15 Ways to Beat Writer’s Block (Repost for Camp NaNoWriMo)

Hello Writer bees!

(With Camp NaNoWriMo starting next week, some may struggle with writer’s block during this writing challenge. Don’t fret! To help with that, I’m reposting these awesome tips for beating the block. Good luck to everyone participating! – Victoria aka Lady Jabberwocky)

Hope you are are staying safe and writing wonderful work. And if you are feeling stuck with your writing, that’s alright too. Sometimes, it can be hard to get the words on the page. Don’t be discouraged. Writer’s block happens to everyone, myself included.

So today, I’m sharing some tips for beating the block and rekindling inspiration once again.

Be honest and ask yourself, “how do I break out of this funk I’m in?” and “What’s stopping me from writing?” Depending on what you need, there are three courses of action to take. Whatever route you choose, find what works for you.

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Push to Writing – the need to shake up you writing habits.

  1. Write in some place other from your usual spot. No need to chain yourself to your desk. Write in a different room of your home. Or outside. A new, quiet place.
  2. Freewriting: Write the first things that comes to mind, whatever it may be. Follow where the words take you. On a time crunch? Take a 5 minute writing sprint and write as fast as you can.
  3. Set deadlines and stick to them. Reach for a daily wordcount goal that’s achievable and works with your schedule. Even if it’s only a 100 words a day. You’ll be 100 words closer to your finished draft.
  4. Try writing exercises and prompts. They can be a fun, well-needed challenge for some writers and can get the brain working. But where can you find prompts? I post a Prompt of the Week every Monday. Check them out!
  5. Use a different writing tool. Instead of a keyboard, switch to paper or sticky notes or colorful markers.

Recharge – The need to step back from your writing endeavors.

  1. Take a break! A real one. Relax. And don’t think about your story. A little separation from your WIP is fine. Sometimes, lightbulb moments happen when you least expect. I speak from experience.
  2. Go for a walk. Alone, with music, or with a dog. Walks are great. Socially distanced walks while wearing masks is even better.
  3. Get cozy and curl up with a good book. Fuzzy socks included. Let your mind unwind and dive into a whole new world.
  4. Drink some coffee/tea/alcoholic beverage of choice. And stuff your face with your favorite food. Writing is hard work. Treat yourself to that tub of ice cream or bag of potato chips. I won’t judge.
  5. Sleep it off, or just lounge around. Rest, physically and mentally. There are times when the best ideas can come right before you fall asleep. Keep a notepad on your nightstand ready, in case you need to jot down ideas.
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Getting motivated and inspired! – the need to get pumped to write again and find inspiration.

  1. Browse through photos; especially images that relate to your story’s genre. Create an aesthetic board featuring images that remind you of your story. If you are writing historical fiction, keep a folder of snapshots from that time period.
  2. Talk it out. Talking to another person, writer or non-writer, about your ideas can get those creative juices flowing. Find someone you feel safe with and who encourages you. Don’t waste your time with people who judge you harshly.
  3. Read some quotes from some famous authors. Gather inspiration from the authors who came before you.
  4. Connect with other writers. The writing community is a fantastic group of creatives. Make friends, chat about WIPs, support each other through those tough times. It’s nice to have someone in your corner, to have that support system.
  5. Be okay with writing trash. Not everything you write will be perfect. And that’s fine, that’s what editing is for. Instead of striving for perfection, strive for the story that future readers can connect with. That’s the real goal, isn’t it?

How do you get through writer’s block? What’s your advice to a writer who is struggling? Let me know if the comments.

Stay safe and keep writing!

— Lady Jabberwocky.

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The Bechdel Test and It’s Impact on Fiction Writing

Hello Writer Bees,

In honor of Women’s History Month, I wanted to talk about one of my favorite female creators, Alison Bechdel. But more importantly, the important test she invented and how it impacted the writing world.

Who is Alison Bechdel?

Alison Bechdel is an American cartoonist best known for her 2006 graphic memoir, Fun Home. Originally, she was known for the long-running comic strip. In 2012, she released her second graphic memoir Are You My Mother? Two years later, she became a recipient of the MacArthur “Genius” Award. As a figure in the LGBTQ community, her journey with her sexuality and gender non-conformity is at the heart of her work.

While in college, I read Fun Home and absolutely fell in love with Bechdel’s candor regarding her life. Highly recommend the book, Fun Home is a memoir like no other. And right now, I’m listening to the Fun Home Musical’s soundtrack as I write this post. (Yes, there was a musical!)

