The dictionary defines writer’s block as a usually temporary psychological inability to begin or continue work on a piece of writing. Scary thought, huh? Not being able to write can shatter a writer’s ego and become a nightmare.
Is writer’s block all in your head or is it real? Not everyone believes that writer’s block exists. Some believe that it is an excuse to get out of writing or just pure laziness. Those who believe this have obviously never suffered from writer’s block. Every writer has days where it is hard to write. This tends to happen if you have really been pushing yourself to write a lot and have spent days doing nothing but writing. If you are stuck and having problems, it could mean you just need to take a break.
Get away from writing for a short period of time. Go for a walk or a jog. When I am walking or jogging is when my creativeness is at its peak. Often I wish I had an internal tape recorder to record my thoughts so I could transcribe them on paper when I get back in front of my computer.
If you are lucky enough to have a hot tub, go relax in it for a while. Allow the heat and steam to rekindle the creative part of your mind. If you don’t have a hot tub, a nice soak in a steaming tub of water is a nice substitute.
Clean your kitchen. Agatha Christie said that the best time to plan a book is while you are doing the dishes. If you can plan one while you do the dishes, you should also be able to plan one while vacuuming the carpet, dusting the furniture, sweeping the kitchen floor, hanging out or folding the laundry, etc. Make housework one of your most creative times.
What robs us of the ability to create? It is my belief that stress has a lot to do with it. Some people can write no matter what is going on in their lives. They have learned to separate themselves from the situation. I’m not one of those people. If there is something not so good happening in my life, not only does it affect how I write, it affects what I write.
You can learn to deal with normal, everyday stress so that it doesn’t bring to a halt your writing ability. There are more stressful situations, so horrific you can think of nothing else. Things such as a child running away from home, finding out a spouse or significant other has been unfaithful, learning that a loved one in a possibly fatal accident, etc., can seriously disrupt the creative flow.
At times like these write something you can focus on – write down what you are feeling. When things are back to normal, what you wrote down will give you new inspiration and inspiration for future characters.
When your muse has seemed to quit cooperating with you, there are some things you can do can coax her back. Try reading through some of my writing prompts articles. Some of them are specifically writing prompts. Others take their start from collective nouns, from phobias, from unusual holidays, or from whatever else I happen to be writing about.
Are you more of a visual person? Start looking at pictures. They can be your own pictures, or pull up some pictures on the internet. Pull of pictures of other countries, pictures taken in the desert, in the jungle, in the sky. Pull out pictures from your childhood or those taken of your children when they were young.
Pick up a pen and a sheet of paper. Write down the first word that comes to mind. Now write down all of the words that the first word makes you think of. Allow your mind to form a storyline with one or more of the words you wrote down used as its basis.
If you need more help, there are several websites that offer creative writing prompts. One of these sites, Language is a Virus, offers writing prompts, writing games, exercises, and tips. This site you will help you learn how to make writing fun again.
Writing is a skill. The more you practice any skill, the better you become at it. Make it a habit to write each and every day, whether or not you feel inspired, whether or not the creative juices are flowing.
If you find your writing to be stale and unimaginative, if you just can’t persuade the words to come, then write a letter.
Pick an object and write a description of it.
Write a review of the last book you read.
Pick random words out of a dictionary and construct a story using them. Anything to convince your brain to write. Once the creative juices have begun to flow, work on a current project. You need to write every day, even if you don’t like what you are writing and feel that it could be done much better.
If you need more help overcoming your bout with writer’s block, there have been many books written on how to conquer it. If you would like to purchase a book that has been written on how to get rid of writer’s block, below are Amazon links for three of these books.
Recommended Article: Coffee, Cigarettes, and Writer’s Block – Guest Post by Richard Petracca