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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
6. 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.
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.
8. 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.
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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.
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).
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Give yourself a pep talk. Read “Shitty First Drafts” by Anne Lamott. Eat ice cream. Then get back to work.
20. Visit Bookfox!
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