What is the Bechdel Test?

Sometimes referred to as the Bechdel Rule, the Bechdel-Wallace Test or the Mo Movie Measure. In short, the Bechdel Test is a test that measures female representation in fiction. And it can be applied to all mediums of fiction: Books, movies and T.V. shows. Now let’s be clear, failing these criteria does not mean it’s a poor representation of fictional women. However, the test does show the active presence of women in fiction, how involved they are in a story. If you are curious about what movies have passed and failed the Bechdel Test, check out bechdeltest.com, a database where users classify if a film meets the Bechdel Test criteria. To pass the test, a piece of fiction should follow this simple list of rules.

Bechdel Test Rules

  • The movie has to have at least two women in it,
  • who talk to each other,
  • about something besides a man
  • Bonus: Two women must be named.

Why is the Bechdel Test important?

While these rules sound easy enough to accomplish, you’d be surprised how many works of fiction fail this test. Underneath these simple guidelines is a deeper meaning. The Bechdel Test draws attention to gender inequality in fiction. Representation matters, writer bees. Women need stop being written off as sideline characters that revolve around the male characters. Women can take on the lead role and have an active presence in a plot. In truth, the Bechdel test raises important questions to all creators. How integral are the female characters in the plot line? Are their story arcs fleshed out and full of depth?

As a lady writer myself, the Bechdel Tests makes me look at my own female characters differently. To be more mindful about how women in any creative work are depicted. Personally, I take this test as a challenge and a standard to strive for.


What are your thoughts on the Bechdel Test? Do you think your work would pass the test? Who are some of your favorite female characters in fiction? Talk to me in the comments. As always, I love to hear from you!

Stay safe and stay creative.

Write with Heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

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The Brawn Man of Brooklyn (A Superpowered Short Story)

They called it an extraordinary phenomenon.

A regular Hercules, Dr. Rabinowitz on 3rd street claimed. Frankie was born with the capabilities of lifting objects 100 times heavier than his body weight. Super strength, as the kids would say. His mother said Hail Mary in Italian ten times a day and cried, as if her son was some kind of devil. She constantly scolded him out of fear of his destructiveness. “Don’t touch that!” and “Don’t touch anything!” and “Don’t you dare touch the baby!”

He was a toddler. And his strength was something unexplainable, something that should remain a secret. If he pressed his hand into wall too hard, the wall would crack. Toys, if not handled gently, would be crushed or broken into pieces. Even the metal handle of his bicycle was indented with his fingertips. He couldn’t control this, even as he got older, his power grew more dangerous. On the kindergarten playground, he pushed a kid out of the sandbox and cracked his rib. When he was seven years old, he threw a baseball and it landed three blocks away and through a car windshield.

He couldn’t touch anything. He wasn’t safe.

When his sister, Camilla, was an infant, Frankie would hold his small hands behind his back and peek into her crib. He was afraid of breaking her too.

His father owned a deli under the train tracks, Berardi’s Deli. Behind it was a dead patch of grass they called a backyard. And above it was a shoe box apartment they called a home. His father wore a stained apron as he sat on the sidewalk’s edge, smelling like fennel seed and sweat. He smoked a cigarette and watched the kids in the street play. Frankie, now a small boy with small hands, sat beside him.

“Pops, why can’t I play with them?” The boy asked, watching the kids play stickball. “I promise I’ll be good. I won’t hit so hard. Honest.”

His father gave him a side glance, taking a long drag and rubbing his stubbled chin. “Last time, you knocked a kid out.”

He looked down at his small hands, discouraged “I-I didn’t mean to, Pops, he was….”

“Your mother with have a heart attack if she finds out you hurt someone else with your…” Trailing off, he stood up and stomped his cigarette out. The few remaining embers in the curb fizzled into the cement. “Don’t let nobody see you doing that. You hear me?” He warned. Frankie’s eyes wandered to the window to the apartment above the deli, where his mother, with tired eyes, looked out.


“I don’t think it’s a good idea, Camilla.” He said, looking down at his feet as they walked home from high school one crisp autumn afternoon. His black hair fell into a perfect greased curl.

“Sure it is,” His sister grinned, holding her biology textbook in her arms. “You love baseball.”

