Friday, April 1, 2011

Stuck in the Middle

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?



danielle spears said...

Nice post, Beverly. I find that sometimes taking a day or two or maybe even a week to either read a book or get in some much needed sleep usually amps me up. After this little break it's much easier to roll out of bed at 4:30 a.m. so I can squeeze in a couple hours of writing before work. I usually have someone's advice in my head that seventy percent of writing is dedication and pure determination. Not sure how accurate that is, but it's what got me to finish my novel!


I finally ordered Welcome to Last Chance and am awaiting its arrival.
I'm familiar with being stuck in the middle.
Most of the time it's me procrastinating.
Enjoy reading all the posts on this site. Thanks!