The cursor in your Word document flashes as it mocks your inability to write. Your imaginary friends sit in a corner playing Go Fish as they ignore your desperate cries for inspiration. To make it worse, they won’t even let you play! You Google search writer’s block tips but the typical suggestions such as, “take a break” or “just write,” gets you nowhere.
As someone who has recently overcome a writer’s block that lasted a good two years, trust me when I say there’s hope. This beast can be defeated and here are some weapons I’ve used to slay the creature often referred to as writer’s block.
- Write in a journal instead of a word processor
Computers offer nothing but distraction for a stuck author. You turn on your laptop to write and find yourself three hours later on Pinterest without a single word added to your manuscript. A journal can be taken to a quiet place and doesn’t have a connection to Facebook or Netflix. The lack of a delete key also acts as duck tape on the mouth of your inner editor.
But eliminating distractions isn’t the best part about handwriting your novel. Handwriting uses different parts of the brain, which helps to spark creativity. This spark can be the very thing you need to start a blaze of inspiration.
If I don’t have you convinced, check out this blog article for more information on the benefits of handwriting your first drafts.
- Play the “What If” game
What If is a great game to play to come up with everything from entire stories to short scenes. The What If game only requires a base idea that you can twist slightly to either better your story or create a new story. For example, what if an ogre, instead of a knight or prince, rescued a princess from a dragon-guarded tower? Ever heard of Shrek?
To play this game with your own story start off by brain storming the different ways you could write a scene. I find it best to use a white board to write a character’s name with several branches coming from them to show the different routes the character could take. Even if you’re convinced that you know what you want your character to do next, try the What If game anyways. You might find a better way to reach your goal or find that your original goal wasn’t the best idea.
- Step away from writing your story and do some research
Taking a break from a story to let it stew is a tip you’ll read in every blog and book on writing, but doing this completely can lead to procrastinating. Instead, make a list of things in your story that could use some researching. For example, if you’re writing a novel with an elf as the protagonist, research elvish mythology. Not only will this make your writing better, but your research could give you a fresh idea that cures your writer’s block.
Now you have a few new weapons to slay the beast. Enough procrastinating! Get to work solider!