It’s the bane of every writer, and it has taken the lives of countless books throughout history. Writer’s Block. That dreaded foe we, as writers, must face in our daily storytelling pursuits.
However, we must not face this beast alone. I’ve compiled a list of my best strategies for when writer’s block threatens to crush my motivation, and I hope they will be some help for you, as well.
Get Rid of Distractions
This, by far, is the biggest influence for me to beat writer’s block. I’ve found that when I am in my deepest funks, I tend to scroll through Facebook or turn on the newest show on Netflix that I’ve been watching (Longmire, for those who are curious). Usually giving myself the excuse that I don’t feel in the mood for writing, I fill my writing time with anything but.
This, in the long run, only hurts my writing habits, and it will hurt yours as well. What you need to do is turn off the TV, close Facebook, and maybe keep your phone in a different room and on silent. Do anything you can so that your sole focus can be on writing.
Something that I’ve found that really helps me is a program called “Write or Die.” My favorite version of this has been the kamikaze version, where I set a timer for fifteen minutes. If in those fifteen minutes I stop writing for longer than a few seconds, the program will begin to delete the vowels in my words one at a time until I begin writing again. It’s good for me to get words on a page that I can then go back and edit later.
Take a Break
Now, maybe you have tried eliminating all distractions as much as you possibly can and still cannot get those words on the page. Maybe there is a plot hole you just can’t get around, or a character is being difficult. You’ve sat at your computer or stared at your notebook for hours and simply don’t know what to do.
Take a break.
This allows you to relax your mind and come back to your work with a clear head. The length of your break depends on you, but I recommend at least a day or two.
Go For a Walk
This is one of my favorites. There is a forest trail in the city I live in that is perfect for inspirational walks. It’s quite, shaded, and a light breeze always seems to gently blow through the trees. I’ve been able to work out many plot holes and scene difficulties while walking under the trees, letting my creativity run as it pleases.
However, walking through a park or taking a nighttime stroll are also incredibly relaxing and mind-freeing. If you’ve never just taken a walk alone to clear your mind and try to beat writer’s block, I highly recommend it. When you do, though, be sure to either leave your phone at home or keep it in your bag on silent. You don’t want any distractions.
Read a Book
What? Are you telling me that writers must read every now and then? But that’s crazy!
Actually, it’s not! How does one get better at writing? Well, writing of course, but also through reading works of other authors! There is something about getting lost in another’s story that can give you inspiration for yours.
Not only this, but it allows your mind to drift off to another world outside of your own book’s, letting it get its much-deserved break.
Listen to Music
This is one of my top three go-to’s to beat writer’s block. So much so that I have full playlists for all of my novels, ranging from instrumental music to vocal soundtracks. All of the songs characterize a particular novel in some way, whether it’d the instruments used, the beat of the music, or the words.
When I put on a playlist, say for my pirate series that I am currently working on, for example, the sound of the swashbuckling tunes throws me head-first into my novel. Songs such as “This Ship is Going Down” by Tommee Profitt reel me into my scenes that I have planned or am in the middle of writing.
There’s nothing like it, to me. When I listen to my novel playlists, I can see the scenes playing out in my mind. Sometimes a song will inspire a new scene, or put a twist on one that I thought I already had planned.
Either way, one thing is the same. The music makes me want to just write.
Play a Game
This one kind of goes along the same lines as reading. Playing a game, whether it’s a board game, video game, or roleplaying game like Dungeons and Dragons, allows you to immerse yourself in a different world. You are able to take a break from your work and be invested in someone else’s.
This can help to give you inspiration for your own work in progress, or it simply allows your mind to relax and enjoy some fun for a little while before going back and tackling whatever’s got you in writer’s block.
Besides this list, there are numerous other things that you can do to fight off writer’s block. I’m curious what some of your techniques are! Leave them in the comments below to help me and other writers defeat the monster that is writer’s block.