Many of us talk about becoming writers, but when we finally have the time and we’re still stuck, will we have what it takes to go beyond the dread writer’s block? Here are 30 tips to help you. Good luck!
When you have a problem with your story:
- Handwrite the scene you are working through. Do this for at least one day.
- Go to a public place and watch people. Describe what they do and say. Try to find a way to use their body language, and the sights, noises, and odours around you in your own story.
- Change the setting in your story. You may want to change it back later, but for the purpose of the exercise, move the characters into another location.
- Introduce a new character who watches your main characters. Describe the scene you are writing from that new character’s viewpoint. This should give you a different perspective on the problem.
- Begin with a twist. Use your daily writing prompt to start a scene in your story.
- Change the timeline. Make the scene you are busy with an epilogue or a prologue or the beginning or ending of the story.
- Question your character. Ask your character if his or her bucket list has changed since you began writing the story. If it has, rewrite it. If it has not, perhaps it should.
- Write from another character’s perspective. If you have been telling the story through the protagonist’s viewpoint, write a scene through the eyes of the antagonist’s sidekick.
- Flip your character. Make your character behave out of character. If your heroine is brave, make her back away. What happens when she does this?
- List the good things. Ask your character to list the five things he or she is grateful for right now. If you do not know, you may need to spend more time with your character.
- Change tenses. If you’re writing in present tense, switch to past tense and vice versa. Do this for an entire scene. You may find that it gives you ideas for what to leave in and what to exclude.
- Research something that interests a character in your story – even if you’re not interested in it. List five things you could use in the story as a result of this research.
- Add multimedia to your story. Allow your character to use tweets, emails, and texts to give your story texture.
- What if? How can you make things infinitely worse or better for your protagonist at this moment? Is it something you could use?
- Stay in the moment. Make sure you won’t be disturbed. Get inside your character’s skin and write the scene moment-by-moment, breath by breath.
When you are the problem:
- Make time to write. A daily schedule is essential for success. You may find the daily word counts of these famous authors inspirational.
- Clear your mind. Take time to do a manual repetitive task that does not involve any machines or technology – and that has nothing to do with writing. Knitting, colouring in, doing the dishes, and walking can empty your mind of nonsense and allow ideas to filter through.
- Make a list of your usual distractions. Do you check your phone? Do you obsessively feel the need to check if you have enough groceries for the week? Write it down. Being aware of it will help you stop doing it. Get any distractions out of your system before you sit down to write.
- Schedule regular breaks. Work for 50 minutes, and stop for 10 minutes.
- Reward yourself for sticking to your schedule. When you finish a chapter, take the afternoon off to visit an old bookshop and wallow in the shelves. Use chocolate, coffee, whatever motivates you.
- Do the things you don’t want to do, but have to do, such as cleaning, cooking, and walking the dog, first – before you sit down to write.
- Claim your space. Make a list of the top three important things you need to do to write every day. Do you need a quiet or a noisy space?
- Move. Regular movement keeps us healthy and alert. When you take a break, go outside or do some exercises.
- Change it up. Try to write a paragraph where you change sentence lengths. Sometimes using structure can help us to become more creative.
- Write about how you don’t feel like writing. This is an excellent way to find out what’s really going on with you and with your story.
- Pay attention. The magic of storytelling is in the details. Live your life paying attention to everything you see, hear, smell, taste, and touch. Observe human interactions and then write it down.
- Try reading a different genre. Read something in a genre you’ve never read before. Taking ourselves out of our comfort zones is good and doing it between the pages of a book is also safe.
- Try different music. Listen to music in a genre that makes you feel uncomfortable. Do the same with films and television shows. Write about why they make you uncomfortable.
- Look after yourself. Take a shower or have a bath. Don’t think about writing.
- Ask for help. Take a writing course. Join a writing group.
And remember you’re not alone. Watch 50 Movie Characters Who Suffered From Writer’s Block
I hope these tips help you to find your way. Happy writing!
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