Every writer will undoubtedly struggle with writer’s block throughout their career. It is something that we all face and I hope to help you through it, especially after just going through it myself. But is it really writer’s block that you are experiencing? Writer’s block is described as an inability to write, but that could be a side effect of something else that is easier to address, especially when it could be the root of the problem.
Have you lost your motivation? Have you lost your muse? Is your desire to write temporarily fading away? Has your creativity slipped through your fingers? Or, have you become too easily distracted? If any of the above are true, I hope to offer some winning methods to help you overcome your temporary lull of activity.
- Motivation – Are you having trouble taking the first step toward writing a new novel? Or are you having trouble staying motivated while writing? Do you find yourself thinking that your story is losing its luster? Did you get a bad review? Is the lengthy publishing process dragging you down? Did you receive one too many rejection letters? These are just a few of the reasons that could negatively affect the human condition and cause a loss of motivation. Fortunately, there are many ways to positively affect the human condition as well. Try talking about your novel and use peer pressure to your advantage. Once everyone knows you are writing, they’ll begin asking you about it. Don’t let them down (but more importantly, don’t let yourself down). I’ve found renewed enthusiasm every time someone asks me how it’s going, or if they can read my book yet.
- Finding your Muse – A muse is a source of inspiration for your creative work. You need to reflect on where you have received your inspiration before and revisit those things. I often find inspiration on hikes. Something about the fresh experience of being outside in the wilderness enables me to better describe my characters as they travel. Perhaps you can do something similar. Read a new book from your favorite author. Watch a movie that’s in your book’s genre. Or listen to music (this one works for me, but only when I listen to my type of music. The creativity doesn’t flow for me when my wife is in control of the car radio).
- Desire to Write – When it comes down to a priority list of what you want to do with your time and you find yourself constantly picking something else other than writing, I think you just need to do a little self reflection. Regarding breaking through writer’s block, in order to increase your desire to write, you should employ some old school motivation tactics. Post up goals all around your desk – on sticky-notes, on your calendar, etc. That way every time you sit at your desk, you are constantly reminded and bombarded by the goals that you had set for yourself. It should be a reminder of who you were at the moment you began your journey of writing your novel and that’s the person that you don’t want to let down.
- Creativity Slipping Away – This is the root of writer’s block. I’ve read a great article here http://bit.ly/Y9wmda that gives 4 tips to push yourself through. Though, personally, I’ve forced myself to write even though I felt the creativity draining out of me. It is an odd thing to feel your muse/creativity come and go, but in the absence of understanding why it happens, I can only suggest that you try something different – to get out of your rhythm. Try changing your setting (like writing in a public place) or disengage your mind from the scene you are trying to write and revisit it shortly thereafter. At times when I find trouble writing a scene, I ensure that leaving my manuscript unfinished is the last thing I do before I go to sleep. The subconscious is a powerful thing. This is where the phrase, “I’ll sleep on it” came from. Your mind can continue to think through the problem even while you sleep. I can’t tell you how many times I have woken up, walked up to my computer, and found no trouble continuing to write the scene.
- Too Easily Distracted – I’ve read that numerous authors have trouble staying on task, whether they are distracted by a “better idea” or something completely unrelated, I have expanded this topic into its own blog post here.
I realize that this post was not as comprehensive as it could have been, so please leave a comment to share your own tips or to ask for more.