“Watchin’ baseball, sure. Not playin’ it,” He shrugged, still unsure “Pop’s will be mad. And Ma’s gonna be in hysterics if she finds out.”

She nudged him with her elbow. Her long wool skirt matched her mint green sweater. “Come on, don’t worry about that stuff, Frankie, you’d be amazing and you know it.”

Frankie sighed, shoving his hands in his Letterman jacket. A chill blew between them. A police siren blared in the distance. The sun was setting, burning orange and gold.

“What if I hurt someone?”

“What if you only hit home runs?” She countered with a laugh.

“I’m serious, Camilla,” He grabbed her arm lightly, as if he was holding a feather. They stood on the street corner across from their family’s deli. “I can’t control this. Someone’s gonna get hurt.”

“You can control it. You don’t have to be scared. You’re strong… super strong, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. You can do something good with it.” The sirens grew louder.

As they crossed the street, a car screeched around the corner, being tailed by red and blue flashing lights. A police chase. Frankie was in the middle of the street, frozen for a moment. Camilla screamed, pulling at his hand. “Frankie, move!” He wouldn’t budge. He didn’t want to be scared anymore. The car barreled towards him. He pushed his sister out of the way, and braced for impact, with an arched back and outstretched arms.

The car slammed into Frankie, metal crushed against his chest, pushing him back a couple of feet. His sneakers skid against the pavement. The vehicle was stopped completely, with three bewildered robbers wearing ski masks sitting inside. The next day, the headline in the newspaper dubbed him “The Brawn Man of Brooklyn”.


Hello Writer bees! I’ve been feeling gross this week. For the record, it’s not COVID. While I’ve been under the weather, the Mister and I have been on a nostalgia trip, revisiting shows and movies from our childhoods. High School Musical One and Two were involved. Since I love that nostalgia feeling, it seemed fitting to share this short story I wrote back in 2017. Back when I was a newbie writer. Hope you enjoy!

—Lady Jabberwocky

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My Favorite Blog Moments from 2021

Hello Writer Bees,

Once in a while, it’s good to take a minute and reflect on your accomplishments. To be proud of yourself. Plus, with the year we’ve all had, I think we’ve deserved some positivity. Often times, I stress and put myself down, like nothing I ever do is enough. In an effort to improve my mental health and confidence, I’m reflecting on some of my favorite posts and moments from 2021. Come stroll down memory lane with me.


May of Mystery

Every May, I shine a spotlight on the mystery genre. Being an aspiring mystery writer myself, it was thrilling to write posts celebrating detective fiction. Check out my posts from May of Mystery.

Reaching 1,000+ Readers

For me, it has never been about gaining a mass of followers. I started this blog to connect with and encourage other writers. Honestly, I didn’t think anyone would be interested in what I had to say. And now, I’ve reached over 1,000 amazing, super supportive readers. In the span of 4 years, I might add. I’m incredibly grateful to be a part of the wonderful writing community.

Writing Advice

I’m no professor, just an ordinary writer who helps other writers. I try to share writing advice in a conversational, lighthearted tone. Here are some of my favorite writing tips posts from 2021.

Top Writing Blog Award from QueryLetter

Frankly, I’m still in shock over this one. How did a knucklehead like me earn a blogging award? I have no clue what I’m doing. Seriously though, this blog is a labor of love. For my humble little platform to be recognized in such a way is so special to me.

Very Short Stories

Apart from writing advice, I’ve also shared my dabbles of flash fiction. In 2021, I stepped outside my comfort zone and wrote in genres I don’t normally write it. It’s a fun challenge, I encourage all writers to try it sometime. Here are a few short stories I’ve written last year.


What did you accomplish in 2021? For fellow bloggers out there, what are your favorite posts from your own blog? Share your stuff in the comments.

Thank you all for the love and support over the years. Hope this year is even better.

Stay safe and stay creative.

Love,

Lady Jabberwocky

Three Things I Learned About My Writing in 2021

Hello Writer Bees,

With the holidays and the new year fast approaching, I wanted to take a minute to reflect on 2021. More specifically, my writing journey and its ups and downs. Here are three things I’ve learned about myself as a writer this year.

Always Find Time to Write

When I started my 9 to 5 office job, I was grateful for the opportunity but also worried about not having time to write. Sometimes, it’s stressful for me to juggle a full-time job, a blog and a work of fiction. This year, I learned that there’s always time, I just need to look hard enough. Just because I can’t write until the wee hours anymore, like I used to, doesn’t mean I can’t get creative another time of day. Now, I write during my lunch break. And I write after hours and on weekends. Writing is important to me, therefore, I make sure I find those scraps of time.

