Hello AdmFam and Visitors!😊
Lately, I have been thinking about the familiar question "How do you get over writer's block?" Which I am henceforth coining the 'Big WB' on the website. Haha. So, today, I thought I'd share four things (five is just a bonus) that may help you now or in the future.
First, I should tell you that I have never really had problems with writer's block. I have had times where I have been so stressed or emotionally distraught that I have not gotten out of bed to write. I have had times where I was so depressed I couldn't dream of picking up a pen. I have even sat crying, frustrated and hopeless because of my work. Most notably when, only months ago, I lost my manuscript for Book 2 of The Crystal Key Book Series because my SD card deleted all of my files. I cried for a week straight and it took many months for me to start over.
No matter if you are a current author/writer, are just interested in testing the waters, are an aspiring writer with no real idea where to start, let alone even how to get the floods going, today's blog post may be for you. If nothing else, you may simply enjoy yourself. I see nothing but positives here.
The four things that have helped me avoid writer's block and even get back on my feet after losing everything from book two's manuscript, to every future book cover (which were recreated in the last month or two) were the following.
1. Let Yourself Feel Everything You are Harboring. 2. REST. 3. Write Anything/Everything. 4. Make Use of Writing Prompts. 5. Work On Two Different Projects.
Number one sounds simple enough, but this can sometimes be a very complicated step. Letting yourself feel everything you are trying to keep in check is imperative to moving forward. Be it life in general, or writing. You need to acknowledge your stress, your anger, your disappointments, your sadness and every other feeling whirling around inside you. Ignoring these things do not help. In fact, they can be one of the biggest hurdles to your work/progress. This is often a very exhausting process, mind you. Which brings us to number two.
After releasing all that energy and letting yourself think all of those thoughts you push to the back of your mind, after you have allowed yourself the freedom to feel anything and everything within you, resting will make all the difference. How much rest you require is going to depend on just how much you have kept locked away, and how easily you can process the emotions and thoughts you have had. There is no right or wrong.
This is a step to take your time in. Turn over all your leaves, brush your hands over the petals and flowers blooming in your mind. Some of these will have uncomfortable, prickly thorns. Others will have soft textures and sweet smells you've long forgotten.
Do Not set a timetable for your healing. 9/10 you will be sifting through rows of greenery. Memories, hatred, love, moments of lost passion, moments of warmth and growth, regrets and wishes. All of these are valid. Even if they aren't about writing. All of these things need to be inspected and prodded.
If you rush through this, you will find yourself staring number one right back in the face, needing to start again. It doesn't matter if this takes you a week, a month or several. When you feel the fog lifting, treat yourself to your favorite things. Re-live your favorite moments. Whatever makes you happy. Just relax and find your center.
Having found your center, write. Think of this as letting yourself feel, part 2. Take a sheet of paper (or several), grab a pen and write. Anything. A word. A few words. Sentences. Paragraphs. These things don't have to make any sense. They don't have to be related. They can contain any amount of errors. Don't think about making your thoughts linear. Don't try to center your thoughts on a specific subject or place. Don't cross anything out. Just let your randomized jumble of words fly freely across the paper.
You may find that you wrote sentences you'd never say or seemingly meaningless things. Continue this until you don't have anything else to write. Until you find a moment of emptiness and yet, relief. Now, save it. Both the feeling and your free-write.--we will come back to it later.
The next thing you want to do is make use of writing prompts. You could probably find a bunch on the internet, but I will provide a few off the top of my head for your convenience. I will likely post more of them to the website just for fun at a later date. However, I can make no promises about the subject.
Spontaneous writing prompts are the best writing prompts. Aside from online searches and looking on the website, you have another option. Recall that I told you to save your free-write? Well, this is when you can use it. Circle a bunch of words, phases, parts of sentences, anything really. Make them into a sentence even if it is ridiculous. Even if you have to add or take away something to form them. Feel free to mix and match them however you'd like. You can write prompts a sentence long or a paragraph. However you feel in the moment is fine.
Say for example, cat, hate, purple, staff, sky, and hurricane were some of the words you circled (how many you use is all up to you). These words are pretty random, right? But now you can make this into some sort of writing prompt. Here are a few off the top of my head. Remember that you can add or take away anything you'd like. The point is to make coherent sentences to inspire ideas.
A. An unusual and hateful cat goes out to find its favorite purple collar when it witnesses the neighborhood pets disappear into a hurricane.
B. Cat-a young woman whose family has a history of weak magic-had no idea how her life would change the night the sky turned purple and a mysterious legendary staff appeared before her. Beckoned by mystery and the promise of an adventure that would strengthen her family's magic, Cat decided to let the staff lead the way to the windy world of Hurricane.
C. Running away from home was the last thing Sky intended to do, but now, Skylar was looking to the sky. With the help of unlikely allies and through unforeseen danger, Sky would brave the world outside the torturous walls of their withered purple house. A world beyond their parents' abuse.
D. My Cat Saved My Life: A True Story of Hate, Resilience, Change, and a Support Animal.
E. Staffs and Rituals: The How's and Whys of Staffs Through History.
Aside from utilizing writing prompts, I have found something else that helps deter writer's block: working on two different writing projects. Writing two stories, in my case, has been a great fifth option. Which can easily be used in conjunction with free-writing and writing prompts because you can make use of those ideas (although you can always save them for later too). I am generally working on two stories at once, so I can tell you that this usually works. Mind you, these two projects should be completely unrelated to each other.
If story A is giving me some frustration because I can't remember something or I am stuck at the end of a chapter, I save my work and pull up story B. That way, my focus shifts to another project and I'm being productive all at once. It may help you to have a small labeled notebook with notes for each story at the ready. Especially if you get easily confused or worry about mixing details between projects.
Anyhow, so there you have it. Those are some of my best tips for getting through rough patches and/or writer's block. As a treat, here are some bonus writing prompts for you.
Write about a...
- Elderly woman in an apocalyptic world.
- Fallen star that signals the birth of a new era.
- Artist cursed with a pen that brings the opposite of what they write to life.
- Samurai, a talking dragon, and a leprechaun joining forces.
- Futuristic world that sells small bottles of joy for a price.
- Dream. Good? Bad? Creepy? Weird acid trip? All are welcome (although I hope none of us truly knows what that is like).
- Twist on your favorite film.
- Disappearing island.
- Legendary scrolls lost in time.