Friday, July 08, 2016

Writing through the Block


Every writer suffers occasionally from the dreaded writers block. This blog, itself, came from sitting at the keyboard and wondering "What will this weeks blog be about? I have literally no idea." Presto! Instant blog topic.

Staring at an empty screen is frustrating for every writer, from the first-timer just trying to get a story onto paper, to the seasoned veteran working on an impending deadline. Writers block whispers that you are not, will never be, a good enough writer. Clearly, if you were more talented, this wouldn't happen. This is obviously not true, as evidenced by the great Lin-Manuel Miranda:



This man has won a Tony, guys. For his writing. The man is a genius, and if he stares at a blank page trying to figure out what in the heck he is going to write down, there is hope for us all.

Before anything, close the window, or the notebook, or whatever you are using to get your thoughts out. Just close it. I know it seems counterproductive. After all, you're supposed to be writing. But stay with me, here. Window closed? Good. Now, let's beat the block.

1. Read...This is good advice for any writer, but especially one in the grip of mental meltdown. Aspiring writers have the worst tendency to forget that reading is one of the best ways to hone the craft. Reading forces the mind to work, shoves it firmly out of the box and into another life. It gets your brain whirring, and helps burn out all the extra that clogs up the creative process. Besides that, it forces you to relax. How many of us became writers because we were inspired by an amazing book? There is something inherently calming about taking a book from a shelf and just reading for the sake of it, for the pure pleasure of watching a story unfold. Let yourself be lost in it, and you may come back refreshed, with brand new ideas about where your story should go next.

2. Write...about something else. Sometimes the well, as it were, needs priming. We itch to write and occasionally, though the spirit is willing, the brain is spongy and empty of creative thought. So put away your WIP and write something else. Journal, freewrite, or find a writing prompt and just allow your thoughts to flow without the stress of worrying how it will fit into your plot. Need some help with what to write? We've got you covered.

3. Do...literally anything else. Take a shower. Go for a walk. Exercise. Heck, watch an episode or two of that Netflix show you've heard so much about. Just let your mind take a break from the fictional (or non-fictional) world you've been immersing it in. Let yourself come up for air, and breathe in the inspiration of the world around you. One of the best methods is to find a place with natural beauty. A beach, a national park, a regular park. Just find a place where the calm of nature can wash over you, and see if the thoughts don't begin to flow again.

4. Confession: I made the above graphic, completely forgetting that I only had three points in this list. BUT, I did include a few extra places to look for inspiration in squashing writer's block. So, if you need more help, here, here, and also here are a few extra tips from some genius bloggers to get your juices flowing and your brain back to that brilliant WIP.

Writer's block happens to the best of us. The good news is, it doesn't have to get the best of us.



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