Everyone has their own ways of beating writer’s block, and different things work for different people. Here’s a few suggestions to try:
- Re-read what you’ve written, highlight your favourite parts to rediscover your excitement for the story.
- Edit the opening paragraph.
- Cut the opening paragraph.
- Do ten minutes of free writing.
- Write a blog post about how to beat writer’s block.
- Do some housework.
- Go for a walk.
- Read a book.
- Do some exercise.
- Have a cup of coffee and some cake.
- Listen to music.
- Write your main character’s journal.
- Write something totally different.
- Write your book’s blurb.
- Edit a photo of yourself to look like a zombie.
- People watch.
- Wash your hair.
- Buy yourself a new notebook.
- Write something to throw away.
- Write the stupidest story you can think of.
- Write poetry.
- Write a song.
- Draw a picture.
- Make something creative.
- Upcycle an old piece of clothing/furniture.
- Tie yourself to your desk and just push on through it.
- Allow yourself to suck.
- Write character outlines.
- Flesh out your plotting notes.
- Write the ending.
Anyone else got other suggestions that work for them?
Do the other things on the list but don’t languish too long. Writing is fickle, tenuous. If you let go of it even a little bit it won’t want you anymore.
My struggle with writing has always been this…fear of writing scenes I didn’t know how to write. Or if I didn’t know what was going to happen in the scene exactly. I would write around the edges, afraid to write the scary build-ups, or the climaxes, or the clifflhangers. I always figured I’d get around to them eventually. But eventually often means never.
Sometimes now when I feel like I can’t write or I’m just waiting for inspiration I’ll pick on purpose one of those scenes I didn’t know how to write and just…start writing it. First in a notebook, then in a word processor, and (for the project I’m working on now) then as storyboard sketches, then as comic panels, and then I revise the writing again and let the thing sit. It’s almost as though the process provides its own excitement; it’s just up to me at that point to make sure there’s something for me to write / rewrite / sketch / ink / revise / finalize (/code / publish).
So, more things:
I think a lot of it also boils down to this: if you can’t write, find some other way to write.
if we’re out at a bar and i come back from the bathroom and i don’t know you but you’re trying to defend your point of view that we should nuke iraq to my girlfriend and her friends, hi, hello, you don’t know me but i’m about to make you feel very unwelcome
so i come back and my girlfriend mouths to me “he’s saying we should nuke iraq” so i sit next to the guy. white guy, buzz cut, black rimmed glasses. i can hear he’s talking about isis, so i butt into the convo
"oh hey, you’re talking about isis, right?"
"then don’t you mean nuke syria?"
"nuke ‘em both" dude turns it up to 11 immediately.
if you say this seriously, as a conversational tidbit and not a form of obvious trolling, just know that to a small percentage of the people you’ll be saying it to will no longer think of you as a human being, but as a monster
"why are nukes in the equation? you shouldn’t want to nuke anyone."
the guy reconsiders who he might be talking to. he decides i’m probably some young, idealistic, poli-sci major
"i guess i just don’t care. i’m apathetic, you know?"
"lots of people really do care though. i really care. don’t say that nuke shit around me or my friends"
"are you still in college or something?" this is the first time he tries to other me, challenging my authority based on age
"no, i’m 27. but let me say, you’re operating from the pinnacle of privilege right now, you’re a straight white male who thinks that people who are out of sight and vaguely dangerous they should be obliterated, and that these are defensible views”
"well, yeah, but you’re white and male. i don’t know if you’re straight, but…" second attempt at othering. challenging my authority based on sexual orientation.
"uh huh. well i’m using my privilege to shut you down for saying stupid shit and you’re using it to talk about nuking innocent people in other countries"
"i guess i shouldn’t have talked politics. can’t a guy just come out with his friends for a drink and have fun?" translation: "i just came out to have a good time and honestly i’m feeling so attacked right now."
"not if you’re promoting the blanket killings of large groups of people you’ll never have to see getting disintegrated, no."
"are you a jew?" third attempt at othering. (whoa! i’m actually all of the same things he is, but i don’t agree we should nukes should ever be on the table)
"no, are you jewish?"
"then what does that have to do with anything? and why are you asking me like that, instead of asking if i’m jewish?"
"because you’re starting to annoy me, so i thought you might be a jew"
in short, from this interaction i learned that sometimes white supremacy and privilege serve as a platform of apathy from which to hand down insensitive prescriptions of violence against other groups of people, not to be questioned
later, the butthurt holden caulfied flagellated on the outskirts of our group, and i overheard him express to a friend that maybe they should go somewhere else, because “i don’t feel very popular here”
I dunno, man, sometimes I stop and think about how much media and news I consume is all violence against women all the time and how much of what I think about is violence and how much of pop culture is covert violence against women and, like, no wonder I’m exhausted all the time.