Today I’m going to talk about Writer’s Block. I’m aware that some people believe that it doesn’t exist, whilst some people believe that it does, but that’s not something I intend to focus on today, and if I do, which I hope I don’t, it shouldn’t be a lot.
So, writer’s block. What is it? Well, according to my boyfriend it’s “the writer’s equivalent of being head butted by a panda” but I’m not quite so sure. In my experience writer’s block is… When you sit with, whatever you write with (whether that’s pen and paper, or a keyboard and Word or whatever) and no matter what you do, no matter how hard you try, you just cannot find the inspiration, or the need and/or drive to write. As you’ve probably guessed, this has happened to me. It’s happened quite a few times to be honest. My overall mood or, happiness is a majorly important factor too. (Sounds a bit silly really, doesn’t it?)
I guess the main question is; how do you break or get over writer’s block? Me? I write. Yes, you read that correctly. I write to get over writer’s block. Confused? Let me give you an example: before I picked up my pen to continue this blog post (I handwrite them all before I type them up you see, with the exception of one so far), I had a little writer’s block. So, I started writing out music lyrics onto a sheet of A4 paper. (This had a purpose too – I wanted to see how many words I could write on one side. It turns out that I can get about 300 words of solid text onto one side of A4 – obviously less if there’s dialogue.) It works for me; it’s the act of putting pen to paper that kick starts my brain – no matter what I’m writing. If I’m stuck on a blog post, I’ll write out some lyrics. If I’m stuck on a piece of fiction, I’ll go and write in my diary. If I’m stuck on a diary entry (weird, I know) I’ll scribble a stream of consciousness.
If you normally type, try handwriting. If you normally handwrite, try typing. If you normally do a mixture of both… Well, try interpretative dance because I can’t currently think of another solution for you!
I mean, that’s what works for me; it may not work for everyone. Other things I’ve read about that sometimes work are:
~ using a list of themes or prompts, or writing exercises to kick start the imagination.
~ setting a writing schedule.
~ set (and keep) writing deadlines.
~ tidying the area where you write.
~ work on more than one thing at once and switch when you feel blocked in one. When you come back to it you’ll be able to look at it with fresh eyes and a slightly clearer mind.
~ taking a break.
Yes, that’s right. Take a break. Take a break between projects; hell, just take a break and get away from the page or the screen. Go to the kitchen and get a glass of water; chances are an idea will bite you when you’re halfway to the kitchen. Go for a walk (don’t forget a notebook!), or even take a bath or shower, or even a nap. Just remember to have something nearby you can jot things down on.
Sometimes. Even just talking about writing (or opens and notebooks, but maybe that’s just me) can free up a block. Bounce some ideas around with a like-minded friend, post on some forums, hey, even just read some forums (the NaNoWriMo forums are pretty good with lots of advice, ideas and so on. The people there are good at offering support too.) Oh, and here’s a fun little website I found while using Google to help me with this post.
Those are the only solutions I really know of, and most of them work for me so I hope that they either help anyone reading this or they inspire someone to find their own method of dealing with writer’s block.
Of course, if you have your own method, feel free to leave a comment below, but please, this post is not about whether or not writer’s block exists; that’s another argument for another time. Maybe.
Anyway, that’s all I have to say on this matter really. Do feel free to leave a comment, and I’ll see you next week!
Word count: 755 words
Currently reading: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – J.K. Rowling (page 206)
Days until NaNoWriMo: 5 days.