Tips and Tricks 5: Writers Block
Updated: Jun 21, 2022
How are ya'll doing this month?
As always, I hope the answer is great. Me? I'm as busy as ever because I'm-- you guessed it-- moving! And, of course, that means that I've got a lot of packing up to do, places to call, things to set up, etc. You know how it goes. But, all in all, I'm pretty excited to move into my new spot. It has amazing amenities, plenty of windows, and (the best part) it's all mine. Translation: no pesky roommates to clean up after.
That said, with all that's going on, I've been struggling with writer's block. So, I thought now was as good a time as any to talk about how to, well not conquer it, but manage it. So, let's hop right to it!
Approach #1: Find a Prompt
Whenever that nasty thing known as writer's block inches its way into my brain, the first thing I like to do is find a writing prompt. There are plenty of ways to do this, some of which include Tumblr, Instagram Writing pages, and any news on Twitter. At the risk of being repetitive, I think that--in terms of prompt generators--you should check out my other post, 3 Really Cool Ways to Write Your WIP where I go into detail on how to generate cool prompts that you hadn't thought of before. I still stand by The Story Engine Deck and Deck of Worlds (my copies are coming in October!), but you can also go with any of the other prompt generators that are listed there.
Approach #2: Do Nothing/Meditate
I'm not sure about you, but sometimes writing is just, well, too much. I have way too many other priorities that writing or just thinking about writing is exhausting. When that happens, I like to take a chill pill. Not just from writing, but from everything.
I know this might sound crazy, but sometimes for good ideas to come, we have to empty our minds. So, I like to detox by doing my other hobbies. Listening to audiobooks, watching TV, playing with my cat. All of these activities relax me and allow me to shut my mind off (at least, 90 percent of the time, the other 10 percent is me worrying about cleaning my apartment).
I also like to do yoga and listen to mindful meditation music and/or podcasts. My favorite is Yoga with Adriene. She has this really great video titled Yoga for Writers that just hits the spot. Not sure if it's for you? Check it out below and find out.
Approach #3: People Watch
Have you ever noticed that people are fascinating? Like, we do really weird stuff. From how we eat, to our nervous gestures, even how we interact with each other just makes me question what animals (or the beings in space that may or may not exist) think of us.
Anyways, I say this to point out that people-watching can show you a side of human nature that you'd never expect. And let me tell you, I've noticed things about people that I wish I hadn't, but they have made some interesting character traits and, by proxy, some good writing for me. So, I don't know, give it a whirl.
I also touch on people watching in my article 5 Ways to Create A Character, but the other tips in that article could apply to writer's block as well.
Approach #4: Discuss with Friends
When I'm really struggling with a specific scene or part of my WIP that I just can't crack, I like to talk to my writing friends. I either give them a synopsis of what's going on, or I let them read the section and ask for advice.
This, of course, works best if you already have a project you're working on, but you can also rely on your writing friends to have seen a prompt, or something else that made them think of you and the types of stories you like to write.
And, if you don't have any writing friends, then I suggest taking the time to try to make some. I was lucky that I found a couple during my graduate and undergraduate programs, but I've also made some at writing and anime conventions. There are also, of course, Twitter (which has the ENTIRE publishing community on it), Instagram, and Facebook groups.
Approach #5: Write, Write, Write
I'm sure this last piece of advice goes without saying (because it's pretty much at the end of most of my Tips and Tricks), but the best way to manage writer's block is to just write, write, and write. Even when you don't feel like it. Even when it feels like it's the hardest thing you can do. Even when you don't have time for it, you have to do it. You can't edit a blank page, but you can edit snippets of texts, thoughts you wrote freehand, and the ideas that you've been compiling but haven't gotten to (after all, writing down ideas is also part of the writing process).
If you're struggling with writer's block, I hope these tips can help you out the way they've helped me. If not, let me know in the comments how you deal with writer's block and I'll set up a follow-up post with a Q&A of what works and doesn't work for my readers.
In the meantime, check out my other Tips and Tricks, and let me know what you think!