It’s amazing to think that some of history’s greatest ever scribes didn’t always finish a novel. What’s more fascinating is when those books were amongst some of those writer’s most acclaimed pieces of work. It’s incredible what you can get away with when you’re a genius. Here’s a look at the greatest books ever written that each of which, for various reasons, were never actually finished. Continue reading
Arranging words on a page to convey thoughts and ideas is a very complex process that relies entirely on the way the composer perceives and comprehends their world. Developing a personal writing style is a natural evolution that takes place throughout the entire career of any writer, and it can be profoundly influenced by nearly any aspect of the writer’s life or education. Continue reading
Try these 5 tips to help get rid of writers block and get your creativity flowing.
Freelance writers have a lot of obstacles to face but none can be more daunting than figuring how to get rid of writers block. At one point or another, every freelance writer’s brain has drawn a complete blank at the most unlikely time. Maybe there’s a tight deadline or a time crunch due to personal reasons, say a hot date or Monday night football? Whatever the case, when writers block kicks in and you haven’t got the time to wait for your creativity to spontaneously reappear, these 5 tips will help you jumpstart your productivity and get you back on track.
1. Break away your immediate environment and change your perspective. According to Scientific American, a magazine devoted to scientific discovery and technological innovation, “there are several simple steps we can all take to increase creativity, such as traveling to faraway places (or even just thinking about such places), thinking about the distant future, communicating with people who are dissimilar to us, and considering unlikely alternatives to reality.” In short, a great way to get rid of writers block might be as simple as daydreaming about an overdue vacation or chatting with an eccentric friend can spark creativity by giving your brain a little dose of something different.
2. Write your project in piece mill proportions. Instead of trying to write an entire project in one sitting, take your time and divide up the work. Oftentimes, looking at a job as one whopping task can be a bit overwhelming. After dividing the work up into portions, finish one part at a time with breaks in between.
3. Improve your eating habits and exercise more to help get rid of writers block. A recent California Polytechnic State University article revealed that, “if you work out regularly and eat right, you will feel better and your mental health will improve,” so that when you sit down and begin to write “you will feel energized and your mind will focus more easily.” While most correlate healthy eating and exercise to well being and looking good, it might be worth it to remember that writers block prevents you from being productive and poor productivity means less money for you.
4. Rethink your process. If you want to get rid of writers block take some time to sit down a rethink your daily routine. Factors like what time you wake up, others things you have to accomplish during the day, and where your work area is, all have an effect on your productivity as well as your creativity. If you’re more of a night owl, however you find yourself trying to work in the morning, maybe you can do a schedule change where you focus writing time during the day. Also, take the time out to make a daily schedule of other things that you have scheduled during the day and plan them accordingly and reasonably so that you have time to accomplish all the task at hand.
5. Forget the physical reward behind completing your work. While getting rid of writers block can definitely benefit you in the areas of time and money, it might be worth it to remind yourself why you like to write. In a review of a Boston Globe report, GNU.org found that, “A related series of studies shows that intrinsic interest in a task — the sense that something is worth doing for its own sake — typically declines when someone is rewarded for doing it.” So, try letting go of the idea of “money, awards, praise, or winning a contest…as the reason [for] engaging in an activity, that activity will be viewed as less enjoyable in its own right.”
NLP storytelling can be a remarkably effective tool when used correctly. Mastery of persuasion requires the understanding and application of specialized techniques that many esteemed figures ranging from businessmen to world leaders have put to use. You may have used NLP techniques before in advertising, but they have the most potential when they are interwoven into natural dialog. Association with the audience is essential because people are much more receptive to someone they can relate to. You must learn to show, not tell.
Stories can serve as vessels for your message, sort of like a Trojan horse. Your audience receives your information in the form of a relatable anecdote that’s easier to digest and understand than blatant marketing, and eventually this story will manifest itself in the recipients mind as a belief or call to action. Believe it or not, a fantastic example of NLP in storytelling is children’s television shows and cartoons. The actual story arc and plot of the episodes keeps them interested and engaged, and as the show finishes there is almost always a lesson to take away from the episode. Kids aren’t watching these shows because they want a lesson in ethics and morality, they want to be entertained. However, the writers of these shows use that craving for entertainment to inject positive messages that can subconsciously persuade children to make better choices. The same concept can be utilized for marketing, people don’t want to be persuaded to give up their hard-earned cash, they crave genuine communication and that’s exactly what you should give them, albeit with motives of your own.
Creating an effective NLP story is not difficult when you approach it in an organized fashion. First, you need to determine what it is you want the audience to do or not do. That’s what it comes down to, action or inaction. Most often it will be to buy a product, other times to donate to a charity. Maybe you want your audience to stay away from a competitor’s products. Once you have a clear and simple goal, the next step is to determine the elements of your story and the anchors that you want to attach to them.
