How do you handle writer’s block?
The Writer’s Block Trap
There are times when I can’t write well enough or have no good ideas to add, but you know what? The real reason I have writer’s block is that I’m NOT writing. It might be difficult to come up with new ideas or what scene to create next, but the cure is to push yourself and keep at it.
I have this issue where I don’t write because I think whatever I’m going to write next will be complete crap, but once I get writing everything is fine. Funny how that works out, eh? Sure, what I wrote is crap, but that’s why they call it a FIRST draft.
How do we avoid falling into this pit of despair? Follow these tips!
Write Random Thoughts
Close your eyes, take a deep, and listen to your thoughts. Write them down as you go without thinking about it. Let your thoughts flow. That’s called free writing. It’s a useful tool to clear your mind of all the crap to make room for the good stuff. When you’re trying to come up with the next best story, it might come to you when your brain is fully relaxed.
Writing prompts don’t have to relate to the genre you write or the book you’re currently creating. It sparks your creativity and gives you ideas on how to proceed with your current work. It’s also a good way to practice writing. Take a quote from a book or movie, or use something you heard someone say. Find one simple sentence and motivate your brain to fire up.
Taking your mind off what you actually want to write helps you come up with more (and good) ideas. With this exercise, you keep yourself in writing mode. Your mojo is flowing. Once you find your groove with this exercise, it’ll be easier to get going with your actual project.
I don’t care if you think what you’re writing is crap. Leave the editing for later. Open your word processor and write that first scene. More ideas will come later. Get that first draft going with all the ideas out on the page, good or bad. The more ideas you keep in your head, the more muddled your brain feels. Don’t worry about your first draft sucking. Nothing is perfect the first time around. The ideas are there and you know it’s inside you. It might take a while to come out, but it will as long as you try.
Colours are fun! They stimulate your brain and excite your creative side. Use felts or pencil crayons and write out your plot ideas or the first few lines of the story. The different colours and the words dancing around the page might spark something fresh. It’ll also give your eyes a break from staring at your black and white computer screen. If you keep writing, but in a different way, you’ll keep the momentum going with less stress.
Write Something New
Challenge your creativity with something out of the ordinary. If you write books, write a song instead. If you write songs, write a poem (which yes, is similar, but you get the picture). Do something different to keep your mind off the stress of inventing a new story. The more you stress about what you currently want to write, the more your brain shuts down. Play some music and relax. Write a poem of various styles. Write something new.
Brainstorm Multiple Outlines
Don’t know what should happen next in your story? Brainstorm every possible outcome for your character(s). Three scenarios at least. Think about every action they COULD take and then narrow it down to the actions they WILL take. For a moment, forget about who your character is. Focus on the possible actions and outcomes. Then, you can look at what makes the most sense for your main character. At this point, no ideas are bad!
Take it one step of the time. Use your outline as a guideline to where your story COULD go. You’re the writer, so you have all the control. You decide where your story goes and you can change your mind as many times as you’d like.
Outside Thinking – Conquering Writer’s Block
Unfortunately, these tips may not always help you out of trouble. You might continue to stare at the blank screen or empty paper for hours not knowing what to do. I am no stranger to this phenomenon. It’s terrible. Especially when you have a deadline. Deadlines can be motivating, but also stressful. If you don’t meet a deadline, your whole reputation is at stake!
What can you do when that happens?
Stop staring at the screen! Go do something else that doesn’t require much effort or thought, and that has nothing to do with writing. Just relax. Eventually, a stroke of genius will hit you and you won’t be able to stop typing.
Asking someone else for advice or to bounce ideas off of is a great way to get going. Different perspectives are useful to bring you out of your rut. You don’t have to brainstorm alone! Your friends and family might give you the big break you’re looking for.
Never Give Up
Writing can be difficult sometimes, and by that I mean every hour of the day, even for the greatest writers. That doesn’t mean it’s not worth the effort. No first draft is perfect the first time, so don’t let that destroy your work day. Keep writing and practicing, then perfection will follow!
Thanks for reading about Writer’s Block and how to beat it! Share your own comments below.
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