Writing Advice

What to Do When You Have Writer’s Block

It happens. It’s that mental wall that leaves you with a blank Microsoft Word page. It can be really frustrating when you just can’t seem to work out what happens next, what your upcoming sentence will be or you’re stuck in a plot hole so deep you don’t know how to get yourself out again. Here’s what to do when you’ve been hit with Writer’s Block.

  • Take a break.

Have a tea break love, you need a break away from your desk and away from your story. You need to take care of yourself and your health, so go for a walk and breathe in some fresh air. Your break can be for just a few hours and that might be enough to get your mind relaxed again and into a writing mode. It can be for a few weeks, where you put your story away and think about something completely different. You could start to work on a different story, or choose to learn something new. Then you can come back to your old story with a pair of fresh eyes, maybe this fresh perspective is what you need to break through the wall.

  • Review your plot. 

Sometimes, writer’s block might be an indication that you’ve taken a wrong turn in the story, that actually it’s not really working. It helps to go back and look at the overview of your story. You might find you’re forcing your characters into doing something that is completely out of character, or there’s a plot hole that’s sinking your story into the ground. In this situation, maybe a mind map can help you explore the different directions that your story could take.

  • Do something fun related to your story. 

Sometimes, you’ve been working on your story for so long, I mean re-write after re-write after re-write; you’ve read that same paragraph fives times, and you’ve tweaked that one sentence so much that you can lose the motivation to write. It’s not that hard to lose that spark that first got your fired up about a story idea.

  1. Make a powerpoint, a list or a private tumblr post with images or gifs of potential actors to play your characters.
  2. Start with a storyboard; and then use royalty free clips to make a book trailer or if it’s unofficial you can use short video clips to make a fan trailer.
  3. Compose some music to suit the theme of your characters/ make a writing playlist specific to your story – it helps with inspiration and motivation when you’re writing it. Pick songs for each character or imagine your story is being made into a TV series, what song would you have as your opening and end credits?
  4. Draw your characters.
  5. Map out your storyworld.

Basically you want to get immersed into your storyworld, and fall in love with your characters all over again. Casting your characters can help you think of your story from a different perspective: in terms of a movie – maybe you can see how the rest of the story will progress as a series of images in your head.

  • Find a Writing Buddy/Critique Partner

If you really can’t work your way through the block, maybe you need a fresh pair of eyes. A writing buddy can help you through this, but to make it an effective partnership you need to make sure you have similar interests and are writing in similar genres. This way, they’ll understand what you are trying to write, and it is easier to get along. You want to choose a writing buddy that is roughly at the same stage as you, so they can understand what you are going through. It can help to make a shared google docs folder, and within it create google documents that you can both edit. There you can add all of your concerns about your stories, the ideas for your stories and what direction you want it to go in. Your writing buddy can then add questions and comments to the document to help you along.

  • Find some inspiration

Sometimes writer’s block can happen because you’ve lost inspiration. You’re not sure where to go next with your story. Maybe this post can help you with your next plot development: 10 ways to get story ideas. And if all else fails, go outside and observe the world. Watch people interact with others, with their environment. Read books, watch movies with your friends, search images and artwork on websites like deviantArt. This will all help to stimulate your imagination.

Writer’s block happens to every writer at some point. But don’t let that stop you from writing, and don’t give up on your story so easily.  Chances are you just need a break, and hopefully these tips can help you through it. Good luck 🙂

-Elizabeth

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