Beat Writer’s Block
No matter how much you enjoy writing, there’s bound to be a time when you struggle to write. When you have too much to do and a blank page stares back at you, how do you start to fill it?
Here are 10 tips and tricks to help you beat writer’s block
1. Change style. Trying something new will keep your skills fresh. If you write novels, consider writing for a magazine or newspaper. If you write horrors then try romance. You don’t have to show anybody these experiments and you may find that you have hidden talents that might provide an extra income.
2. Open a newspaper or magazine. Without reading the associated story, select a picture; use it to inspire a piece of writing.
3. If you’re writing for publication, the final outcome needs to be much different than if you’re writing for yourself. Stop worrying about readers, markets and publishers for a while; fill a page with something you want to write. A letter to a friend, a story for your children. Many writers keep blogs for this reason. Blogs act as a space to vent, work out issues, share thoughts and swap information.
4. Play the ‘what if’ game. Begin with one central “what if” and expand it. You can create complete stories using this method. What if your teenage son woke up to find he’d turned into a girl? What if you didn’t notice? What if he still went to school? What if he got into trouble?
5. Minimise background distractions. Aside from ringing phones and arguing kids, this can also mean the household jobs only you seem to notice. If you can, rope in family members to help with basic chores. (Surely Dad can cook dinner, or call the nearest takeaway once a week?) Getting these tasks done will stop you feeling guilty and allow you to focus.
6. Spend time rewriting your favourite fairytale. Choose a different point of view, or change the genre. This gives you the chance to let your playful side out, which is especially useful if you’re struggling with a demanding project.
7. Get away. Whilst a holiday isn’t always an option, a change of scenery can recharge your batteries. Take a journey to a gallery, library or a coffee shop. J K Rowling wrote the early Harry Potter books in a café. Provided you purchase something, most businesses don’t mind if you occupy a table and write for a while.
8. Close your eyes, open a dictionary at a random page and stab it with your finger. Look at the word you’ve chosen and its definition, then write. Try to incorporate the word and meaning into your work.
9. You set aside time in your diary for visits to the gym and shopping, so set aside time to write. Setting a definite time each week, when you’re ‘off limits,’ can provide a productive routine. It will also give friends and family a hint that writing is more than just a hobby.
10. Daydream. Whilst you finish off the housework or walk the dog, let your mind wander. Think about your project and answer any questions that arise. Even if you’re not the kind of writer who outlines everything in great detail, if you start with a fully fledged idea you’re more likely to reach the end.
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