Writer’s block can be one of the most worrying things when it comes to your writing. It comes in many different forms. Perhaps you can’t think of a new idea? Or can’t think of where to begin your new story? Or perhaps you know exactly where you want to take it, but can’t find the words to start it…
Below is five ways that have helped me in the past to get out of writers block and get my ideas down. Hopefully they can do the same for you.
Sometimes you can struggle to get the story down because you can’t think of what happens next. There are different types of writers. Some like to plan every step, whilst others like to see where the story takes them. I would say I’m a bit of a mixture. I normally know how the story is going to begin and end and I have a rough idea what happens in between. But sometimes I just sit and see where the story leads, creating new scenes I hadn’t thought about before sitting down to write. But sometimes, this does not always help. I can find myself sitting there knowing where I want the story to head but not finding the right way to lead it to that scene. So that is when I sit back, reflect on the story and plan more of what I want the story to say. Knowing the steps where it is going to lead can help in many ways. You don’t necessarily have to then plan the whole story if you don’t want to. Often, even when I do plan I find that the story never heads in that direction anyway. But I had a rough idea so it helped me feel more settled to sit down and write.
Reading is your inspiration. Many authors say that they read a lot, and that is because reading stories and getting your plan in that environment can help brain storm your own ideas. This point can work in two ways. Either you can sit back and read over your own work — perhaps reading the scenes before may help spring ideas on where the story leads. Or, you can either read someone else’s published work. Sometimes you need to explore what is out there to help govern where you want your story to lead. You want it to be unique, but also to sell. Reading the same genre you are trying to work in can help you understand what sells and what does and doesn’t work. Take your time, let other’s words help flow through you and let your mind wonder. I’ve often just wanted to sit and relax with a book, and then suddenly I find my own mind switching to my own stories and I have to put the book down to note that new idea without having even been trying to. Your be surprised what might come to you when your imagination is walking down someone else’s work, or even your own.
3. Change your environment / create a new routine
I think these two mix well together because they can both be a cause for a writing block. Some writers need to do the same thing every day, in the same place at the same time. Whilst others find they often grow tiresome and need a change. This could possibly be what is happening to you. Perhaps you’ve grown so used to staring at the same wall, at the same desk and that is what is struggling with your imagination and your writing. Just switching your desk from one side to the other has often worked for me. Or change the room up a bit and suddenly it feels as if you are in a fresh environment. Or, if you often write in your office, write somewhere else. Perhaps the kitchen? Or the living room? Or maybe even your bedroom. Being somewhere else just might help that mind wonder. But similarly, it could be the routine that is doing it. I normally found I did need a routine, and still do, in order to get my mind flowing. But perhaps that isn’t working for you? If you normally write in the morning, perhaps try in the afternoon. If you often write in the evening, maybe try in the morning. I often found I would need to sit down for a bit every day to keep the story going. Maybe if you write only three days a week but do it for four hours. Maybe change it to every day but only find one hour. Jazz it up and see what makes your writing come alive.
4. Free write, or start something else (but not a new idea)
This one can be a bit tricky so I want to explain it a bit. I am not saying to put aside this idea and go for something else. No, you want to try and get back into the mindset of your currant piece, but just need a bit of inspiration to get there. This is where free writing comes in. Just sit down and write whatever comes to mind. It doesn’t have to make sense, hey, it doesn’t even need to be grammatically correct. As long as you are getting something on paper then it can help open that part of your brain. If you do want to try another story, do something simple. Don’t change to another complex idea you had planned after you had finished writing this piece. There is a high chance that you could end up moving completely to that new idea and leaving the current one behind and never touching it again. This free writing is only meant to be trying to help you to keep going with your currant piece, so that is what you are focusing on.
This last point is to say to simply… relax. There is a chance that this writers block is your brain and body telling you to calm down. Perhaps you have been over working with your writing, or other aspects in life have been too much. Perhaps you are stressed, or simply need to take a break. Don’t let the idea of writer’s block get you down. Writing can be freeing, but also rather stressful. The fact that you can sit down and conjure a new world is a skill that not many people can actually achieve. Tell yourself that, that the fact that you are determined to write a story is amazing, an achievement in itself that not many people can do. So if you need a break, take it. That story will still be there when you feel relaxed enough to return to it. Note down some ideas if your worried that if you relax you won’t be able to return to it. Trust me, you will. I have taken years from an idea and when I found the time to sit down, the whole idea came flooding back. Just listen to your body, and if you need some time away, then take it.
Hopefully these tips help. And just remember — writing is a joy, and if it is feeling like a chore, then there is a chance that this idea isn’t as exciting as you originally thought. You want excitement and joy when writing, as that will show across for your readers. As long as you have, it doesn’t matter how long it takes you to write it, fans of your story will be there, sitting and waiting.