One of the greatest samurai warriors in Japanese history was Miyamoto Musashi. He wrote a book called The Book of Five Rings, which is considered a classic of strategy and philosophy. Musashi’s main point was to do with overcoming your own ego and attaining a sense of balance and composure no matter what the situation.
Towards the end of his life, Musashi wrote a letter to one of his students offering advice on how to beat writer’s block and how to get out of ruts (by beating writer’s block). It makes for interesting reading and if you are looking for some inspiration when stuck for ideas then this is just the thing.
Musashi was also an accomplished painter and sketcher and would often depict scenes from nature as well as animals. His artwork is considered just as valuable as his great works on strategy, philosophy, calligraphy, poetry and martial arts.
Are you struggling with writer’s block or a lack of creativity? The samurai knew the secret to combating this problem. They practiced calligraphy.
During the Edo period, Japan had a long lasting period of peace and stability. The samurai were not needed on the battlefield, and so many of them turned their attention to the arts. Calligraphy was particularly popular because it required absolute concentration.
Treat yourself to a little Japanese culture by practicing your own calligraphy!
10. Make no excuses
If you have writer’s block, and you are unable to get something down, your excuse is only going to be temporary. You can NOT make up for lost time. It doesn’t matter what the reason is, if you don’t start writing now, then the consequences of that lost time will be permanent.
The best way to avoid this is to just accept the fact that you do have writer’s block and that it doesn’t matter why. The sooner you accept it and move on from focusing on the reason why, the sooner you can return to writing.
9. Stop looking for inspiration
You don’t need inspiration in order to write – all you need is a pen and paper (or a computer). Stop looking for inspiration; it isn’t going to come…until you actually start writing!
8. Focus on what you want to accomplish
When I say “focus on what you want to accomplish” I don’t mean set long-term goals or even short-term goals; I mean focus on your current task such as ‘write one sentence today’ or ‘write three pages before bedtime tonight.’ One
The greater the focus on a single point, the larger and deeper that point will become. The more you push yourself to focus on only one thing, the more clearly you will see it.
The samurai sword is a symbol of discipline because it was designed to be used in close combat. It was also designed to be broken. When fighting someone with a similar sword, the goal was not to kill your opponent as quickly as possible, but rather to force your opponent’s blade to snap off at the hilt while leaving yours intact.
It’s important to keep in mind that this strategy was created in a very different context from modern writing, when people were killing each other for real instead of writing papers for class. Still, I think it can help us understand what we’re going for with the extended session. Just like the samurai swordsmen were trying to drive their opponents into a position where they couldn’t defend themselves, writers trying to beat writer’s block want to take themselves into a position where they can’t resist writing anymore.
It’s not just for romanticized, fictional stories. In fact, if you think about it, the greatest story ever told is a pretty cool example of samurai art: The Bible.
If you aren’t religious, or even if you are, take this as purely an exercise in writing technique. And truth be told, it’s a good thing to read and study because it will open your eyes to some incredible stuff that you might smack right into if you get too close to it.
As the saying goes: “Be careful what you wish for.”
Yeah, right now you’re probably thinking of all the cool stuff your protagonist gets to experience and do that makes it all worthwhile. But remember, poignant means effective and powerful, usually through emotional appeal; hence the emphasis on emotions. And as much as we’d like to deny it and pretend that strong emotion isn’t involved in writing good stories, we all know that’s crap. Emotions are what makes us care about things. So when we set out on our quest for the perfect ending and actually write one down…even if we only do it once in a great while…we’re going to have an emotional reaction to it! And if that happens often enough – say with every
The Samurai were warriors. They used a sword called a Katana, which they also used to commit suicide when they could no longer go on fighting. It was the ultimate weapon in their arsenal of weapons. What lies behind the creation of such a weapon?
The Katana was forged with a single piece of special steel that is folded together over and over again until it becomes very, very hard and sharp. In fact, one false move from the blade maker and the blade is instantly ruined. The steel must be folded at exactly the right temperature, at exactly the right time, otherwise it will become useless scrap. And even if the blade is forged well, it must still be sharpened by hand before battle.
The process behind creating a Katana is long and arduous, but this is what gives the Katana its quality as a weapon of war. This is why it remains today one of the most sought after swords in history.
This is also what makes writers so special. Writers are like Samurai. We are constantly sharpening our skills to make sure that we are at our best when we go into battle with our words against an enemy who wants to destroy us: rejection letters from agents and editors or getting fired from your job because you don’t have any new
*The purpose of the art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting. It is essential to realize that there are two ways of performing acts of aggression: by fighting or by willfully provoking the enemy into battle. The first method is direct attack, which is a direct plunge into the heart of the enemy’s strength; it is swift, like a thunderbolt, but it may be only temporary and uncertain. The second method does not attack directly but rather tries to get the enemy to appear in the open field where he can be fought on your own ground. In this way you are able to conserve your strength and wait until the time is ripe for victory.
This is what Sun Tzu meant when he said, “The art of war recognizes nine varieties of ground: dispersive ground; facile ground; contentious ground; open ground; ground of intersecting highways; serious ground; difficult ground; hemmed-in ground; desperate ground.”