The elements of your story are the center of your motives. If you’re selling your product and dissuading people from buying a competitor’s product, the elements of the story are the two different products. Keep in mind that the elements are not the stars of the story, the characters or events of the story are in the spotlight. Now it’s time to come up with some positive and negative anchors to attach to these elements. Anchors are separate entities that carry some sort of strong emotion either positive or negative. When we attach these anchors to our elements, they evoke strong responses from the audience. Good health, entertainment, and convenience are positive anchors. Bad appearance, poor quality, and dishonesty are negative anchors. You need to decide on some of these anchors for each entity involved based on your motives, and think of a way to weave these ideas into a cohesive narrative, perhaps in the form of a testimonial or personal anecdote.
Let’s take a look at an example. We are selling an acne treatment called Acne Stomper, and we are in direct competition with the makers of Acne Assassin. These are the two different elements of the story. After taking a look at the elements and doing a bit of brainstorming, we come up with some good ideas for anchors that can work together in a testimonial. We want to make the claim that our acne product improves appearance by moisturizing as it eliminates acne. At the same time, we want to claim that the competitor’s product can prolong embarrassment and overall is not as effective as our product. In order to put this in a testimonial, we can have a relatable teenager tell a story about how they had acne all through high school and no acne treatment product worked for them. They can even connect with the audience on a more detailed level by telling a horror story about having acne during prom because of the ineffectiveness of their acne treatment.
We can then work our positive anchors into the story by showing the same teenager with a clear complexion and talking about how much better it is to have soothing moisturized skin. They can talk about how their social life improved after using our product. Maybe they got themselves a nice date too.
NLP storytelling is simple when you break the process down enough to think the way a consumer thinks. Simply persuade them using a realistic and possible scenario that your desired call to action will genuinely benefit them, and you will have used their own motives and desires to achieve your own.
Short stories are a fantastic way to express oneself through writing, especially for beginners. Those without the time to undergo the arduous task of writing a novel or more expansive text can get their point across just as easily and more succinctly using a short story. The plot building process is much simpler, but certain techniques must be used because there is less room to work with. A well-executed short story can be just as memorable as any other form of storytelling and it is a skill that any writer can benefit from.
Preparation and Outline
Before you start writing short stories, you need to develop a firm grasp on how they are structured and the most effective routes of plot development. The best way to do this is to read acclaimed short stories, take the time to find the best ones (the “classics” from your favorite genre) and focus on specific authors that you admire. Pay very close attention to character development and dialog. Some view the smaller word count as a restriction, but a good author will use it as an advantage.
Every short story starts out with a premise or idea; you need some sort of inspiration. This can be elements from your everyday life or purely your imagination, but having a great idea for a plot with a clear sense of direction is absolutely essential to begin writing.
After you’ve read a decent amount of short stories and you have some potential plot ideas forming, it’s time to write up an outline. Determine the course of events including how you plan on introducing the characters and setting. Write it all down neatly and organized in a presentable way so that you can easily transcribe it into prose. Once this foundation is built, it’s time to sit down and write.
Writing the Story
The very first paragraph of your story is the most essential; you need to capture the reader as soon as their eyes hit the page. Get them interested in your characters and their motives right from the start. You may have the leisure of a slow beginning when writing a novel, but in a short story environment you need to keep the chain of events moving at all times. Build a strong foundation right from the introduction and the rest of the story will come more naturally, and the reader will keep the pages turning more eagerly.
Everyone is different when it comes to the actual technique of writing. Some prefer to map out every single part of the story before actual writing it while others operate on a more unstructured “go with the flow” mindset, either way it’s easy sometimes to forget the time restraints in place so just remember to keep the action going. Don’t bring too many new elements into the mix once you’ve established enough to work with, you will confuse the reader and muddle up an otherwise clean delivery.
Review and Edit
Once you have a draft that you are satisfied with, read it over very carefully, sentence by sentence. It’s easy to start subconsciously skimming when you read your own work, so really try to focus on grammar and sentence structure as well as pacing and flow. This is of course not enough proofreading to be called a final draft; you need a second pair of eyes for that. Some people will tell you to find a friend, but that’s actually quite misleading. A friend will be looking out for your feelings, so they may be too nice and not mention any gripes that they had. Find someone you know will be brutally honest with you and have them look over your draft.
Before you go show your short story to anyone as a finished product, it is very wise to just put it down for a month and let your mind be cleared of it. Pick it up with a new perspective and immerse yourself in the story the same way that a reader would. If you feel that it just doesn’t work, go back and rework the plot or just start all over again with a new idea. If you give up on it you’ll never improve, so the most important thing of all is to just keep writing.
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