If writer’s block is staring you in the face, describe its shape, color, and texture.
Writer’s block is a rude creature. So rude in fact that it almost always interrupts me whenever I feel like I have something going for me, you know, like writing that very important scene in chapter 20.
Some may say it’s not real and that it only lives in crevices of one’s imagination, but isn’t that exactly what makes writer’s block real? We, writers, rely on our imaginations to weave vivid world, develop fascinating characters, and invent exciting plots, but when we’re cut off from that current (by that jerk of a writer’s block), we are faced with a blank wall. The world becomes bleaker and the doubts creep in, preventing us from doing what we love most.
So what can one do to break through that wall, defeat writer’s block , and once again bask under the glorious warmth of our imagination? Well, I’ve found a few solutions that have helped me get through almost two drafts of a novel despite having to deal with that pesky creature almost every other day.
1) Take a break
Maybe it’s time to recharge that brain of yours. Go make yourself a nice cup of Earl Grey and relax. Let your mind wander without the fear of being persecuted for what it spews out onto the page. Think about things other than your story or better yet, don’t think at all. Meditate (and I don’t mean the ommmmm kind) and gather the strength to charge through that wall built by that villain (no, I don’t mean Trump).
2) Read a really horrible book
Of course, this is subjective. Your horrible, might be someone else’s gold, so go with your gut instinct here. What is it going to be? Another cookie-cutter YA with angsty love triangles or fan fiction of Twilight? The internet knows no bounds.
3) Read a really good book
This can be just as helpful because you will resupply yourself with new words and rebuild your excitement and eagerness for storytelling. You may also learn new techniques that might prove to be useful to get your vision across a blank page. A couple of books I’d suggest are Six of Crows and A Darker Shade of Magic.
4) Skip to a scene/story/poem you are excited to write
Sometimes your current WIP just doesn’t cut it. It feels dull, almost like marriage without passion. So what do you do? Well, you can try talking it out with the love of your life (I mean your WIP, not your partner, although that might work too) and finding an exciting scene that will hold your attention OR you can find another lover that can revive your emotionally dead soul (metaphorically speaking, of course). And, before you ask, no, I don’t support cheating. I’m all about transparency, so be open about your hot, new project with your current one. For example, I have a folder full of 14 other stories that I can wander to whenever I get into an argument with my current one. There are no hard feelings, as long as I can keep writing.
5) Word vomit
Beautiful imagery, I know. But this method has proved to be the most effective, at least for me. One day, I was sitting on the fourth floor of the library of the university I used to attend, and somehow, I got to rereading the stuff I had written. I had a moment of free time, you see. I thought it would be a good idea, you see.
Upon finishing the reread, I got extremely depressed. The story seemed to suck profusely (it’s not my current WIP, by the way) and I couldn’t type out another word. A cold, choking feeling coiled around my throat and I almost deleted everything I had written. Then I looked out the window, took a deep breath, and decided to write whatever came to mind. At first I timed myself (about 20 minutes) but after I found that it was helping the anger and fear of failure drain away, I wrote until it was time to go to class (the trick here is to write without stopping to think). And just like that, my writer’s block was gone *cue inspirational music* and I was left with this heady, liberating feeling.
Writer’s block can be very annoying but it’s not incurable. The pesky creature likes to gnaw on the edges of your story (and your sanity), but don’t let it stop you from writing the next bestseller.
Very reassuring, I know (although, I personally am addicted to tea, if you hadn’t noticed).
Alright, now, it’s your turn. What helps YOU deal with writer’s block?
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