I have a writer friend who stubbornly refuses to accept the notion of writer’s block. I adamantly disagree, though I would divide the condition into two categories—mild and serious writer’s block. I’ve suffered from both. The latter usually requires some soul searching to get to the bottom of it, but for mild cases, I’ve got a few suggestions. If you find yourself in a similar fix, here are seven tips for beating writer’s block.
Jump-start your creativity by listening to music. If you’re staring down the center of a blank page, music can evoke memories, set the tone for your internal creator to start working. If you’re in the middle of a story, listening to music from the time period your story is set can be helpful.
Try drawing elements of your story. Draw a map of the town, or sketch your hero’s picture. Some of us are more visual than others, and drawing might reveal the missing elements of the story. No story yet? Take the pressure off by sketching, and it just might free up what’s holding you back from creating something new.
Write a letter to your character, asking questions concerning scenes, plot, or motivation, then jot down your character’s response. That might sound strange, but if you find yourself stuck in the story, focusing on the wants and needs of your character might reveal the next step in your plot.
Create a mind map. Write a word or phrase in the middle of the page, and draw lines out from it as thoughts occur to you. Circle these thoughts, connecting words and phrases to these as well. This exercise can be particularly helpful when pulling together thoughts for a nonfiction piece.
Change your scenery. Write sitting next to a window rather than at your desk. Write with pen and paper at the local diner instead of at your computer. Put something fresh into your writing routine.
Wash the car, take the dog for a walk, fold the laundry. So-called mindless activities can be just the thing to get the right brain up and running. Why? When your conscious mind takes a break, your subconscious keeps working on the problem.
Work through the dry spell. The worst that can happen is the words down on paper aren’t salvageable. Chances are you’ll find a few words you can keep.
Next time you find the blank page taunting you, try these seven tips for beating writer’s block.
Now go pour yourself a cup of coffee and get back to work!