Whether you’re trying to come up with a topic for your next blog post or you’re trying to figure out what comes next in the Lou Mason series, it’s inevitable that a writer will eventually struggle with a bout of writer’s block. Always frustrating and sometimes downright infuriating, writer’s block can be a sign that you’re burned out or that you’ve moved your story in the wrong direction – and your subconscious won’t let you move forward until you correct it. Luckily, there are several tricks for overcoming writer’s block on those days when the words just won’t seem to flow.
The first trick for overcoming writer’s block is to brainstorm. Grab a pencil and paper and write down everything your character could say or do next, create a list of topics about which you’d like to right, or come up with a bunch of scenarios for your newest plot twist. The pencil and paper (or computer) is important in the process. Not only will it help to see all your ideas listed in front of you, but sometimes the act of writing them will help you break through the “fear of the blank page” so that you can begin writing again.
Along the same lines, just write anything. Stop trying to write the perfect phrase or channel inspiration and write. Getting words down on paper – even if they’re terrible – will give you a starting place from which you can edit and revise until you’re moving in the right direction. If you can’t seem to describe that love scene in the midst of your crime fiction thriller, write the worst version of it that you can imagine, and then move on with the rest of your story. The rest of your story may help to inform that weak scene when you come back to it later – and it least it won’t be holding you back.
Talking out loud is also a great tip for overcoming writer’s block. Overcome the fear of putting pen to paper and use your words. Start your phone’s voice recorder or a cassette recorder and speak the dialogue from your mystery out loud, or describe the action scene in your suspense thriller in as much detail as possible. When you’re done, listen to your record and transcribe your ideas – or find an app that will convert your words to text for you. You’ll find that most of the hard work has been completed, and any additional writing should come more easily.
If your writer’s block is relatively new, indulge it. Sometimes, your ideas need to become more fully formed, or you need to stop thinking and let your subconscious find your solution. Take a walk or an exercise break, watch an engaging but undemanding TV show, or listen to music while you bake a cake. Giving your mind a rest may be just the ticket to unleashing your creativity.
The one true tip for overcoming writer’s block is to just push through and keep writing. Remember, your words aren’t set in stone – and it’s easy to make revisions and corrections in this modern era of computers and word docs. Just keep writing, and eventually, writer’s block give way to a great story.