Write Outside the Box

I’ve learned to be open to experimenting and taking chances with my writing. This year, I challenged myself to write outside my comfort zone and preferred genre. Even a mystery writer like myself can write outside the box and have fun with it. In doing so, I became more aware of my writing style and voice. Here on this blog, I’ve dabbled in other genres I don’t normally write in. And I wrote a few 100 words stories too. If you’re interested in reading, check out a few stories below!

Trust In My Writer Gut

During NaNoWriMo, I focused on editing my mystery WIP. Of course, with editing, comes making major and minor changes to the story. There were times I doubted myself. Am I fussing over nothing? Am I making unnecessary edits? This year, I learned to trust my gut. If my writer instinct is pulling the plot is a certain direction, or I need to change something, I should go for it. It’s my story to tell and I’m going to tell it the best I can. As a writer, I’m learning to be confident in my choices, even when others may disagree.


What have you learned about yourself and your writing this year? How have you grown as a writer? Talk to me in the comments. As always, I love to hear from the writing community.

Head’s up, I’ll be taking the next few weeks off for the holidays. See you all in 2022!

Stay safe, stay creative and happy holidays everyone!

Love,

Lady Jabberwocky

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Receiving the Top Writing Blog Award from QueryLetter!

Hello Writer Bees!

So, something amazing happened. Lady Jabberwocky received an award.

The incredibly kind folks at QueryLetter.com honored me with the Top Writing Blog Award. Apparently, I’m a phenomenal resource for writers. Their words, not mine. Truly, I’m touched. Blogging isn’t always easy. I have my down days. Sometimes, I feel like I’m not doing enough for the Writing Community. Not helping enough. Not creating the best content possible. Sometimes, I feel like I’m not fulfilling a purpose.

This recognition means so much. You have no idea. I only hope I can live up to such high praise. I wanted to share this bit of good news with you all. In times like these, good news is a gift. I want to thank every single reader sticking around all this time. You are well appreciated. Seriously, this blog would not be here without you guys and your support.

Keep an eye out for this little gem floating around the blog.

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Stay safe and stay creative!

Love,

Lady Jabberwocky

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NaNoWriMo 2021: Week Four Update

Hello Writer Bees!

Hope you all are staying creative and staying safe during National Novel Writing Month.

Sorry for the late post. Between Thanksgiving and holiday shopping and family and friends, it’s been a bit hectic. Could they have planned National Novel Writing Month in any other month? Preferably one with less holidays. Still, us writers rise to the challenge. Hats off to all the fantastic writers out there putting their hearts into their creative endeavors, even in this holiday madness.

So, here’s an interesting thing I discovered while editing this week. This week, I focused on the clues of my murder mystery WIP. Frankly, I worried about being too obvious in the evidence. I want to leave breadcrumbs for readers (and detectives) to find, not loaves of bread. I want the grand finale to be grand and unexpected. Can’t be too easy or too hard to solve this mystery. During this editing process, I’m being mindful of when and how evidence is revealed in the story. I’ve been trimming away the more obvious hints from suspect interviews. That’s been my main focus in this final week of NaNoWriMo.

Maybe, over the weekend, I’ll doing some writing sprints. Maybe some editing sprints too, if that’s a thing. I’m looking forward to working on this story well into December. This experience got me motivated to write and to edit. I really do feel like I’ve made progress on my WIP. Guess that’s the point of NaNoWriMo.

Hope everyone had a happy holiday and a happy National Novel Writing Month. And remember, no matter how many words you wrote this month, no matter what you worked on, celebrate yourself. No matter what, any amount of progress is a success in my book.


How’s your NaNoWriMo journey? Did you complete your goals? Talk to me in the comments.

Stay safe and stay creative.

—Lady Jabberwocky

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NaNoWriMo 2021: Week Three Update

Hello Writer Bees!

Hope you all are staying creative and staying safe during National Novel Writing Month.

Week three has been pretty productive for me. I’ve been writing and editing a bunch. Lots of adding new content and deleting unnecessary sentences. The total word count is up and down, which is making me a little nervous. Guess that’s part of the revision and editing process. I’m still working, still writing, still keeping my head above water in NaNoWriMo land.

