Finding Inspiration with Writer's Block.
by Denise Nicole
Whether you write romance, mystery, fantasy, sci-fi, or any other genre, one thing all writers are sure to have in common is the dreaded writer’s block.
Why can’t I think of what comes next? What do I name this character, city, or magical element? How do I get from the beginning to the end? What even is the plot of this story?
These are some nagging questions that may come to mind while you draft a story.
Writer’s block is all too common, but there are ways you can overcome it and find the inspiration to keep going. While there is no one secret trick that can make it - poof! and go away - there are many things you can try.
Read on for some methods I find helpful to overcome writer’s block and see which may allow you to gain a new outlook on your own story.
Stay active while engaging in a non-writing activity.
One of the most common times I come up with new ideas for my writing is when I go for a run. If you enjoy exercise (or don’t enjoy it, but do it anyway), this is a great way to get your body moving and release any stress from writer’s block. Go outside if you can and get a breath of fresh air. I find engaging with nature is an amazing way to bring about a new perspective on any issue I am tackling, including writing.
Find inspiration from other creators.
Whether it’s reading someone else’s book, watching a movie or television show, or listening to music, consuming other stories and media is a great way to find new and interesting ideas to incorporate into your own work. Imagine what would happen if your characters went through a similar situation from the book you’re reading or if you imported them into the world of the movie you just watched. Have fun with some new ideas to learn more about your character’s personalities and who they are.
Work on other writing.
While it is beneficial to do something different to clear your mind, if you still find yourself stumped with your current writing project, try working on a different story or allowing yourself time to journal. This can help keep your mind in that active and creative space while still making progress on writing. You may even find inspiration from yourself.
Question if your story is headed in the right direction.
This can be hard, but if you find you cannot get past a certain point of your story, it is worth considering. Maybe the reason you have nowhere left to go is because you made a wrong turn somewhere. Maybe the reason you feel stuck is that you chose a way to move your story forward that does not suit it or its characters. Re-evaluate where your story is going and if you are still focused on getting from Point A to Point B. Did you take an unnecessary detour that doesn’t serve your plot or advance the story? Refocus and remember what you are trying to accomplish to help get yourself back on track.
Ask for help.
Sometimes we are too close to our own writing to determine what else we can do with it. The fresh perspective from another person or two can be invaluable and help you see things you never thought of before. Ask a friend or a critique partner for their opinion on what you are stuck on with your writing. You may take or leave anyone else’s thoughts, but at least they can help you see things in a different light and may even guide you to where you want to go.
Take a break.
This may seem like the last thing you want to do when you’re trying to reach a certain word count, or even worse, a deadline. However, it may just be the most important thing you can do. Close your notebook or computer and find something relaxing to do that you enjoy and can ease your mind. Writing is tough work and your brain needs rest, just like the rest of your body. An overworked mind will not help you solve any issues you are having, so take a breather and do something relaxing or go to sleep. Whatever you find enjoyable can help lift your mood and clear your mind.
Remember why you love to write.
If you have trouble moving forward with your story because of self-doubt, take the time to push that negative energy aside. If you love to write, you are a writer. Nobody can tell your story the way you can, and that is why you should tell it. Don’t get caught up in comparisons with anyone else. Every writer has their own experiences, perspectives, and strengths that make them unique. Focus on your love of writing and the joy it brings you.
While the doctors have yet to find a cure for writer’s block, there are things you can do to help find a bit of inspiration when your mind is stuck.
The tips above are all ones that I have used to help me out of a writing slump and give my brain a refresh. Try a few or try them all and see what works for you. You may find just what you need to overcome your blocked mind and feel inspired to write again.
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