Is there anything worse than staring at a blank sheet of paper (or a blank Word document if that’s more your thing) for seemingly hours on end? I don’t think so. Now, I’m far from a professional writer, but I have had my share of writer’s block. Whether it’s finding a way to continue a story or even finding a way to begin one, we’ve all been there. Here are some of my tried and true ways to keep the words flowing.
-Music. Hope Ramsay recently wrote a guest post about the soundtrack for her latest novel, which you can check out here. I’m a huge fan of using my iPod when I write as well. Whenever I’m stuck I turn to a particular genre or artist for inspiration. Right now I’m working on a story about the breakdown of a relationship, and whenever I hit a wall I turn on a soulful ballad to help things along.
-Research. I recently had trouble completing a story about an alcoholic (uplifting!). So, I turned to my trusty friend Wikipedia. The in-depth articles gave me more insight into the disease, and really helped me bring my character—and story—to life.
-Change of scenery. There’s nothing like a quick walk around the block or trip to the grocery store to get my creative juices flowing. People-watching, or just observing different surroundings, really helps to get my mind off what I’m writing. Easing some of the stress I feel working under a deadline allows me to come back to the piece with fresh eyes.
-Get a second opinion. I’m lucky to have a friend who is always willing to take a look at my writing when I’m struggling. If I send my story off to her, she’ll give me great notes on my characters or plot and what I could change or think about. Most of the time I completely disregard her advice, but railing against her comments always helps me find my own vision.
-Just write. If all else fails, I write down anything and everything that comes to mind. I don’t set limits, and I allow myself to completely overwrite and go wild. When I go back to trim everything down I usually find that most of it is actually usable! It’s almost as good as discovering a 20 in your pocket.
These are just a few of the techniques that work for me, but I’m sure there are plenty of other great ideas out there. What are some of your methods of beating writer’s block?