WRITING YOUR WRITING JOB DESCRIPTIONWritten by Mary Anne Hahn
Have you ever heard about "motivational" concept of writing your own obituary?
The idea is, you write what you would like your obit to say, by summarizing all those accomplishments that you most want to achieve during course of your life. Motivation gurus suggest that this enables us to focus on what's most important to us, while discarding those activities that truly don't matter in long run.
Along similar--but less morbid--lines, I believe that we writers might find it helpful if we took time to write our own writing job descriptions. If we could lead writing lives of our dreams, what types of writing would we be doing? Who would our customers and/or readers be? In what niches would we specialize? What would we consider to be our strongest skills, our areas of expertise?
Or let's say that you want to diversify your writing goals. You could develop a job description for each niche. In this way, you could identify experience and skills you already possess, and which ones you still need to work on.
Here's an example: suppose one of your writing career goals involves writing profile articles--of celebrities, politicians, business leaders, scientists, or just ordinary people who do extraordinary things. What attributes would such a writer need to possess? Excellent interviewing skills, obviously. Research skills would help as well; you certainly wouldn't want to walk into interview with absolutely no background knowledge of your interviewee or his/her subject matter. Attention to detail would come in handy, too. What is your interviewee wearing? What can you say about his smile, or her vocal qualities? What does interviewee's home or office tell us about him?
Thawing Your Writer's BlockWritten by Mary Anne Hahn
When I go through bouts of writer's block, my fingers stiffen, and my brain goes as blank as snowy screen of a television on fritz.
I don't know about you, but I picture writer's block as something cold--like frozen engine of a car in dead of winter, or way your PC sometimes "freezes up" on you when your system gets too busy.
Looking at it that way actually helps to overcome it. Rather than feeling like you are grasping at fog, visualizing writer's block as something three-dimensional can provide you with both strength to confront it, and weapons to conquer it.
How can you thaw your writer's block of ice? Try any or all of following:
1. Chip away at it. No need to write "War and Peace" in one sitting; Tolstoy certainly didn't. Fifteen minutes a day are all you need to give your writing dream some life and structure. Use them to write anything, anything at all--as many article ideas as you can think of, a synopsis of a story idea, a climactic scene in your novel, a limerick, a character sketch, step by step instructions for making perfect omelet or what you would do if you won lottery.
Have some fun with these 15-minute exercises, and you'll probably rediscover truth in adage that "time flies" when you do.
2. Light a match to it. By this I mean, don't think about fact that you are not currently writing; rather, think about why you ever wanted to be a writer in first place. Better yet, *write* about why you want to be a writer. Do you have stories burning inside you that need to be told? Or do you see writing as your key to personal fulfillment or freedom? Melt away writer's block by reigniting your passion for writing--the old daydreams, past feelings of triumph or accomplishment when you finished a piece of work.