You are sitting at your desk, fumbling with your pen. Tapping your feet while you rack your brain for some marvelous idea for a story. You twist in your chair, switch butt cheeks and sigh once every minute. The clock ticks louder, and the neighbors’ conversations become clearer. Distractions. Writers Block. All enemies of our goal to finish a story. They sit there lurking behind your desk shadows waiting for the perfect moment to infiltrate your pen or keyboard and then into your head. Annoying little buggers.
The frustrations of being a writer come like cloudy days in the winter. More often you are stuck somehow, wondering what do do next. The lack of creative juices that you thought your brain produced naturally, no longer pours. You then wonder…”Damn, how did Faulkner or [insert favorite writer here] do it?
As I have discovered in my beginners prose class last year, all writers are interconnected in their frustrations. We are all on a rocking ship of blank ideas or rainy distractions.
So what do you do? My prose teacher suggests always free writing for fifteen minutes everyday and/or every time you are stuck.
Others turn to technology as their writing guru to spur them into a direction of answers by using web sites that suggest writing prompts, priced software, or online journals.
Some have the journalistic ear and listen for great story ideas.
I am not in the slightest bit an experienced and published pro writer. I am of course an amateur finding my weapon of light to guide me to success. Too dramatic? Sorry.
I do know that every writer must read. Reading always helps your creative processes.
So I did some research and heres what I found:Maartje van Hoorn
- Go for a walk (works, according to J.K. Rowling).
- Read other people’s work. It can inspire you.
- In case of a story writer’s block, RolePlay. It’s helpful to let other people share their creativity with you.
- Try to write on a different location. You might get ‘the vibe’ there. In the Zoo, for instance. Or in a cafe.
- If you have any drafts, edit these instead of trying to write something new.
- Write nonsense, it can trigger your imagination and spur your creativity.
- Look around you, you might pick up a good idea by just looking around. Just sit, for ten minutes, and take in your environment.
- Do something else. Really, can’t get over your block? Do something else for a while. For me, doing other creative things, like drawing, helps.
- Ask others how they get over theirs. You might learn a new method.
- Go in denial. You do not have a writer’s block. Writer’s block doesn’t exist. It’s just a blockade you’ve put upon yourself because you’ve got nothing better to do. You do not have a writer’s block!
Here are some other tips:
Using Objects to Cure Writer’s Block
Collect ten random objects on a tray and cover them with a cloth. Then choose one without looking. Now write 100 words describing this item. Here is a brief example using a thumb tack:
- The tack lay on the table, a miniature umbrella with a brightly colored top of vibrant red. The underneath was dull brass with tiny striations circling the pin. The point was sharp and tiny shards of plaster clung to it. Maybe it had tumbled down from the ceiling.
Magazine Characters can Help with Writer’s Block
Cut out an assortment of photos that show a cross section of people. Include both sexes, different ages and races and different economic groups. Then choose one and write a complete profile underneath. Here are some of the points to remember:
Atmosphere in Television Shows
Choose a favorite television show and describe the atmosphere in any given scene. Look for things like tension and suspense as a person ascends the financial ladder on Who wants to be a Millionaire, or recreate the utter weariness and desperate hunger of a contestant in Survivor. This is an ideal way to bypass writer’s block.
Describe a Natural Disaster to Help with Writer’s Block
Place a character in a normal setting such as on a bus to work or washing dishes in the kitchen. Then introduce an unexpected earthquake or volcano and tell the story of the character’s immediate reaction.
Convert a Newspaper Article to get Thoughts Flowing
Choose a newspaper story and change it from past tense to present. Try substituting different verbs and adjectives as well and see if the meaning is retained. Building on another person’s work often helps to banish writer’s block
Write a Tongue Twister can Cure Writer’s Block
This is a fun way to get words flowing. Make the tongue twister one sentence long and try and start most of the words with the same letter. Here are a couple of examples:
- Susie Slug slithered silently, sulking sourly
- Timmy Turtle trudged tiredly on tarred tracks
Then laugh while repeating them fast and watch writer’s block disappear.
Describe a Terrifying scene
Imagine being on an airplane on a routine commuter flight. Without any warning, there is a loud bang and flames shoot from the right engine. Describe the emotions, physical manifestations and levels of fear as the pilots battle to land the aircraft.
Brainstorm Weather Words to Help with Creative Writing
Take a large page and write weather words inside circles. Then surround them with words that expand and add to their meaning. Here are some starter ideas.
These prompts are simple and easy to do but can trigger fresh ideas and overcome writer’s block. The secret is in stretching the mind and causing it to think in new patterns and look at life in a different manner.