We've all heard about it, some of us are unfortunate enough to have experienced it for ourselves, but how often do we talk about ways to break through it?
The dreaded writer's block is the product of nightmares for writers the world over and we all have our own unique ways of trying to conquer it. So, after a week of mindlessly staring at a blank computer screen, I decided enough was enough.
If, like me, you are losing in your battle against WB, read on for some useful tips that have helped me in the past when I thought my creativity was impossible to bring back.
1. Walk Away
Stop fighting it. Staring at an empty page in frustration doesn't help anyone. The more annoyed you become with yourself, the heavier the brain fog will become. Removing yourself from the story, the characters and the computer, gives your brain time to recharge and focus on something else. Go for a walk, have a bite to eat or take a long soak in the bath. Once you feel as though you have completely relaxed and recharged, return to the laptop with fresh eyes. Sometimes, you just need a break in order to look at things from a new perspective.
2. Jump Forward
Hit that enter key and take yourself to a different segment of the storyline. Developing future parts of the narrative can sometimes give you the answer that you're looking for. Don't be afraid of using a non-linear method of writing. Not everything has to happen in chronological order. Break the rules and write your work backwards. If it helps you to overcome a sticky point in the plot, who cares?
If you feel as though you have explored every possible avenue and still can't break past the brick wall, speak up and ask others for their input. Just hearing what your friends, family, or other writers would do with your characters can sometimes be enough to get your own ideas flowing again. Of course, you don't have to take their advice, but their words might just be enough to trigger your own flow.
4. Make a List
This is one of my favourite methods in dealing with writer's block. On those days where I feel ready for throwing my laptop out of the window, I grab a notepad and make a list of all the scenarios which I don't want to unfold. Throwing down the most outrageous ideas on paper not only makes me laugh, it also sends me back into writer mode. Using your imagination to create outlandish and unbelievable scenes, tunes in your mental clarity and brings back the focus you need to work with your characters again.
5. Don't Sweat It
As important and crucial as our writing is to us, don't beat yourself up if you find yourself struggling with a particular part of the manuscript. It's no secret that writing isn't easy, but the water can't flow until the faucet is turned on. If you are stressed, annoyed or anxiety-ridden with your temporary lack of creative flow, the chances are it will show in your writing. A successful writing day doesn't necessarily mean thousands of words on the page. Sometimes, it can be as simple as pushing past a plot hurdle that yesterday seemed impossible. Just keep calm, keep smiling and most importantly, keep on writing!
So, there you have it. My five top tips for conquering writer's block. I hope you find these useful and if you have any other hints or tips that have worked for you, please feel free to share them below.