Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Let's Take a Poll

The right time to poll your followers, friends, family, whoever is anytime.

Maybe I'm exaggerating a little.

The great thing about a poll is that you can receive feedback on a difficult question. Especially if that question (or dilemma) is preventing you from moving forward.

Yes, I am referring to the dreaded Writer's Block, henceforth referred to as WB.

I've been whacked by WB more than once. I can only speak for my own experience, but I'm guessing that other writers feel similarly lost when:
- every idea you have seems hollow/lame/thin
- every writer around you seems to be as prolific as a bunny in heat
- every time you sit in your writing chair you have a sudden need to vomit (or snack, or drink, or make an important phone call, or shave the rabbit)

Sometimes trolling for feedback can help to re-energize your spirit, get you past the WB and back into a writing rhythm.

Okay, you've been convinced to poll. Which leads to: What question should I ask?

Here's where I admit that I have a degree in Mathematics, and that half of what makes for good OR horrible statistics is asking the right question. (Experimental design is hugely important, but I don't have the room for a full-on lesson here.)

Ask The Right Question

Examine and determine what you really want to know.

Because if you ask the wrong question, then your poll might make you feel worse than you did before you asked in the first place.

Poll Prompts:
- Once you establish situation blah, what should Character X do next?
- My ending could go one of two [or more] ways (spoiler alert!!). Which one will make you wish me dead and which one makes me look like a Pulitzer-eligible genius?
- I have five ideas, but only enough time to write one. Which one grabs your interest?
- I'm using a placeholder for my protagonist's name. Which possible name resonates with plot line Y?

Of course, numerous great poll questions exist. Feel free to Google your favourite blogging writers to see what sorts of polls they've set in the past.

Allow for Outside Answers

On both of my blog platforms (LiveJournal and Blogger) the built-in polling features only allow for either write-in answers OR choose-a-bullet answers (not both). That's what the comments section is for!!

If you're so stuck with WB that you're needing some outside inspiration, then allowing for answers outside the box is hugely helpful in the brainstorming department. Others might come up with a unique angle you were too blocked to consider.

Then again, too much choice can lead to feeling overwhelmed, blocking your ability to move forward.

Include a Deadline

Let's face it, sometimes deadlines are the only motivators that work for many of us.

Would you pay your Hydro bill if you didn't have a deadline? (Especially when they have the power to cut off your electricity if you don't pay by a certain date.)

Make sure your poll has a clear cut-off date. Then you'll be sure to get the feedback you need within a reasonable amount of time.

The Fun Factor

Maybe I'm weird (okay, I know I'm weird), but I love to fill out polls. Clicking those buttons can be exciting. Especially when I believe my opinion will matter.

And hey, don't we all assume that our opinion matters all the time.

It does matter.

So if you're feeling the itch to fill out a poll today, feel free to answer our poll to the right.

Yep over there---->

Still itching? Visit my choose-a-title poll on my personal blog.

Do It Now:
Please consider answering our poll, or visiting my choose-a-title poll on my personal blog..

It's NaNoWriMo. Get back to work and write another thousand words. :)

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