Overcoming Writer’s Block
Every week, we are presented with a fresh new edition of The Neopian Times. It is an excellent compilation of many different articles, stories, comics, and more from the many great writers and artists from all over Neopia. These people dig down deep in their hearts every day, and dig around the Neopets site, to find inspiration on what kind of art (written or otherwise) to create and submit to the greatest weekly publication in all of Neopia.
When you have a piece published, you are rewarded with a shiny trophy on your user lookup, and sometimes even an avatar or a rare item depending on how many pieces you have had published or if one of those pieces got published during a special edition of the Neopian Times.
One of the most sought after prizes is a special golden quill avatar, this is achieved only after you have ten unique pieces published in the Neopian Times. These pieces can be any assortment of articles, comics, short stories, or a multiple part series. When you really think about it though, ten is quite a lot! It is doable, and many great writers and comic creators have even been published many more times than that. We all experience a bit of writer’s block though, especially when we start to hit that midway point of five publications, so I wanted to help you guys overcome that and get yourself an avatar!
First tip: Change it up!
A lot of people will lock into one type of submission, because that is what they are used to and what they are good at, but writing ten articles can be a trial of patience. At some point, you might run out of inspiration...I mean, just how many game guides can you write!? Also, with articles, it can be tough finding new subject matter. So it is always helpful to change it up! Try writing a short story instead, or creating a comic. Maybe even take on the goliath task of a series, if anything that will push you closer to your goal than doing anything else one at a time. Don’t be afraid to dabble in other art forms, you might even find a new one to fall in love with. Sticking with one subject can get real boring real fast.
Second tip: Ask for help!
The neoboards have a really nifty section devoted to Neopian Times creators. In there, you can ask for advice on writing that you’ve been working on, or seek out new ideas. Crowdsourcing ideas is great! It is even possible to team up with other creators to collaborate on a submission, where you both can get credit for one piece. If you are a terrible artist but have a great idea for a comic, maybe find a comic artist with a bit of writer’s block and collaborate on a piece. Or gather a couple people together to write an OpEd article, giving reviews on the latest plot enemies or their favorite games. Open up to other people to find inspiration, and also to give inspiration to others.
Third tip: Play more!
Sometimes you need to take a brief step away (not too long though, I’ll cover that next) in order to find inspiration. Maybe you want to write an article, but there is nothing immediately in front of you that is giving a great idea. Just get out there and play Neopets a bit! Explore the different games, maybe you will find one that inspires a cool game guide. Or go out and restock at Neopian shops, you could come across an item that inspired a top 10 list or an in depth guide. Even a few fights in the Battledome could inspire a whole biopic about one of the opponents, which could branch off into multiple articles on a few different enemies! The possibilities are endless and right out there for you to discover, but you need to get out in Neopia to find them.
Fourth tip: Just do it!
If you want to write something, but don’t know what, avoiding it won’t help. Sometimes you just need to sit down at the keyboard and smash it out. You will start writing pieces that go nowhere but the garbage, and that is okay. You might get 300 words into an article about the coolest sunglasses and realize that there really aren’t more than 300 words worth saying about the subject. If you just avoid getting it done, it won’t ever get done, so sometimes you just need to work through the frustration and push that block out of the way.
Fifth and final tip: Read more!
Great writers are also great readers, they can go and dissect other peoples’ work and find their own inspiration inside of it. I try to read as many Neopian Times pieces as I can every week, so I can see what types of things other people are writing about and what about that writing appeals to me. This does not mean stealing content, that is a huge no no! You should never copy someone’s work and take credit for it as your own. It is, however, okay to read someone’s story about Virtupets and think “huh, I could write a story about Virtupets! Except in mine I want a super bad villain, and I want the villain to win!!!” And let your ideas go from there.
What it really boils down to is passion, and wanting to do it. If you hate writing, then it is going to be extremely painful for you to get ten written pieces out. In that case, try comics! And for those of us who hate making comics, that is why we stick to written word. If you want to fall in love with writing, keep trying it and keep practicing. Over time, when you hone your skills a bit more, it will be very enjoyable and it will also inspire you to push past these writer’s block moments. I’m rooting for you and cannot wait to see what you come up with for next week’s Neopian Times!!