I’m nearing completion of my first novel which has been a wonderful journey full of ups and downs. Having had to learn the craft of writing along the way I have used many different tools and resources to help me including writer blogs , tips and lessons. One of the main subjects I often stumble across during my research is the subject of writers block, those 2 little words that every author fears.
My own personal opinion is that writers block cannot be overcome by standard identified actions alone, it has to be unique to the writer and will differ from writer to writer. With that in mind I want to share what has worked for me in the hope that may help someone just starting out.
Writers block is not to feared it just needs to be overcome.
Re read your notes and research material. Is there anything that could trigger you to start up again.
Re read your previous chapter – For me this got me back into the feel of the story and my mind was ready to race over the finish line into the next chapter.
Go for a walk, blow the cobwebs away and let your mind run free. Do not be afraid to push the boundaries with your thoughts. It only needs one idea or moment of inspiration to make you want to turn around and race back to your manuscript. When your out walking take only your phone or tablet with you. You need to immediately record anything that might help. Record it on notes or voice recorder and email it back to yourself so it is sitting waiting ready upon your return.
Watch a movie or read a book on a similar genre to your story and look for prompts or ideas. By this I don’t mean for you to plagiarize. There is so much stuff out there that could easily be reworked, twisted around or adapted to suit your stories development.
Work with a story planner. I set up my story planner on PowerPoint which breaks down each chapter identifying key points and that I plan to achieve per chapter. Do this for your whole story. Revisiting this everyday and updating the planner has helped me loads.
You will know your story off by heart in your head and hopefully you will have a detailed story planner, the chances are you will have an idea on how other chapters start or how certain scenes later in the book will unfold. Write them down. Writing is writing and don’t be afraid to write out of sync.
Do not allow yourself get stalled at the beginning of the chapter, Sitting for hours and hours is just dead time, if you know the end of the chapter then write it down and come back to the start later.
When completing your target for the day, go beyond this and write one or two sentences or paragraphs into the next paragraph / chapter so that you can pick up the story straight away the next day.
Really really stuck, then leave it! work on a short story, a writing competition entry, prepare the elevator pitch for your next story. This is all writing and before long your confidence in your ability as a writer will return.
If all else fails. Save everything. Turn off your laptop, Drink a bottle of wine (for starters) and dance naked around the house. Writers block may still be there in the morning or it may not, either way you will have let of some steam.
I hope this helps. Like I said this is what works for me. There loads of interesting articles out their so don’t be afraid if you encounter writers block – We all do. Why should you be any different 🙂
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Thanks and Take Care