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Five Things You Should Say to a Struggling Writer + Five Things You Really Shouldn’t

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We writers are a fickle breed, known for intense bouts of emotion and also times where were get so stuck in a creative writing rut we become determined to bring everyone down into it with us so they can share our pain. Also, the idea of actually sitting down and writing, for fun, is mystifying for some people. coughlikemyfriendscough

So, I am here to clarify what you should and shouldn’t say to your writing-block striken friends, to make sure that you don’t become written into their novel and killed.

FIVE THINGS YOU SHOULD SAY

1. IS THERE ANYTHING I CAN DO TO HELP?

Simple, easy, and it won’t raise any hackles. Plus, maybe there is something that you can do to help!

2. DO YOU WANT FOOD?

Probably yes. Food is brain fuel. Food helps writers write.

3. YOUR NOVEL SOUNDS LIKE THE AWESOMEST THING EVER AND AN IDEA AS AWESOME AS THAT CAN’T DIE

Because, a lot of times, writer’s block is less about the lack of ideas and more about doubt in the idea. If the writer thinks their idea is horrible, they’re not going to want to write it! But if someone tells them that they genuinely think that their idea is the best thing they’ve ever heard, it can give the writer the confidence boost they need.

4. DO YOU NEED ME TO LEAVE SO YOU CAN WRITE?

Maybe they have writer’s block because someone’s sitting there staring at them while they try to write.

5. MAYBE YOU NEED TO TAKE A BREAK FROM WRITING. DO YOU WANT TO GO TO THIS NEW BAKERY DOWN THE STREET?

If you’ve been staring at a laptop screen for the past five hours, everything is going to start blurring together and nothing is going to sound good. Offer to take the writer somewhere! Their favorite bookstore or cafe, the new little bakery, the movies, anywhere! They might say no, but they might just take you up on it, too.

FIVE THINGS YOU SHOULDN’T SAY

1. CAN I READ WHAT YOU’RE WRITING?

Remember what I said about how most of the time, writer’s block is more about doubt than anything else? While, if you’re doubting your idea or your writing skills or your characters or whatever, the last thing you want is for someone to actually read it. And someone asking you in person can make you feel like you’re being backed into a corner. Say no, and you seem rude. Say yes, but you really don’t want to.

Don’t do this. Even if the writer isn’t struggling.

2. MAYBE YOU NEED TO WORK ON SOMETHING ELSE FOR A WHILE. I’VE HAD A GREAT IDEA FOR A NOVEL FOR A WHILE NOW…

Repeat after me: a writer is not there to write your ideas. A writer is there to write their ideas. If you have a really awesome idea, write it yourself. Don’t try and make your writer friend write it for you.

3. WRITER’S BLOCK DOESN’T EXIST

There is nothing more annoying than a non-writer saying this to a writer. We don’t care if you’ve read articles written by famous authors saying that writer’s block isn’t a thing. Why? Because you’re not a writer, therefor, you don’t understand writer’s block. It’s that simple.

4. MAYBE THIS ISN’T THE IDEA YOU SHOULD BE WRITING

Because,sometimes, that’s the thing that the writer wants to hear, but they shouldn’t hear. It’s all too easy to give up on a novel when things get difficult, and it’s even easier when someone else tells them so. Instead, tell them to push through.

5. I DIDN’T LIKE IT/IT WASN’T FOR ME/IT HAD SOME PROBLEMS

If your friend has just given you their novel to read, don’t critique it unless they explicitly asked for critique. Imagine working for hours on a meal, and as soon as you set it down in front of someone, they started telling you all the things that were wrong with it. It’s the same sort of idea.

Fellow writing blogglings, do you agree with the things on these lists? Is there anything that you disagree with? Is there anything I should add? Do you think writer’s block is a real thing?

Happy Monday,

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