Hey, everyone! It’s been a minute, hasn’t it? A month, you say? Well… Yeah. So a bit more than a minute. Where I have I been?
So… November was National Novel Writing Month, and though I didn’t write a novel, I did do a lot of writing. You’ll probably never see any of it, though: I kept getting stuck, writing and rewriting the same three scenes over and over again, and eventually, I deleted over 30,000 words worth of material in frustration. Maybe you fared better than I did this month… Or maybe you’re just like me and came down with an awful case of writer’s block.
We all have trouble writing sometimes. The concept is perfect in your head, but getting that down on paper takes words you just don’t have. In any case, here are some tried and true tips for busting through writer’s block.
Walk it out
Take a break and step away from your desk. Get a snack, take a walk, take a nap, take a bath… Create some distance between you and your work until you feel ready to try again.
Talk it out
Use that lifeline and phone a friend. Text, email, Snapchat, or even open the door and yell down the street if you have to. Just get in touch with someone close to you. Share some ideas, ask for advice, or just chat about your day. Sometimes, you get in the way of yourself, so opening up to outside help can be just what you need to hit that word count.
Pick a prompt
Throw open a dictionary, pick a word and write whatever comes to mind through word association. Google “writing prompts” and dive into any one of the millions of results until you find one that inspires you. Freewrite till your page looks like the diary of a raving madman. It doesn’t have to be good; it doesn’t have to be bad. It just has to be. We’re trying to get writing again, and there’s no place for perfectionism yet: you cant make nothing perfect.
Create a haven
Sometimes, a simple change of environment can spark your imagination. Maybe you feel too cramped indoors. Try sitting in the backyard and hashing out your plot under a tree, or camping out on the porch with your laptop and your beverage of choice. If the great outdoors is too distracting, head to your local cafe and get a table for one. Buy a coffee, leave a tip, and take advantage of the outlets and free wifi! Head to your local library and rent out a study room. Even just setting up camp in a different room in your home can significantly improve your writing. Gather your writing supplies, some snacks, and some good headphones to block out the noise around you, then set aside a little writing nook, cozy up, and get going!
Switch it up
If staring at a blank Word document on your laptop isn’t doing it for you, try a pen and paper. Dig out your grandmother’s old typewriter and give it a whirl. Maybe that notes app on your phone or the word processing app on your tablet is more your jam. If prose isn’t cutting it, try poetry. Outline a scene in broad strokes instead of hyperfocusing on small details. Whatever you’re used to doing in your writing, try something entirely out of the ordinary for you and see what you get! It may not be perfect, but at least you’re writing!
If all else fails, dig up an unfinished piece or an old story and fix it up. Reimagine your characters in a different setting or simplify the purple prose that peppered your proposal. Maybe take that fanfic and turn it into an original novella. You already have so much material to work with, so why not recycle the bits and bobs into something brand new?
Hopefully, you’ll find these tips useful! These tricks are what I do to dig myself out of writing holes, and if you found them helpful, maybe share them with a friend or comment down below! I’ll see you in December with some book blogging and a new project…