Okay, so I thought it would be a good time to touch on every author’s most feared enemy (other than having their laptop break down). Writer’s block. This fearsome beast has been known to strike cold fear into the hearts of even the most experienced wordsmiths and can wreak utter havoc on both works in progress and those to be written. However, in the hopes of aiding you in slaying this dragon, I will now talk about a few things that I find are helpful in my own struggles.
- Take a break
Okay, so I know this can definitely sound trite, but sometimes you just have to take a rest. Put aside the story you are working on for a few days and work on something else – or even just don’t write at all. It’s easy to get started on a book and be filled with burning passion at the beginning, only to face burnout midway because you pushed too hard. Taking a break gives your brain space to breathe and time to re-orient so that it can begin coming up with new creative ideas. And, as a precautionary measure for future reference, it’s always a good idea to pace yourself. I’m not saying you shouldn’t have days when the golden light of inspiration is shining on you and you churn out thousands of words. Rather, embrace those days, but don’t try to make them happen every day. You aren’t a sprinter, you’re a distance runner, and you need to plan accordingly.
- Read a book
Usually about the time you get writer’s block, the last thing you want to be doing is reading someone else’s work. It feels like having your problem rubbed in your face while a smug-and-published author looks on. However, reading someone else’s work and simply taking the time to relax and enjoy it can lead to the spark you need for rekindling the flames. Sometimes reading another book, looking at another character, hearing a bit if dialogue can trigger the thought “Hey, what if…” And then you’re off. Now, to be clear, I’m not saying you should steal another author’s ideas or words but looking at how other people have done things can often provide a good personal reference. I myself have five authors in particular who have been very influential on my writing style, simply because I read them so much growing up and I write in the same genre. They’re my literary role models – my inspirations, and I think that’s a good thing for everyone to have. It’s kind of like having a mentor, except you never have to actually talk to them. Instead, you just pick up one of their books.
- Get someone else to look at it
There’s nothing for writer’s block like a fresh pair of eyes. Having someone else look at your work is like opening a window and letting a fresh breeze in – just make sure you ask someone who is going to give valuable input. Now, you might get some positives, you might get some negatives, but it’s always worth it. For one thing, it makes you get out of your own head and look at things with someone else’s eyes. For another, your friend might have some suggestions on where you could take the story – especially if they are another writer. Even if you don’t end up using the ideas, they still have the potential to inspire you with new directions to take the characters or plot.
Wrapping it up
In the end, there’s lots of ways to battle writer’s block and slay it for the monstrous dragon that it is. There are just three ways that I have found effective in my own experience. Sometimes I might listen to music, or watch a movie, or go on a walk. However, it’s not so much what you do and how you battle the beast, it’s that you don’t let it win. So, pick up your swords and go bravely to the battle, for, in the end, you will win this.