He got up and sat on the edge of the bedstead with his back to the window. “It’s better not to sleep at all,” he decided. There was a cold damp draught from the window, however; without getting up he drew the blanket over him and wrapped himself in it. He was not thinking of anything and did not want to think. But one image rose after another, incoherent scraps of thought without beginning or end passed through his mind. He sank into drowsiness. Perhaps the cold, or the dampness, or the dark, or the wind that howled under the window and tossed the trees roused a sort of persistent craving for the fantastic. He kept dwelling on images of flowers, he fancied a charming flower garden, a bright, warm, almost hot day, a holiday—Trinity day. A fine, sumptuous country cottage in the English taste overgrown with fragrant flowers, with flower beds going round the house; the porch, wreathed in climbers, was surrounded with beds of roses. A light, cool staircase, carpeted with rich rugs, was decorated with rare plants in china pots. He noticed particularly in the windows nosegays of tender, white, heavily fragrant narcissus bending over their bright, green, thick long stalks. He was reluctant to move away from them, but he went up the stairs and came into a large, high drawing-room and again everywhere—at the windows, the doors on to the balcony, and on the balcony itself—were flowers. The floors were strewn with freshly-cut fragrant hay, the windows were open, a fresh, cool, light air came into the room. The birds were chirruping under the window, and in the middle of the room, on a table covered with a white satin shroud, stood a coffin. The coffin was covered with white silk and edged with a thick white frill; wreaths of flowers surrounded it on all sides. Among the flowers lay a girl in a white muslin dress, with her arms crossed and pressed on her bosom, as though carved out of marble. But her loose fair hair was wet; there was a wreath of roses on her head. The stern and already rigid profile of her face looked as though chiselled of marble too, and the smile on her pale lips was full of an immense unchildish misery and sorrowful appeal. Svidrigaïlov knew that girl; there was no holy image, no burning candle beside the coffin; no sound of prayers: the girl had drowned herself. She was only fourteen, but her heart was broken. And she had destroyed herself, crushed by an insult that had appalled and amazed that childish soul, had smirched that angel purity with unmerited disgrace and torn from her a last scream of despair, unheeded and brutally disregarded, on a dark night in the cold and wet while the wind howled

20 Ways to Overcome Writer’s Block

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It stares you down in the form of an empty word doc and a blinking cursor. Its existence is hotly debated. It is any storyteller’s biggest fear: the dreaded Writer’s Block (and see my updated post on Writers Block).

However, have no fear! I’ve racked my brain for fail-safe strategies to conquer Writer’s Block, tactics that have put me back on track and saved my writing journey from becoming a dead-end. Take a look below.

high-grass-1504284_960_7201. Take A Walk

Not only does this get your legs moving and your lungs breathing in crisp air, but also taking walks can provide inspiration—you just need to know where to look. From mysterious initials carved into a tree trunk to a trail of candy wrappers on the sidewalk, you never know what you will find on the simplest walk.

 

women-1178187_960_7202. Stretch

Stretching opens up different parts of the body and allows blood to circulate fully. The next time you sit down and write, you’re allowing a different part of your body to speak.

 

 

 

cycling-655565_960_7203. Exercise

Get the blood pumping and the endorphins surging! Sweat out your frustration by running on the treadmill or riding a bike. After you huff and puff to catch your breath, you’ll see the world from a different perspective.

 

 

musician-349790_960_7204. Listen to Music

Lyrics tell stories too. Music can get you in that right mindset to bare your heart on paper. It can soothe, agitate, or rejuvenate you to write different types of scenes—whatever your story demands.

 

book-759873_960_7205. Read a Book

I find rereading my favorite passages from my favorite books helpful to conquer Writer’s Block. I ask myself why I love that passage from an emotional as well as technical viewpoint, and attempt to reconstruct those features that I love within my own stories. After all, great artists steal.

 

theatre-1093862_960_7206. Watch a Movie or a Play

This is particularly crucial for writing dialogue. It’s also a surefire way to start a line of “What if” thoughts—premises of your own, original worlds inspired by your favorite movies or plays.

 

colored-pencils-179167_960_7207. Draw or Look at Drawings

Release your creativity in a visual way, or be inspired by famous paintings and strange Tumblr art. If you think about it, practicing a different form of art is like crosstraining your creativity — if you get blocked in one medium, switch to a new one, and you’ll eventually overcome your initial block.

 

bath-1517727_960_7208. Take a Shower or a Bubble Bath

Sometimes, our best thoughts come to us in the shower as hot water relaxes the tension in our shoulders and steams up the bathroom mirrors. It’s the perfect time to let your mind wander in bliss.

 

 

Screen Shot 2016-07-22 at 11.10.55 AM9. Try Writing Prompts

If you’re stuck at even putting pencil to paper, try Bookfox’s First Line Generators with over 100+ story starters!

 

 

stack-letters-447579_960_72010. Write a Letter to Your Characters

Or vice versa. This allows you to explore your character’s voice under no pressure—you have no obligation to further plot or write a new scene. Instead, you are simply putting yourself in their shoes and getting to know them better. And who knows, maybe you’ll subconsciously solve that plot hole you’ve been trying to fix for forever.

 

hourglass-620397_960_72011. Write Nonstop for 10 Minutes

Set a timer and let your words fly. You can vent your frustrations, you can rage at your characters, you can muse about plot—write about literally anything for 10 minutes. When you look back, I can guarantee there will be a glimmer of something buried in there (the will to continue writing, perhaps).

 

pencil-918449_960_72012. Switch to Paper

We’ve lost a bit of the old fashioned world with the handy invention of laptops and keyboards. By switching to the old school way of actually picking up a pen, you allow your writing to come from the muscular movement of your body, rather than your brain’s nervous system when you type. In addition, physical writing slows you down and allows you to process your thoughts.

background-1209461_960_720-113. Spring Cleaning

It’s often the smallest, mundane tasks that allow us to think freely. As you tidy up your desk, your mind is also being compartmentalized. Clear the clutter!

 

 

 

bed-1292923_960_72014. Sleep

We crave stories so much that our brain even invents them while we’re asleep. Even if you can’t remember your dreams, rest is crucial to any human being.

 

coffee-692560_960_72015. Change Writing Locations

One of the best strategies. Go to a coffee shop. Write under a tree. Sit on the swings with a notebook on your lap. Don’t get stuck in the same place.

 

 

meeting-1002800_960_72016. Talk It Out With a Friend

It’s good to vent to a pair of sympathetic ears. Your friends can also give a different perspective on your writing, or offer solutions to your plot problems.

 

 

 

archery-472932_960_72017. Set Personal Goals

Make a statement. I, [insert name here], pledge to write ___ words a day. Print out your statement in giant font. Hang it above your desk. Hand out copies to your friends so they can keep you accountable. And when you accomplish that word goal for an extended period of time, reward yourself.

 

notebook-1209921_960_72018. Keep a Notebook

You never know when inspiration’s going to strike. Of course, you could always write it down on your phone, but I believe some of that spark is lost when your thumbs type away.

 

 

beautiful-day-1374434_960_72019. Console Yourself

Give yourself a pep talk. Read “Shitty First Drafts” by Anne Lamott. Eat ice cream. Then get back to work.

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2016-07-22 at 11.23.51 AM20. Visit Bookfox!

For more writing strategies and creative posts to get your juices flowing, subscribe to Bookfox!

 

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