I’ve lived most of my life believing that there was no such thing as a creative block. Writer’s block was just a figment of lazy writers’ imaginations, clogging up whatever ideas they may get for stories, shutting them down before they even started.
But, okay. I guess it exists. I didn’t think it would ever happen to me, but it does. And when it happens, boy howdy is it bad.
I still don’t believe that one day you wake up and suddenly, BOOM, you’re blocked. It’s a combination of a lot of things: doubt, fear, your home life, your love life, stress or no stress, drama or no drama. It can be anything, really.
The point is, whatever you call it, “writer’s block” is a serious thing to us creative types.
So what are we to do when the words don’t come? What are we to do when the skies blacken, the impending doom of “you’re not a real writer” and “what do you think you’re doing?” threatens to tear us down?
Well, I don’t know for sure.
But I made a list of things that help me, and hopefully they can help you, too.
1. Stop, Drop, and Roll:
When I’ve spent hours upon hours, or sometimes, days upon days, staring at the screen in turmoil and nothing is coming to me, often the best option is to stop trying so hard. Get up, go do some laundry, pet your cat/dog/snake you’ve been neglecting. Go outside (I know, it’s scary out there with real people, but just try it). Take a walk or drive. Most of my ideas have come to me while I’m driving.
2. Book It:
If you’re more like me, getting up and doing things is hard sometimes, especially if you’re bummed out about the flow suddenly drying up. But you can’t keep staring at that screen. You’ll go insane. Instead, find a book, curl up with some tea, and read it. Don’t worry about that deadline or how your characters are hanging around with nothing to do. Read a book that draws you in, one you can’t put down. Then don’t write another word until you’ve finished. You’ll be amazed at how much better you feel. Unless you read your favorite author. Then you might be making things worse for yourself (for example: WHY IS NEIL GAIMAN SO MUCH BETTER THAN ME?!?). So tread lightly here.
3. Look and Listen:
Okay, okay. So you made the mistake of reading a book that is way better than anything you could ever write and now you’re even more discouraged than before. What now? Don’t panic. I’ve got another idea, and one that I use often.
Go to the grocery store, the movies, or a college campus. Hang out in public and just pay attention to what’s going on around you. Why did that girl flip her hair like that? How are different groups interacting? Why did he respond to her question like that? Even if there aren’t people around, you’d be amazed at how much goes unseen when you aren’t paying close attention. Don’t think about how you would write your observations. Just absorb and save it for later, when you’re stuck.
4. Get Out:
Seriously. Not just out of the house, but out of yourself. If you know anything about me, you know that this is the hardest one for me to do. I hate change, I hate new things, I hate meeting new people. But sometimes you just have to get over all that jazz. Go do something you wouldn’t normally do. I’m not saying go and sell all of your belongings and live on a commune, unless that’s what you really want. I’m saying take a small step out of your normal routine. Go out to eat by yourself. Hang out with people you don’t normally hang out with. Join a group. Be less afraid. It can jolt creativity sometimes. And even if it doesn’t, you gain new experiences so nothing is wasted
5. Just Do It:
The thing that fuels writer’s block most of the time is fear. Fear that what you want to say isn’t coming out right, fear that no one will get what you’re trying to do, fear that you’re not a “real” writer, the list can stretch on into infinity. Here’s the thing about fear: it doesn’t have power unless you give it power.
Allow yourself to write the worst thing possible. If you don’t know how to describe something, leave a blank (Like this: ____ ) right in the document. Don’t worry about every sentence being perfect. If you’re stuck, it’s most likely on a rough draft. You don’t need to tattoo every paragraph to your forehead for all to see and judge. Relax. Let it happen and fix it later. Give yourself small goals (500 words a day) and then reward yourself when you get there (Candy and Netflix!). The most important thing to remember is that writing it is the hardest part, but it’s just a skeleton. When you go back and edit, over half of it will change and become better. It’s not going to look alive until then.
So, okay. Writer’s block is real. Sometimes. Once you’ve not only admitted that, but the fact that you have this serious affliction, you can work on curing it. I hope these suggestions help you when you’re stuck. : )
Nikki is Giving away 3 Sunshine Series Swag Packs to 3 lucky followers. The Rafflecopter Ninjas will sort out our entrants and let us know who the lucky people are on... hmn. lets say, September 5th. Sound Good? Alright! Release the Rafflecopter!
[Psst..I interviewed Nikki the other day! Click the image below to see the Post!]
The blurb for book 1 is also available on the post.