Writing Wednesdays: How to deal with writers' block

How do you deal with writers' block when it hits? I share my tactics in this post.

Ah, the dreaded writers’ block. Some people will write posts saying how it doesn’t exist and it’s a myth. Personally, I ‘believe in it’, if that’s the right way to put it.

You know when you’re writing a story, and suddenly don’t know where to take it next, and you feel stumped? You just can’t think of anything worth writing next. That’s what I’m talking about in this post.

And here are my tips for working through it or getting over it.

1. Music.

Personally, I find that soundtracks are the best thing to listen to. Or French music. I love French indie pop. It’s awesome. Anyway – movie and TV soundtracks that are primarily instrumental can be hugely inspiring. You can find playlists on 8tracks or albums on Spotify that fit your story – they always fit your story. I’ve put action and war playlists on when I’ve written arguments. I’d recommend Game of Thrones,Doctor Who, and Pirates of the Caribbean as instrumental soundtracks. 

The great thing about these is that you can apply them however you want to when they don’t have any words. Use the melancholy, or the uplifting feeling, or the way they make you feel like you could conquer the world. Channel those feelings into your writing. Even if you go back and delete the scene later and rewrite it, it’ll make you feel a little better that you managed to do any writing at all.

2. Step away from the work.

Do I sound crazy now? Bear with me. Sometimes, you can get too worked up and stressed out trying to think of what to write next and worrying about why you can’t write anything and why are you even bothering wasting your time this story is terrible anyway – and this is the time to stop, and walk away from your story. Not permanently, of course. Just for a little while.

Save and close the document, and put it out of your mind. It doesn’t matter if you leave it for a few days, a week, or even a month, but you’ll find that after a little while, you’ll want to go back to the story, and you’ll be going back with a clear mind and fresh ideas. That can really help.

You might also like this guest Writing Wednesday post by Alice Oseman on how she comes up with story ideas.

3. *Cyberman voice* Delete, delete, delete.

Stuck and don’t know where to go next? It might be that your last scene wasn’t any good. I don’t mean the writing – I mean the content. Maybe your last scene just isn’t working out; maybe it was the ending, or maybe the whole last chapter. It can be worth stepping away from the story for a couple of days, and then going back and having a look at the last bit you wrote.

Read the last few chapters, and then ask yourself: is that last scene working out? Try deleting it (after making sure the work is saved properly!) and rewriting, or changing it completely – you might find that’s all you need to do to carry on another 10,000 words after!

You might also like this post on how to write when your confidence is rock-bottom.

4. ‘Research’ your genre.

I don’t mean that you need to do actual research. I mean fun ‘research’ – read other books in the genre you’re writing, watch movies and TV shows in the same genre. It’ll all help inspire you and renew your love of the genre to help you get on with the writing if you’re simply stuck because you’re feeling unmotivated and uninspired.

5. Try writing something else.

I don’t necessarily mean a whole new novel-length story (because it can be sooo difficult to try and maintain two books at once) but I’m talking about poems, song lyrics, a short story (set yourself a limit if you’re doing this – like 10,000 words, say) or a single scene, or a short piece of fanfic even. It doesn’t have to be the same genre as the book you’re stuck on, either – it can be anything, just to help get you back into writing. Also, it can help clear your mind by the time you get back to writing the book you’re stuck on.

Well, there we are, all of my tips for combatting writers’ block! Ta-dah! Dealing with writers’ block isn’t the kind of thing where ‘one size fits all’ – you have to figure out what works for you. But be patient, and persevere, and please, don’t give up on your book just because you’ve hit a wall.

How do you deal with writers' block? Share your best tips in the comments!

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.