Lawrence Darmani, MAI regional trainer for Africa, has a passion for equipping writers through workshops, mentoring and seminars. This blog post is one of a continuing series in which he shares ideas and tips from his long experience as a trainer.
My writing experience included some key disciplines that had worked for me, skills acquired on-the-job, such as: make time to write, always re-write to improve the first draft, and work on an article or story idea until it is sharp, clear and interesting to write. Because I had taught myself never to be discouraged if my manuscript was rejected by a publisher, editor or individual, I told the participants [of my seminars] to cultivate the same attitude. I remember emphasizing the principle that the more you write the more you learn how to write, a rule I learned not from a book but from personal experience.
Recently, I was browsing the internet when I stumbled across a writer’s blog with a link to the Mount Herman writer conference. I was stunned to find my name in her blog. The writer was in the session I taught. In the blog, she cited an analogy I gave about writing that addressed a key struggle in her writing life.
The blogger recalled the analogy in which I compared ideas for writing to the situation where women in my hometown go out every day to fetch water from a shallow well. By late afternoon, the well dries up. However, the next day, enough water is always collected in the shallow well to serve those women who go out to fetch some. The point I made at the workshop was: writers must write daily (or regularly) in order to come up with fresh ideas for their stories. When a mental block hits, don’t worry: take a break, return tomorrow to your writing, and new ideas will gather like water in a shallow well.
What are your struggles as a writer? How do you combat mental blocks and gather new ideas?
Read Lawrence’s full remarks on writer training here.
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