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Keep Writing With Fey

Keep Writing With Fey

Автором Chrys Fey

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Keep Writing With Fey

Автором Chrys Fey

266 pages
3 hours
Jul 14, 2020


Catch the sparks you need to conquer writer’s block, depression, and burnout!

When Chrys Fey shared her story about depression and burnout, it struck a chord with other writers. That put into perspective for her how desperate writers are to hear they aren’t alone. Many creative types experience these challenges, battling to recover. Let Keep Writing with Fey: Sparks to Defeat Writer's Block, Depression, and Burnout guide you through:

•Writer's block
•Writer's burnout
•What a writer doesn’t need to succeed
•Finding creativity boosts

With these sparks, you can begin your journey of rediscovering your creativity and get back to what you love - writing.

Jul 14, 2020

Об авторе

Chrys Fey is the author of the Disaster Crimes Series and an editor for Dancing Lemur Press. She started her blog, Write with Fey, to offer aspiring writers inspiration, advice, and hope. At the age of twelve, she started writing her first novel, and since then she has been a dedicated citizen in the writing world.

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Keep Writing With Fey - Chrys Fey



When I shared my story about depression and writer’s burnout, I received many emails, comments, and Facebook messages from other writers thanking me for my bravery and telling me about their own trials. That really put into perspective for me how many people suffer from depression and/or burnout in silence. I had no idea those individuals were impacted by these things, just as they hadn’t known that I was, because my outward presence to others was always happy and smiley and bright.

After the supportive response and upon realizing how many writers in my online circles were struggling, too, I wanted to do something to help. I was candid with my experiences and blogged about the things that assisted me through the rough patches in the hopes it would aid others.

During this time, I recognized the need for writers to receive support, guidance, tips, reminders, and encouragement during their writer’s block, depression, and burnout. That’s how I got the idea for this book. A book not just about depression or only about writer’s block, but both, and much more.

Since you have picked up this book, that means you may need assistance with one or all of these areas, and I sincerely hope you find what you need here…that tiny spark to get you through whatever you are going through.

As always, keep writing.

Keep believing.

Keep dreaming.

Chrys Fey


Spark One - What is Writer’s Block?

Some writers say they don’t buy into the idea of writer’s block, because you just have to sit down (butt in seat) and hammer out a story, not wait for a muse to inspire you or for the right mood to strike. But writer’s block is not about waiting to be inspired or in the mood to write. It’s about not being able to think of what to write or how to proceed with a story. It’s a condition that has been documented throughout history. F. Scott Fitzgerald had it. Charles M. Schulz had it. Adele had it.

You could be one of those diligent writers who straps themselves to a chair for hours, pounding out words, and then, one day, not able to write a sentence. What you do write, you think sucks and is your worst work to date. You could be someone who used to write a book a month and suddenly not be able to write anything for years. You could be someone who has a list of story ideas, but none of those ideas are turning into anything good despite your best efforts.

Some people would go as far as to say that writer’s block is a cop out, a reason for writers to moan and groan. Well, they are entitled to their opinion, of course. I won’t convince them otherwise. Just as I hope they will let me have my opinion that writer’s block is real and won’t make light of my struggles, as well as with writer’s burnout. And worse yet, depression. Because, yes, there are people who don’t even believe in depression, and they think it’s as easy to fix as flipping a switch. It’s not. (But that’s a conversation for later.)

First, I do want to point out a difference between actual writer’s block and normal difficulties during the writing process. Every writer will have days where the words won’t come. Every writer will feel uninspired at one time or another. Maybe even a few times a week. Every writer will be unmotivated to write. Every writer will succumb to the pressure of deadlines. However, these things don’t necessarily mean you’re suffering from writer’s block. When I go through these every-day writing troubles, it’s because I am purposefully procrastinating or I have other things going on like doctor’s appointments or a long to-do list. Even when I have a simple head cold, I can’t write worth a darn. Writer's block, on the other hand, is a condition in which a writer loses the ability to come up with original ideas or even produce new work. No matter what you do, the words aren’t there and won’t come. Something is blocking you. What that something is will be different for everyone. No two writers are the same.

Causes of Writer's Block: 

1. Creative problems within the work

2. Lack of inspiration

3. The project is too big for the writer

4. Physical illness

5. Depression

6. Stress (of any kind)

7. Pressure to write or create a best-seller

8. Feeling of failure

My first experience with writer’s block happened when I was seventeen. I had been writing since I was twelve, which is not an exaggeration. I wrote every flippin’ day. I wrote on the school bus to and from school. I wrote in class, after doing my assignments and taking notes, etc. I wrote during my lunch period while waiting for the bell to ring. I wrote at home, too. Seven days a week. I WROTE. At night, I would put my current notebook on my nightstand. In the morning, I would pick it right up and carry it to the couch. That notebook went wherever I went.

