Writer’s block––I see most authors talking about this on social media. Almost every day, authors are talking about it.
When I started writing, I had no trouble with it, but later on when I actually got it, it was hard to work around at first. I tried different tactics and found some working ways. Thought I’d share it with you all.
Writer’s block is not a curse. It’s your body and mind telling you they need a break or more motivation.
What causes the writer’s block?
Tricky. But if you ask me, I’d say almost anything can cause it.
It’s that feeling when you sit in front of your manuscript, words refuse to flow like they usually do. You type out a few sentences and then you realize you’re just staring at it. This frustrates every author.
It could be because your creative juices aren’t flowing well; you’re stuck with your plot, unable to decide where to go from there. It could be your stress––personal or professional. 90% of the authors I met usually hold a full-time job or studying. Most female authors have families and small children that demand most of their time. Sometimes you’re too tired to even write after a long day.
How to work around your writer’s block?
Well, mostly it’s how I work around it. You have to leave it alone and wait for the creativity to strike you again. Sometimes, you have to hit its head and force your brain to work.
Here are some things I do:
1. Chapter outlines:
Making chapter outlines for your manuscript can work wonders. When you’re plotting for a story, you can actually make small notes on what you want for each chapter. I know of a few authors, who lay it out perfectly before starting their script.
But every author has a different working style. I’d say try a few things and stick to ones that works for you.
These chapters outline can range from a simple sentence to bullet points or an entire chapter outline.
a) A simple note: CH – 1: Introduce Male MC and his background
b) Bullet points:
· Male MC goes to a party.
· He meets the Female MC.
· They talk and dance.
· He asks for her number.
c) Chapter outline:
Male MC goes to a party – meets female MC – sexy & charming – he’s intrigued – she turns his offer for a drink – he convinces her for a dance – they ends up talking and finds they have more in common – he offers her a ride – she declines – he asks for her number – she writes it in his palm – her friend calls her and she leaves – he watches her leave.
Like I said, you need not necessarily do this, but when you work on multiple scripts at the same time having these notes will help you catch up. Also, you won’t feel stuck.
2. Plot Outline:
I do this for almost all my scripts. When I start with a story, all I have is a one liner that will make the crux of the story. I build the characters and scenes as I write. So, while writing multiple scripts, I find it easier to have these.
For example, I’ll show you the points I wrote down for my book Getting Over Him.
· Arianna is betrayed by her boyfriend.
· He cheats on her with her twin sister.
· She’s heartbroken and wants to move on.
· Her friends drag her for a vacation.
· She meets her crush on the island.
· She’s drawn to him, but afraid to risk it all.
· They go on Jet ski. He kisses her.
· Arianna decides to take a chance.
It goes on like this. Here, though I know what will happen, having small notes like this helps when I get stuck at a certain scene. Sometimes, we don’t exactly follow what we wrote down earlier. Ideas for scenes may change as we write. Or we may come up with something more suitable and that’s fine.
The above two helps you if you’re stuck due to lack of creativity. However, reading is very important too. Reading is thought provoking and it does wonders while you’re writing.
Read every single day. I’m a person, who can’t sleep without finishing a story if I started reading it. But when I started writing, finishing a story in a day was almost impossible. So, these days I convince myself to read it in parts. I read at least two or three chapters every day. It helps a lot.
While what you read is completely your choice, I’d say read a book in a genre you’re writing. I prefer to read Cynthia Eden’s book. Her writings inspire me. So, her books are usually my ‘Go to books’ while I’m having trouble with writing.
3.1 Read your own books:
So, you have started writing and you’re in a situation where you can’t decide how to proceed from there. The best way to tackle this is to get down to read the story from the start. Convert the document into PDF or .mobi format and read it like a reader. If the story has a sequel that’s connected, read that too. This will open the invisible blockades and will give you better ideas.
There’s another worst phase authors go through. It is when you feel detached to your story or you feel as if you’re losing your touch. Worry not, it’s just your mind playing tricks or it’s the daily life stress. Read the previous stories you have written. You’ll definitely find the motivation you need to keep going.
4. Movies/ TV series:
Watching movies or TV series are thought provoking too. If you write Paranormal or Horror or Contemporary, watching something related to it, helps a lot. It also refreshes your mind.
5. Listen to Music:
Listen to your favorite music. Just because you write, you don’t have to think about it all the time. Though sometimes you can’t help it. If you like to dance, go shake that booty of yours like no one’s watching.
6. Take a break:
Like any other work you do, writing and reading can stress you too. Some may not agree with me, but it’s true. When the struggles in your real life drain you emotionally, all you want to do is to get out and have a break.
Do not be afraid of a break. And do not hesitate to take one if you know you need it.
I’d say your mental and physical health is most important. Your health and well being always comes first. Never compromise with that.
During this time, take a break from your electronic gadgets. Go out. Meet friends and family. Go out for a walk, play with your pets. If you can afford a travel, go to some place and make new memories. Go to a nearby park and spend some time with nature. Go to a beach and observe the waves. If you like sports, engage in some sports related stuff. Do anything that’ll help you.
7. Befriend fellow authors:
Today’s technology had evolved so much that you’re no longer confined to a typewriter and in a single room with no means to meet others often.
Other authors are just a click away. Get on social media, join authors groups on Facebook. Twitter is also a great platform to meet new authors and befriend them.
The key is other authors, just like you, likes to talk about their works. When you scroll through social media, when a content genuinely interests you, make sure to comment on it. If the author strikes you as a friendly person, make small talks. Get to know them. Ask them about their writing.
Most often, these favors are always returned. When you stuck on your plot, talking to these authors and brainstorming will help a lot. They see things from a different perspective which does wonders.
8. Never give up:
Last but not least, never give up. Though this is not much relevant, I’ve seen young authors giving up easily when they are stuck on something. I know of people, who never touched their script for over a year.
Writing requires a lot of hard work, patience and creativity. If you don’t push and motivate yourself, you won’t get things done. You have to love your story first. If you don’t love your plot baby, who will?
The reason I write is to read stories I’d want to read. I’m not ashamed to admit, I’ve read my stories a lot of times and swooned at it like a reader would. I write for myself, because it makes me happy.
So, always remember the reason you write. Be your fan. Cheer yourself.
Hope this helped. Feel free to knock my inbox anytime. Happy writing!