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A Writer’s Nightmare

The scenario: You are facing the blank page, whether it be in your notebook or on the computer screen. You have had the urge to write all day, yet when you finally sit down to put words to paper, you freeze. Nothing is coming. Your topic flits out the window, your mind refuses to make any coherent thoughts. A lump forms in your chest, and you turn away from your desk, frustrated for another day.

Sound familiar? Every writer has had this moment, yet some writers face writer’s block more than others. While there are many external sources that could cause writer’s block to hit, I contend that there is one internal source: low self-esteem.

Why Self-Esteem is Crucial to Writers

Writing is a very personal endeavor. With each word written on the page, you are opening your soul to the world. You are writing with the hope that other people will connect with what you have to say, and commend you for your efforts. To be a writer, you have to have a very strong sense of self.

You have to believe that what you are writing is worth being written. You have to have courage, to put your writing to the editor’s chopping block, and come out relatively unscathed. You face rejection at every turn, from your family to your clients to your readers.

Without a healthy dose of self-esteem, you will screech to a grinding halt when it comes time to write. Why? Because low self-esteem causes you to devalue yourself as a writer, and as a person. You won’t believe that your writing has meaning. You won’t think you are good enough to do your topic justice. You won’t have the confidence to expose yourself through your writing, and at best anything you write will be trite and unoriginal.

How Writers Can Improve Self-Esteem

I am a big believer in free writing, a system championed by Natalie Goldberg, Julia Cameron, and a number of others. Free writing is simply putting words down on the page, for at least three pages without stopping. Write faster than you can think, so your inner editor can’t tear down your resolve.

You can either use your chosen topic to free write, or you can use this writing prompt: “What can I write today that no one else in the world can write?” Let yourself go, and do not judge, criticize, or edit as you write. Anything goes!

Another confidence booster is to commit to yourself and your writing on a constant basis. Not just daily affirmations written in your notebook and looked at once in a while. A minute by minute self-encouragement session, as the need arises. Write a note to yourself on your desk: “My name is Miss Muse, and I am a writer! I commit to my writing, NOW!” When your blocks come, repeat this mantra over and over, reminding yourself of who you are and where your passions lie.

Sometimes, the biggest boost you can give yourself is to review how far you’ve come in your writing life. Even if you’ve never been published professionally, you can still look back on your previous writings in your notebooks, and realize that each day you write is a day of improvement and success! Update your writing portfolio, and count how many works you have written (yes, even unpublished writers should have an organized portfolio, even if it only contains the short stories you wrote in school). Or you can write a letter to yourself or a friend, detailing the highs and lows of your writing career. Be creative, and reward yourself for every word you have ever written in your life.

Also, surround yourself with supportive people, who are willing to help you through your slump and give you a swift kick when your hand needs to get moving again. Whether your real life friends and family fit the bill, or online buddies are your only motivation, you will feel much better after letting them know how you feel! Don’t be afraid to share your mood with them; after all, if they needed your support, you’d want them to tell you, right?

My favorite technique for boosting your self-esteem is remembering all the reasons why you write in the first place. Do you write to help others improve their lives? Do you want to make them laugh, to share your story? Make a list of all the reasons you have for writing, and why you are the best person to make it happen. Then go and make it happen!

What are your number one self-esteem boosters? How do you break through the internal blocks and getting your writing moving again? Let’s never let writer’s block break another writer’s spirit again!

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Hi everyone! I am Miss Muse, your personal guide to the writing life. I am a writer who has been around the proverbial writer’s block, and can give you the benefit of both my advice and my mistakes. In addition to being a writer, I am a personal development fan, with my own insights on helping writers become more productive and happier people.

Why Personal Development and Writing?

If you are anything like me, you write because you have something to say to the world. Your personal take on your message is yours and yours alone. You are the only person in the universe who could write it!

Yet, the words don’t come. You find yourself either web surfing for hours or cleaning your entire house, rather than living out your writing dream. This paradox is not getting you any closer to your goals. What’s more, it is causing you to live a lie. Writing is your passion, yet you cannot make yourself write!

Miss Muse Finds the Writing Clues

I am here to help! I am going to explore what difficulties lie in the way of even the best-intentioned writer. The reason why writer’s block strikes as your deadline looms. Why daily writing has not found its way into your schedule. Why you find yourself writing for pennies when you deserve much, much more.

On my own writing path, I have discovered that personal development techniques can be very helpful to the writer, but on their own, they are not enough. Everyone knows that positive thinking is a key to success, yet when life encroaches, the inner editor starts its negative nagging again! Most personal development websites don’t offer follow-up advice for when their systems start to break apart.

As Miss Muse, I am going to show you the tips and tricks to make the writing life meaningful to you. How to find your center when the storm is raging around you, and the words refuse to flow. How to find your own personal spin to the most common self-help advice, to perfectly attune it to the writing life.

Personalize the Miss Muse Blog!

Although it is named after me, this blog is about you! Your dreams, your successes, and your setbacks. If something works for you, great! Drop a comment and let me know. Did you have to tweak my methods a bit? Please share your way of doing things, so that others can benefit as well. Even if you totally disagree with me, let me know. I’ll never improve without your contientious feedback!

But first, tell me a little more about you. Write a letter to your muse (however you envision him, her, or it) and explain your writing life up to this point. Where are you at now, and where would you like to be in the future? You can leave this letter in the comments, or just keep it to yourself and stop in to say hi! Oh, and be sure to point your fellow writing friends this way. You never know who might need a bit of inspiration from the muse!