Five Ways to Combat Writer’s Block
Hello everyone! Summer is in full swing, meaning that it’s time to explore the great outdoors! This is the perfect season to start writing something new, in my opinion. Everything is reaching its peak, from the flowers and trees, to the weather, to blockbusters and concerts…there’s so much happening this season, sometimes it’s good to take a moment and write something new.
Writer’s block has been my downfall for many years. My WIP, “Value”, was shaping up to be a multi-novel adventure. But life quickly took hold of my ability to sit down and write, what with dropping out of college, going through my first real breakup, and moving back home to start my first job. That was about six or seven years ago. No matter what I tried to do, I couldn’t bring myself to finish the arc that I had created for my characters. I still can’t.
Throughout the past several years, I tried to get back into writing something, anything. Writing has always been one of my favorite creative outlets of choice, and the fact that I couldn’t do it for years absolutely killed me. No matter how many times I looked on the internet for a simple solution, I never found one. Instead, I created my own way to work around my writer’s block, so I thought for this post, why not tell y’all what I discovered over these past few years?
Take a Freakin’ Break
Sometimes, it’s as simple as putting the pen down and walking away from the page (or whatever the 2019 version of that is — I know y’all probably aren’t writing stuff down anymore!). I’ve found that for short stories that I get stuck on, sometimes it helps to just give it a break for a while. Doing so gives you and the story a moment to breathe, which in turn will help you see something you wouldn’t have seen otherwise. Trust me, it sounds like a waste of time, but it honestly works better than you think!
Find a Cool Prompt
I will always praise a good writing prompt. Lately, I’ve been finding my inspiration on Pinterest, which shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, seeing as Pinterest is a goldmine for creative minds. You just have to know where to look!
On my Pinterest, I have a writing board that I go to whenever I am stuck or otherwise unable to write effectively. If you want, you can take a look! It’s a great place to start looking into other people’s boards and writer’s block remedies.
If you have trouble finding a good prompt, Google is also a good option. You can find literally anything on Google. And if all else fails, ask your creative friends to give you a crazy thing to write about! All my friends are some sort of creative, even if they don’t think so. The best story ideas for me have come from conversations with my friends.
Any Development is Good Development
I am the master of completely fleshing out a character and realizing I have no idea how to incorporate them into the story I created for them. When this happens, I try to develop their relationship with everyone in the story. What’s their relationship with the antagonist? The love interest of the protagonist? A random waiter they have one line of dialogue with? This is just one example of development for the sake of development.
Obviously, there is such a thing as overdeveloping a character or a plot line. When this is the reason for writer’s block, it’s time to cut some things. You don’t always need to know every single character’s favorite food, but it is important to note it if it applies to the story, for example. Honestly, my favorite part of writing is developing the arc and the characters who will go on the journey before I write anything on a draft. It does, however, get me into trouble when I hit a wall with it. Sometimes cutting or adding things to your outlines and notes helps get the juices flowing again.
(Note: this doesn’t mean edit a draft that’s not ready for editing! I’m notorious for editing as I write a rough draft, and it is ALWAYS my downfall. Just wait to edit until you’re done with the draft!)
Find Another Person’s Art and Let it Inspire You
After I go see a movie, without fail, I am writing a fanfic about it that night. Whether in my head or on paper, ya girl loves drafting up a good fanfic. It’s why I started writing in the first place, and it’s something that I will always love to both read and write.
I do the same thing with books and music: my imagination goes wild when I find a muse. Other people’s creativity inspires me to get creative myself. I suggest finding a story you’ve never read before, a song that inspires you, or a movie that lights that creative spark, and let the seed of creativity be planted.
There have been many authors that have started with something unoriginal and turned that something into an original piece (for example, “Fifty Shades of Grey” was originally a “Twilight” fanfic, and I’m not even joking). It’s not shameful to do so, and honestly if you can write a fanfic and turn it into an original piece of writing by the time you’re finished, you are probably a much better writer than me.
Write Everyday, Period!
This one is hard for me personally, mostly because I never have enough time to do what I want to do. I’m lucky that Medium exists as an app as well as a website (and that I can get Microsoft Word as an app as well) because now I can take my own advice and write every single day.
Writing everyday sounds very, very hard, especially if you have writer’s block. I suggest starting with one night a week, then two, eventually working your way up to everyday. You can get a journal, use your phone’s notepad, or even just scrap paper to do so. It doesn’t have to be anything substantial. It can literally be a synopsis of your day or a grocery list. You don’t think that something that small can help, but it can!
I started this blog as an excuse to write something everyday. Obviously I post on Mondays semi-religiously, but y’all should see my draft list. I’ve deleted a handful of old drafts, but I still have at least ten chillin’ in the folder. I write a little blurb every single day either on here or on my phone’s notepad because I want to get back into the swing of writing something I love. I’ve never been one to brag about my writing skill because frankly I know it’s not perfect, but writing something every day has really helped me flex those old writing muscles.
Out of everything on this list, this is the one that I suggest doing the most. Especially if you want to be published someday! I’ve never been published (outside of some poetry books with the rest of my 5th grade class), but I hope to one day write something worthy of publishing. I can’t do that if I’m not practicing every day!
So, there you have it. Five of the things I like to do to combat my always crippling writer’s block! If you like to write but haven’t done so in a while, try one of these options to get you back to making your art. Follow me on Twitter to keep up with my blog and read about my writing shenanigans!