How to Deal with Writer’s Block

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Frustration does not adequately describe how a writer feels when the ideas dry up. The impetus to write remains, but with nothing to write about, we feel lost.

There is no one solution. Sometimes something will work and other times it won’t. Inspiration comes when it wants. We can’t force creativity. But when it’s your livelihood, it becomes an even bigger strain.

It is Temporary

Writer’s block is temporary, and it is a common problem. This may not bring you solace but it should. There is no way to know how long it will last, but it will end. So knowing that, you have a couple of options, though I imagine one will be more favorable to you. You can wait it out and take a break from writing. There is nothing wrong with walking away for a bit to rejuvenate. If writing provides your means of income, you won’t want to do that. The other option is to try to overcome it through various ways.

Writing Prompts

The reason there are so many books and websites with writing prompts is that they work. Even as a warm-up exercise, it is a useful tool. Most writing prompts get stored in the folder of things that just sit on your computer. They aren’t meant to be literary works of art, so get as crazy and creative as you want. It doesn’t even need to make sense. You can write about an alien struggling to learn to tie his shoes, and then he finds a quarter he uses to buy gum from a gumball machine. Allow yourself to write something awful. That is just as important as writing something wonderful. Plus, it takes some of the stress out of always trying to write the next masterpiece so that you can let the ideas flow.

 

Change of Scenery

Get out of your routine. Leave the house. Go somewhere that you don’t ordinarily go, whether that is visiting a park or going to see a live musician at a bar. Part of the reason you have writer’s block is that all the ideas in your head feel unoriginal. You need something new, so go somewhere new. Meet new people. Have an exciting or even a mundane conversation with someone you meet. Do an activity that you have been putting off. Go the amusement park or zip lining. Go to that meetup group you have been debating.

 

People Watch

The great thing about being a writer is that inspiration is everywhere. Characters reflect the people we know or have met. They may be personified versions of what we want or envision others to be.

Listening and watching people allows you to connect with words differently. You can write down mannerisms and appearances. You can get snippets of conversations. You have access to a wide range of characters as you see different age groups, depending on where you go. You can listen to families, teenagers, or old married couples.

I am a firm believer in well-rounded characters. Sit and make up a character chart. You may not have a story, but without good characters, you won’t have a good story.

 

Write about Writers Block

There was about a year where I could not focus. I went to the library with my notebook and tried to put pen to paper. Sometimes all I ended up doing was writing about my writer’s block. I had a few short stories I wanted to work on, but I was looking for something new. So instead of creating new stories, I used that time to get out some of the emotions that seemed to haunt me as I stared at the blank lines in front of me.

You can take that frustration and use it as a stream of consciousness exercise. Transcribe your thoughts and feelings to paper. Sometimes getting the emotions down on paper helps to break through the wall. Writing is a great outlet and an excellent coping mechanism.

Meet Other Writers

I have always found that being around other creative people helps bring out the creativity in me. We are all facing similar struggles, and the writing community is a supportive group. There are Facebook groups, local meetup groups, or Goodreads groups. Go to book signings and book promotions to support fellow authors and maybe make a connection. Follow and participate on your favorite social media sites in support of other writers. Learn from others in the community and share your own experiences. Writing is not easy. Finding support from others will help you with your writing and writing goals.

Read

Reading is something you should be doing on a regular basis. Besides the fact you are supporting other writers, you will learn something from everything you read. Even the books you dislike will teach you something.

The written word is what drives you; otherwise, you wouldn’t be doing it or reading this blog. What better place to be inspired than to read others works? What did you like? What didn’t you like? All of these things cultivate to make you a better writer and hopefully inspire you.

Devote Time to Yourself

Life can get busy and sometimes you are doing so many things before you realize, it’s time for bed to start it all over again tomorrow. As you are probably already making time for your writing, you can use some of that time to focus on you. Taking care of yourself physically and mentally will help relax you, which in turn will help you think without the clutter that naturally comes. Make time to go for a walk or exercise. Enjoy a meal. Allow yourself free time from other stress.

 

Other Art

Similar to an earlier suggestion, get creative with other creatives. Creativity takes on many forms. Be inspired by other artists. Some writers make a playlist. Go to an art museum and be surrounded by works of art.

Make your own art. Go to a one-night painting class. Color pottery or maybe sculpt it. Buy play dough and smash it in between your fingers. Purchase a coloring book and choose the color scheme. Writing is 2-dimensional, so try making something in 3-D.

 

Know that you are not alone in experiencing writer’s block. As stuck as you feel now, the pendulum will swing the other way, and you will be swimming in ideas. Be patient.

2 thoughts on “How to Deal with Writer’s Block

  1. You know, these are very good suggestions. It was always my belief writer’s block stemmed from too many ideas. An artistic form of ADHD. These suggestions would work under those circumstances too I think.

    1. Don’t sound surprised! 😉 Too many ideas is a nice problem to have. Sure, it’s hard to pick one and focus on it, but having no ideas is by far worse.

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