you with my sister’s article http://blog.pubslush.com/making-your-character-pop/ . What do you think about it! Is it okay?