So you’re writing your book. Things are going well and you’re feeling like you’ve really hit your stride. Every day you smash another goal and it won’t be long before your book is finished, right?
Writer’s block can sniff out a writer in their groove from a mile away and it will go in for the kill faster than George R.R. Martin going after his characters. It’s the bane of all writer’s existence, that silent stalker looking to snuff out any productivity! An overdramatic view of writer’s block? Maybe, but I am a writer myself.
So what can a writer do to kick the dreaded writer’s block to the curb? As with anything, the solutions will be as unique as the individual writer. Still, here are my top five ways of busting through writer’s block and getting back on track.
1. Take a walk
It’s the simplest thing, but it can make the biggest difference. Sometimes the best thing you can do for your writing is to walk away from it. Shut your laptop, get up from your desk, and get outside. Whether it’s a full-scale hike or a little stroll around your neighborhood, just get outside. Besides the obvious health benefits of moving outside and getting some fresh air, taking a walk is an amazing way to put some distance between yourself and the writer’s block.
Often on these walks, I find my mind wandering away from what’s not working in my book and finding its way back to why I started writing it in the first place. Once I’m there, it’s easy to get back in the groove of my creativity and get back to my writing project. Plus, it helps me take a breather from any frustration the writer’s block might be bringing.
2. Do a little music exercise
One tactic I have for busting writer’s block involves just a simple little exercise I use to jumpstart some creativity. Set your most imaginative music (whatever music that might be) on shuffle and get ready to write. When the music begins, start typing or scribbling the first scene that comes to mind. Don’t stop to think about the mechanics of anything. Don’t even pause to name anyone, just make the whole thing pure reaction. Write whatever you're imagining in your head in real time. And when the song changes? Start again on the new song with an entirely new scene.
The purpose of this is to get you writing from pure instinct and not overthinking the process. For me, writer’s block very often stems from me overthinking what I’m doing. Mechanics and technique of writing are important, but it’s always good to remember that you know what to do deep down.
3. Ask people for prompts
My family can vouch for me. I’ve definitely done this in the past. Text some people who won’t be phased by your desperate writer self and ask them for something to write about. It doesn’t have to be specific, just something that puts you outside of where you’ve been thinking.
If you don’t have anyone you can ask for prompts, don’t worry. The internet’s always there to help. Pinterest is a fantastic place to find writing prompts. Honestly, you can almost get overwhelmed with the number of ideas you can find there. Do a little searching and find a prompt that gets your creative juices flowing. Bonus points if it’s a prompt that can be closely related to your current writing project.
4. Reread a favorite book
Sometimes the best thing you can do is get back to the source of why you became a writer in the first place. Writers make strange readers because we are often picking apart the language of the book at the same time we are enjoying the story. Getting back into a really good book that made you want to be a writer in the first place might just be the ticket to get you over the hump of your writer’s block.
I particularly like rereading the books in my genre or that are targeted towards the same age range that I write for. Diving into books like How to Train Your Dragon, Narnia, The Hobbit, and others not only refuel my joy for storytelling but also get me considering new angles of voice, style, pace, dialogue, you name it! The more I think outside the box, the more ready I feel to come back and tackle my work.
5. Work on multiple projects
This is my absolute fail-safe option for writer’s block. I actually like to have around three books I’m writing at the same time. I do this because I know myself as a writer and know how easily the writer’s block comes to me or how easily distracted I am. Know thyself right?
So I write multiple books at once. If I get bogged down in one book, I have the option to switch to another project. In those moments when I can’t get Acorn to talk to me, I just plunge into another book and see if I can’t get my creative spark flowing there. I still can meet my word count goals and I get to shake things up just enough to keep myself from completely succumbing to writer’s block. Everyone wins! Well, maybe not writer’s block…
As writers, we can’t guarantee that we’ll always be operating at a hundred percent, but that’s not the point. Writers learn in their work that inspiration is only a tiny bonus compared to the effort of regularly dedicating themselves to their craft. And don’t worry, no bout of writer’s block lasts forever!
Let’s find some joy,