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It’s happened to all of us. We can’t think of where to take the story next. We’ve written all we can on the subject, but we still don’t reach the page/word requirement. We’re experiencing an extreme lack of inspiration.
The dreaded writer’s block has returned, and who knows how long she’ll stick around for.
Well actually, we can’t just sit around and wait for her to leave. We’ve got deadlines to meet!… Or maybe we don’t. Either way, it’d be really nice to be able to write something competent again.
But how to get rid of her….hmmm, think think think…
Well, step one is to put your pen down or close your laptop. Can’t write? Don’t write.
Try any, all, or a combination of the following strategies for banishing writer’s block any time she decides to rear her ugly head! These fool-proof tricks are bound to get the wheels in your head turning again.
1.) Go outside.
Even if it’s rainy. Even if it’s cold. Or hot, or windy, or stormy. I mean, if there’s a tornado out there, than by all means, please stay indoors. But if the weather is anything but dangerous, go outside, take a walk, even if it’s just to the mailbox and back, and see what you notice.
Try to pick up on the things you might normally overlook. Really pay attention to the details- exactly what shade of green is the grass? When did that spider web on the mailbox get there? Do you know what kind of bird is making that chirping sound? Why not try to find out?
The point of doing this is to notice something new about your every day surroundings, and work on observing and describing what you think you already know in an interesting way.
Something new, something old, a classic, a fanfic- it really doesn’t matter. Get out of your own head for a little while and dive into someone else’s- notice how they write, their stylistic choices. How do they describe that scene? What makes this book great, or bad?
When it comes time to write again, think about what techniques you saw in other books that grabbed your attention or sealed the deal for you. Over this past winter, I read both of Rupi Kaur’s books Milk and Honey and The Sun and her Flowers. You can get them in a bundle here for cheaper than at Barnes and Nobles or Walmart. What I liked about Rupi’s writing is how the poems all varied in length, but some were very short, and still packed a very powerful punch. I used her example as inspiration for writing my own poems!
3.) Go somewhere new.
This idea is similar to #1 in the sense that it’s supposed to get your observational skills dusted off and working again. Even if it’s just to a different grocery store than you normally go to, try going somewhere new to people watch or experience something you haven’t yet. A park across town, the new Starbucks that just opened up down the road, the consignment shop you never noticed- Who knows, you could discover a new favorite writing/shopping/hangout spot!
4.) People watch.
Sure, it’s creepy to just sit in a mall food court and stare at people, but not if it’s for research! Bring a notebook and pen or your laptop, and just start writing about the faces that flash before you. Again, finding the extraordinary in the ordinary is a great tactic for coming up with fresh new ideas. Or perhaps you’d like to vividly describe how utterly boring and dull everything seems to be- it’s a writer’s world, everyone else is just living in it.
5.) Watch a show/movie/play you’ve never seen before.
The obsessive fangirl in me lovesss to watch new material because that’s where I get the majority of my inspiration from- the ideas of others! Of course, you can’t just copy someone else’s ideas, but try putting your own twist on a new story you love. There’s no limit to what you can do- change the genders of the characters, write from a feminist point of view, write about if you yourself were in that story (fanfic, amiright?)- just put a fresh spin on something that already seems fresh.
6.) Listen to an album in your least favorite genre.
Just because it’s not your cup of tea doesn’t mean it’s not awesome in it’s own way. What about this kind of music makes other people like it? Notice any patterns or repeated sounds/lyrical or instrujental trends? Open your mind to a new kind of music, and you could potentially open your mind to a new story idea. I find that exposing myself to things I don’t like stirs a lot of passion in me- you can think of this as me telling you to purposefully make yourself mad.
7.) Make other kinds of art.
Personally, I’m not exclusive to writing (although writing will always be my favorite). I like making all kinds of art- painting, clay sculpting, dancing, singing, jewelry making, photography- the list goes on. If you dabble in another creative area, try focusing some energy there. If you don’t, maybe now’s a good time to experiment!
8.) Clean your room.
If you’re a lowkey hoarder like me, chances are you’re gunna find something in your room from your childhood or from an ex-boyfriend and have a cleaning session turn into a crying session. Or, you’ll get distracted altogether and just start dancing to the music you put on to try to motivate yourself to clean. These are all good, viable options. If your room is clean, mess it up (this option also works as an amazing way to procrastinate writing).
9.) Play with animals.
Because who can be sad about being a failure in life when there’s cute dogs and cats that need cuddles? A universal mood-booster and amazing use of time is to play with animals. Don’t have any of your own? Borrow a friend’s (and just ‘forget’ to bring it back), go to a shelter or park. Worse case scenario: look up videos on Facebook or Youtube of adorable animals. That always makes me feel better.
How will this help your writing? It will take your mind off it so you stop thinking about it so much. Sometimes, you just need to leave it alone and come back to it later- so don’t worry so much. Pet some animals 🙂
10.) Read some blog posts by yours truly.
You know I had to, haha! But really, whenever I can’t think of any content to write, I look at what other bloggers are writing about and read their articles. So if you can’t write, see what other writers in your area/genre are up to. The internet is super cool because it brings people from all around the world with similar interests together- be it social media, forums, or blogs like this one. I’d love to chat about writing, or anything really, anytime with you guys!