Category Archives: More

How to (Actually) Cure Writer’s Block

“…There is no such thing as Writer’s block…”

At least, that’s what I keep hearing.

“It’s a lie. It’s an excuse. It doesn’t exist.”

Wrong.

Writer’s Block is real. Every writer ever has faced it.

But – there is a serious problem with calling it “Writer’s Block.”

Let me show you…

Continue reading How to (Actually) Cure Writer’s Block

6 Books that Taught Me How to Write Better

Last week, I picked up a book that promised to teach me how to write a novel.

Yesterday, I threw it across the room.

I was only half-way through when I began skimming in earnest, and by the end I was so sick of it, I didn’t even bother reading the names of the chapters. The advice was so wrong for me – right for somebody, maybe. Maybe someone who was dying to hear some encouraging words and a writing prompt – “You can do it! Write about how you can do it!”

Where were the examples of exquisite descriptions or punchy dialogue? How could I learn about structure without ever looking at one? When was it going to stop talking about writing, and start showing me how to write better?!

So, I went to my laptop, flung open the lid, and tapped furiously until Google answered my question. The results left a bad taste in my mouth . . .

Continue reading 6 Books that Taught Me How to Write Better

Fear of Writing

My name is P.S. Hoffman and I’m afraid of writing. It’s a subtle thing, a small thing that’s hard to notice, but it’s always there. In between every word, there is a pause, a tick where I’m not sure if I can do it, I’m not sure if I can write the next.

I’m afraid I don’t know what I’m talking about. I’m afraid nobody will care, or worse. I’m afraid that what I’ve written now is the last I’ll ever write, because nothing I do will ever be good enough.

My name is P.S. Hoffman, and I’m finished with fear. I have too much to say, I have too much to share, and I don’t have time to be afraid.

And neither do you.

Continue reading Fear of Writing

Do Writers Talk to Each Other?

Most of the people I’m connected with on the internet are writers: Best-selling novelists, bloggers with heavy clout, and budding new writers.Sometimes I wonder, do the authors and bloggers I follow on twitter know each other? I mean, really know each other.

Do they talk? Do they invite each other out for tea or sex or housewarming parties?

I think it’s more likely that they can’t stand each other – too much jealousy, or popularity issues, and the desire to distance yourself from so-and-so because “he’s not a real horror writer, he just writes really long chapters about murders.” Continue reading Do Writers Talk to Each Other?

Grumpy-looking cat

You Can’t Please Everyone: How to Write about Sensitive Topics

This post was written in tandem with my fellow blogger, Samah. Go read Samah’s blog for an illuminating glance into the diverse lives of Scarved Muslim Women.

I’m going to say a word, and you’re going to feel a quake of emotion; I don’t know if it you’ll have a positive reaction or what, but I want you to focus on what you feel.

Are you ready? OK. Here it goes: Feminism.

Feminism is a blazing hot topic, especially on the semi-anonymous internet battlefield. It’s infamous for starting absurd internet wars and it’s divisive enough that sometimes feminists clash with other feminists.

The point is, touchy topics like feminism are so sensitive, they might as well come with a ‘WARNING: FLAMMABLE” sign. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t talk about them.

Here are some tips for you, dear reader, on how to write about sensitive topics without poking the bee’s nest.

Continue reading You Can’t Please Everyone: How to Write about Sensitive Topics

10,000 Words a DAY?! (or How to Use Science to Write More, Better)

The most Novembery of all months is bearing down on us, and soon everyone around the world will be getting to work on novels they’ve been putting off for far too long. Authors will be completing first drafts of novels in November, because who wants to go outside in **the weather**?

Wait. Novel first drafts in a month? How is that possible? That’s like, 5000 words a day, without deleting anything.

If you had asked me 6 months ago, I would have said “That’s impossible.” But I’ve been working up there (I think I’m at around 2000 words on a good day), and if you asked me a few hours ago, I’d say “That’s improbable. Only full-time writers can even get close to that.”

Continue reading 10,000 Words a DAY?! (or How to Use Science to Write More, Better)

Books Too Difficult? Why You Should Read Them Anyway!

I read this article and my brain flopped out of my gaping mouth.

The article picks apart some recent statements by bestselling novelist Nick Hornby, and his suggestion that readers should not force themselves to read difficult books. Hornby says, “Novels should be like TV. It shouldn’t be hard work and we should do ourselves a favour.”

OK, before I get passionate and start ranting, I want to say this: TV can be thought-provoking, immersive and emotionally powerful. TV can be fantastic.

And there is nothing wrong with authors writing easy-to-read books; sometimes you just want to curl up after a long, hard day and relax.

But to prescribe that all books should be easy, that all books should be nothing but popcorn entertainment — this is evil.

 

Continue reading Books Too Difficult? Why You Should Read Them Anyway!