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Participant Pep Talk from Hannah

I’m not going to lie, writing is hard. I’m sure we all know that by now. There are so many things that can get in the way of us writers just sitting down and getting those words on the page. The four main ones, at least for me, are procrastination (“But right now I just wanna watch Grey’s Anatomy!”), Writer’s Block (staring at a blank page and wondering “How on earth do I write?” is part of the process), prior responsibilities (work, school, family, etc.), and the need for sleep (coffee might help a little, but in the end you can’t get around this one).

Besides prior responsibilities and the whole sleep thing, I’ve found ways to fix most of the other things that get in the way of writing. As long as I’m willing to put in the effort. So I’m going to share my tips with you.

1. Procrastination
The only way to stop procrastinating… is to stop procrastinating. Set a timer if you have to: “In ten minutes I’m going to stop playing video games, and write for an hour.” Sometimes even that doesn’t work. And if it doesn’t, get up, close the tab, open your notebook or document. Often for me, the best way to stop doing what I’m doing that’s preventing me from writing, is to X out of the tab. Something final that would take more than 2 seconds to undo. Do not undo it. Then start writing!

2. Writer’s Block
Writer’s Block often comes across as something impossible, and that the only thing to do is to wait for inspiration to hit. But that’s not the case. An overall thing that I’ve found helps me, is to plot out the story. I never bother going into much detail, basically just a short sentence per chapter/scene/event. Map out the three acts into chapters so you make sure to get in enough actual plot, instead of just having your inciting incident, a bunch of fluff, and climax.

Plotting doesn’t always solve Writer’s Block. Sometimes it isn’t that you don’t know what happens next, it’s that you don’t know how to write what happens next. The question I always ask myself is if I know how to write the next sentence. Can I think of the words of the next sentence? If I can’t, I figure it out, and if so, I write it. Then I repeat until I’ve escaped Writer’s Block, and the words are flowing faster than I can type.

The last piece of advice I have, is to write what you want to write, when you want to write. As in, if it’s 3 AM and you want to write a Lord of the Rings fan fiction, I highly suggest you do so. Even if it’s not the thing you wish you were writing, and you never plan on sharing it, you should write it because it will make you a better writer. Every time you write, you become better at it. That’s why even if you think your writing is trash, it has value. And writing when you want to write is especially important. Otherwise, your procrastination causes Writer’s Block and you’re back at square one.

Keep writing, folks.

photo of Anna C.

Hannah is a 16 year old writer who has grown up in the Pacific Northwest. She loves cheese, wearing a neck-tie, the outdoors, fuzzy blankets, and her characters. She is fascinated by architecture of all sorts, from haunted looking second empire houses, to modern designs. She aspires to be a professional author as her career. She is a headstrong pun lover who’s not afraid to fight for what she believes in.

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