At some point during the writing process, a writer is bound to face the frustrations of writer’s block.
What is it? It’s easy: it’s the enemy of every writer on the planet. It’s when you are unable to think of what to write, or having little to no motivation to continue writing.
When I’ve been struck by it, I feel extremely stressed and mentally exhausted. Sometimes, it causes me to procrastinate (which we all know is never a good thing!) It’s an aggravating situation to be placed in, especially when there’s a set deadline for your work to be completed by.
Is there any way to prevent it? It depends on the writer. However, every writer can overcome it. It takes a lot, and I mean a LOT, of determination.
While I’m talking about it, I’ll list a few handy tips which have helped me a lot when I’m faced with the devil’s work that is writer’s block:
- Listening to music is quite relieving when trying to generate ideas for a new story. Just the simple line in a song could do the trick!
- Go out for a walk. It’s ironic as writers are stereotypically seen as being introverts, but it’s great to view the world from your own perspective. It could also work wonders for your brainstorming later in the day.
- Read more books. I can’t stress it enough, READ! It could help with coming up with new plot ideas and characterisation if you ever find yourself struggling to come up with a new idea for a character or story.
- People watch. I know, it sounds creepy, but if you’re ever struggling to come up with character development, it can help a tonne!
- Drink coffee. Unless you have an intense dislike for caffeinated drinks, drink a coffee or latte at your local Costa store or in your own home. It’s been proven caffeine increases a person’s creativity. Think I’m lying? Coffee has been a life saver when I’ve been stuck on what to write for my creative assignments!
- Write in a ‘stream of consciousness’ style. I’ve only been introduced to this exercise recently by my tutors. Write whatever comes to mind, and see where it takes you. Alternatively, write to a specific sound or look at a photograph of a place, person, or object, and use it to your advantage.
- Socialise with other people and learn from your conversations. You might be thinking “yeah, right!” Honestly, talking to other people and learning about them can help so much with new ideas! I’m not the most talkative person in the world, but I always find myself overwhelmed with new ideas when I’ve had a lengthy conversation with someone else.
- And importantly, don’t doubt yourself too much. Lately, I’ve noticed one of the leading causes of writer’s block could be your own critique and worrying about what other people will think about your work. We’re all protective about our writing, but if there’s one thing I’ve learnt about being a creative writing student, it is to embrace criticism and to not compare yourself to other writers.
So, how can you beat writer’s block? WRITE. WRITE. WRITE! Let your imagination run wild and write to your heart’s desire! I can’t stress it enough.
Writer’s block is temporary, after all, and it will eventually go away once a new idea is eager to claw its way into your mind. If you ever find your brain at 3%, recharge it to 100% and let your mind do the work for you (poor reference, I know).
Inspiration is everywhere. It’s limitless, but we all face the times when we struggle to put our thoughts into words, and that’s okay. It’s like wanting to paint a picture but not knowing where to start, or what colours to use. It’s like wanting to make music but not knowing the correct chords or notes. It’s like spending half an hour trying to solve a mathematical formula. It’s inevitable, but it’s not impossible to tackle.
Writing is a fun process, but it can be a pain in the backside at times. If you ever find yourself suffering from writer’s block, just think of it as your imagination being full and needing fresh ideas to replace the old, unwanted ones. Trust me, it works.
Well, what are you waiting for? Get your creative juices flowing! You’ve got some writing to do!