I wrote so much that I completed three books in a series. That’s many notebooks and a ton of pens. It was a few months after I dropped out of high school that I stopped writing. Just. Like. That. *snaps fingers* I couldn’t figure it out. I didn’t write for months. I sincerely wanted to, because I loved my characters, and writing was my everything. I didn’t feel like myself when I wasn’t writing. During this time, I didn’t force myself to write, because there was nothing to force. No words. No ideas. I feared school had been my inspiration and that I was screwed forever as a writer because I left high school.

Then, out of the blue, I had an epiphany. I don’t even know how it came about. Maybe my mind was simply open at the right time for the answer to fall in. Suddenly, like a lightbulb snapping on in my mind, I knew what was wrong. My block had been due to creative problems within the work, specifically with my characters’ ages and how I, myself, had aged a lot from Book 1 to Book 4. The storyline for Book 4 wasn’t in sync with the previous three books. It was too teenage-angsty for fantasy, not right for my series, and all wrong for my characters.

With that realization, the fix came with it. I knew right away I had to rewrite the series from Book 1, not for tweens, definitely not for teens, but for adults. I had to greatly age my characters, scrap half of them, and give them cool jobs and change the plot. It was years’ worth of work, but those years were the best years of my writing career thus far.

There is no sure-fire way to break out of writer's block, but here are 10 tactics that have helped me over the years:

1. Read the last chapter or two you wrote. Sometimes going over your work will get you back into the groove and motivate you to continue from where you left off.

2. Pick a random moment in your story to write. Just because you plot out your story doesn’t mean you need to write it in order. Pick a scene you’re excited to write and write it! And keep on going until you need to stop. See if you can continue from there the next day.

3. At the end of every writing session, plan out what you need to write next. This will help you to get back into your story faster and provide you with a clear map of where you need to go.

4. Write a song or poem for a specific scene in your book to help you tap into the emotion you need to write it. In the end, you may be able to use whole verses from the song or poem in your book. That’s a bonus.

5. If you are good with a pencil, draw a picture to help your creative juices flow. This technique is great to help release an image trapped within your mind. Once you get it down on paper in one form, you can do it again in another.

6. Listen to music. Find songs that hold the same emotion and feature the same theme as the event(s) in your book. Then plug in your headphones and let the music call to your muse.

7. Watch a movie with scenes similar to what you need to write.

8. Read a book (or five) in the same genre as yours.

9. Discuss your book with a trusted person to bounce ideas off them. You may be surprised how helpful a second party can be.

10. Motivate yourself. Say, I don’t have writer's block. Nothing can stop me from writing! I can do it!

11. Step away from your book for a while:

- Take a nap

- Go for a walk or run

- Work in the garden

- Take a long bath

- Wash the dishes

 Then go back to your book when you’re done and try again.

BONUS TIP: Don't give yourself too much to work on. Writing a novel is a big job, but if you keep looking at it as writing four hundred pages (or so), you will shut down. Whenever you sit down to write, don't focus on writing your novel. Worry about the next paragraph, not the next chapter. Don't even aim to fill the whole white page. Go sentence by sentence.

Spark Two - Restrictive Writing Rules

One of the biggest causes of writer’s block is all of the restrictive writing rules floating around out there. Many of these writing rules are created by other writers and editors. Most of the time, they are opinions, and writers fall for them, thinking they are law, but they are not. Usually you can tell which rules are opinions, like not writing sentences that start with as or -ing words (gerunds).

For Example: As she rocked the baby, she hummed under her breath.

Or: Shaking her head, she glared at him.

There is nothing wrong with those sentences. Nothing at all. They are grammatically sound. More importantly, you very well can rock a baby and hum simultaneously. You can also shake your head and glare at someone at the same time. Writing sentences like this is NOT a sign of a hack writer, as some would say, which in fact is an awful thing to say. Talented, dedicated writers have sentences like this in their work. I do, and so do well-known authors.

The only time I have a problem with sentences that start with as or -ing words is if it’s impossible for a human to do the two actions mentioned at the same time.

For Example: Running upstairs, she hopped onto her bed.

Unless her bed is in the middle of the staircase, this does not work. The character would have to run up the stairs, enter her bedroom, and then hop onto her bed.