This week, I decided to finally tackle “the crater”. I brought this up in my NaNoWriMo plans. Basically, I have this empty section in the WIP’s plot. Think of it like the bridge between act two and act three is missing. I just need a scene or two to fill in the space and get readers ready for the finale. If that makes sense. For awhile, writer’s block had me stressed. I decided to use NaNoWriMo to deal with this looming, open lot of space. Instead of treating it like an inconvenience, I’m treating it like a blank canvas. Changing my frame of mind helped put words to paper and got me out of that funk.

Long story short, that empty space of story line – that dauting crater – is slowly being filled up and connecting to the overall narrative. What a sigh of relief.

Oh! Before I end this post, I might need your help, writer bees. I want to change one of my character’s names. The victim’s name for my murder mystery, actually. When I talked to my (non-writer) boyfriend about it, he thought I was freaking out over nothing. Which I do do, occasionally. But right now, this little change feels necessary. As much as I respect differing opinions, I think I need to trust my writer instinct on this one. Going with my gut here, I’m reaching out to you. If you have an idea for an early 20th century lady’s name, share your ideas in the comments. I’m open to suggestions, and currently checking baby name websites.


How’s your NaNoWriMo goals panning out? Talk to me in the comments.

Stay safe and stay creative.

Write with Heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

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NaNoWriMo 2021: Week Two Update

Hello Writer Bees!

Can I just start off by saying I have the best readers in the world? Last week, I had a rough start to National Novel Writing Month. I felt overwhelmed and stressed and sad. But you wonderful people charged in! I received such lovely, supportive words from you all. Thank you all for cheering me on and lifting out of bad days. The writing community is truly amazing! I’m lucky to be a part of it.

Week two of NaNoWriMo was better than week one. I actually want to work on my WIP. That little glimmer of motivation has reappeared. The ball is starting to roll. Thank goodness for that. Editing hasn’t been a total bloodbath yet. Though, I am tackling a section of the story that needs a lot of work, editing wise. I actually had that moment every writer has, when they look at something they’ve written and say to themselves “All of its garbage. It’s a mess. How can I fix this?” But I’m chipping away at that part and the whole plot.

Also, this week, I’ve focused on extenuating the characters and their characteristics. Like instead of saying one character is ‘a jittery fellow’ or ‘an ice queen’, I’m letting their body language and their actions showcase those traits. Polishing up those descriptions is pretty fun, actually. In my opinion, it makes the cast of suspects feel more realistic. Those kinds of details bring characters to life.

Oh! And I’ve mentioned before about writing during my lunch break at the office. This week, I tried a writing sprint during my break, a half hour of writing whatever came to mind. No editing. Just off the cuff. I wrote like 300ish words of mostly dialogue. I call that progress. I haven’t done a writing sprint like that in forever, and I may try it again. It really helped get out of writer’s block and get those creative juices flowing.


How’s your NaNoWriMo adventure going? Talk to me in the comments. As always, I love to hear from you writer bees.

Stay safe and stay creative.

Write with Heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

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NaNoWriMo 2021: Week One Update

Hello Writer Bees!

I wish I could say NaNoWriMo started off with a bang this year, full of optimism and inspiration and sunshine. But, I’ll be real with you. Think I tried to tackle too much this first week. I was stressing about everything I wanted to do for my WIP. I was stressing about new work responsibilities at the office. I have this bad habit of putting too much pressure on myself. It gets me in trouble sometimes. Towards the end of the week, I felt completely overwhelmed. Almost cried in a cubicle. Not a great start.

Notes to self: Slow down, Lady. You got a whole month. It’s not a race. Don’t be so hard on yourself.

Trying to keep this in mind, for NaNoWriMo and for my mental health.

On the brightside, it hasn’t all been awful. Editing has begun. Which is daunting yet exciting. Lots of rearranging and deleting of sentences. A little bit of tweaking of small details for my characters. Some ironing out of my narrator’s backstory. I’m easing into editing, working on the small stuff first before handling the big stuff. That’s the plan for now, anyway.

Sorry for such a quick, sad post, my friends. Don’t worry about me, though. I’m using the weekend to rebound and recuperate and write my heart out. There’s nowhere to go but up, right?


How’s your NaNoWriMo journey going? What have you learned about writing during this crazy writing challenge? Talk to me in the comments. As always, I love to hear from you writer bees.

Stay safe and stay creative.

Write with Heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

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