Another writing rule I came across is not to write about tears. Yes, really…tears. This rule was published in a book of writing rules shared by published authors. I found it at the library and couldn’t believe the advice in it. The author for this rule said not to write about tears in any shape or form. No teary eyes. No tears on your characters’ cheeks. No lingering tears. Etc. Etc. Etc.


Tears are an emotional reaction, a physical cue that happens when we are sad, happy, or angry. Tears mean something is going on internally, and one way for that turmoil to get out is through the formation and shedding of tears. Tears are normal, natural, HUMAN. You can’t write about a crying character and not mention tears.

I feel a tear coming on right now that this rule exists in a book that writers can read.

Another rule I find crazy is to use only 10 exclamation points per manuscript. Or not to use them at all. Let me just say this…

I HATE RESTRICTIVE WRITING RULES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

There. I abolished that rule right in the beginning of this book.

I feel so much better now.

I do want to say, however, that many writers could cut back on their use of exclamation points. I often cut them from my clients’ books when I notice several on one page. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t use an exclamation point. After all, it was invented for a reason. Nor do you have to make sure you only used 10 exclamation points in your manuscript. If you use 11, no one is going to take away your exclamation point key.

There are helpful writing rules available—such as grammar rules, eliminating passive voice, and cutting out telling phrases like She saw and He heard for stronger, tighter sentences.

But if you come across a rule that sounds silly, mean, or restrictive, there’s a good chance that it’s an opinion. Opinions are not shared by everyone, nor do they have to be accepted by everyone.

When writers worry about all these rules while writing the first draft of their stories, they can stunt their creativity. Writers will second-guess every sentence they put down, thinking they are wrong. Worse yet, that they are bad writers.

Sometimes, these writing rules make me wonder if writers before us made them up and spread them around in order to trip up the rest of us. There are writers in this world who view all other writers as competition, and when someone has competition, what do they do? Find any way to beat them, even with sabotage. Now, I’m not saying this is what these writers were doing, but it makes me wonder.

Elmore Leonard stated, You are allowed no more than two or three [exclamation points] per 100,000 words of prose. The funny thing is, considering his own manuscripts, he averaged 49 exclamation points per 100,000 word. And over the course of all his works, he used a total of 1,651 exclamation points. Hmm…

Jane Austen apparently used 449 exclamation points per 100,000 words, and she only published six books. James Joyce reportedly used a massive 1,105 exclamation points per 100,000 words for his three novels. These statistics came from The Atlantic:


So, don’t worry if you have a lot of exclamation points. On the other hand, you can remove the mark when you use shouted, yelled, screamed, etc. in a dialogue tag.

Another writing rule I find absurd is not to write about dreams. First, I understand not using dreams that are random, like the dreams we have at night, but sometimes a dream is part of the plot. For instance, a character can have psychic dreams that foretell something they need to stop from happening. Or a character can have a nightmare about an event from their past that comes back to haunt them during the course of the story. Dreams can be relevant, so if you want to write about a dream or nightmare, you very well can.

One rule that stumped me has been cited in best-selling books for writers—a writer should only write in one genre/category. The authors of these books go so far as to say that a writer is only skilled at writing one genre, meaning flash fiction, short stories, novels, etc.


I could not imagine being forced to write only one genre my whole life or being pinned as a writer who can only write well in one genre but not the others that inspire me. Nor would I want to have to write stories of the same length forever.

How boring!

How restrictive!

Whatever idea comes to me, I write it, regardless of genre and length. And you should, too.

How dare someone claim an author can only do one genre well?

How dare someone claim authors should focus on one genre, not two, not three, not as many as the author chooses to write?

Writers who are just starting out on their writing journey may have two ideas in vastly different genres. For example, one project could be a high fantasy novel and the other could be a non-fiction short story, but upon hearing this rule, they may be led astray, thinking they have to choose just one.

But you don’t!

You can write any genre under the umbrella of fiction, as well as non-fiction, haiku, flash fiction, song lyrics, and anything else.

Don’t let these, or any other, restrictive writing rules stifle your creativity and cause writer’s block. Write the story you want to write, the way you want to write it.

Spark Three - Schedule Your Time

I know you’ve heard this tip before, but it’s an important one.

When dealing with writer’s block, you don’t want to spend an entire day trying to write and failing at it. The best thing to do is to dedicate a certain amount of time to writing. Creating a schedule for yourself can be the answer in structuring your life, helping you to balance work with play (non-work). That balance is imperative for your creativity and, while maintaining your stress, can keep you from burning out

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