This post is more relevant to my online blogger friends who, like me, probably suffer from momentary bouts of serious writers block. The worst kind of brain fart, when you have maxed out your creativity and can no longer think of new things to write about. Whether it is for a short story, a novel, a blog post or an essay for some sort of application (ahem, cover letters…) Writers block can hit and it can be really hard to work your way out of such a rut. I am by no means an expert on overcoming writers block, as I don’t think it is a science that can really be understood, but here is a list of things that I do when I suffer from a mental blockade and inability to come up with new ideas, hopefully it can help anyone struggling to complete a writing-related task!
1. Make an inspiring playlist.
Souncloud or iTunes are great places to save specific songs to a “writing” playlist, and if you listen to it while typing away, it can help to stimulate new ideas or change your mood to better suit your writing situation. Here is the playlist I am currently using when I’m working on my book, maybe my choice of songs will clue you in to what it’s about 😉
2. Throw in an absurd plot twist – even if it gets removed later, it can bring up new ideas.
This is something that can be extremely useful in cultivating new ideas. Throw in the most absurd, dramatic plot twist, or a huge lie if the work is supposed to be professional or factual information. Just be sure to delete it later, before actually submitting it for the job. Throwing in these complete warps of reality can help stimulate the brain into thinking creatively, thinking of new ideas that would otherwise never come up if the storyline was pursued in a uniform, sensical matter. A Dr. Seuss quote that I really love speaks to this
Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living,
it’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope,
and that enables you to laugh at life’s realities.
3. Go for a walk
Sometimes, removing oneself from the immediate physical situation that is perpetuating writers block can be very helpful. Getting out in nature and getting the creative juices flowing can help to inspire a new segment or envision a new interaction between characters. I try to imagine myself as a bystander, watching my characters interact from a removed distance. What are they doing? What are they saying? What does their body language look like? What did they choose to wear today?
This advice is more specific to the creative writing realm, but going for a walk out in nature is healthy regardless, and can seriously help to refresh a cluttered mind. Various studies have concluded that going for a walk is actually proven to clear a cluttered mind, bringing much-needed relief to a stressed out writer.
4. Write yourself into the book
If you aren’t already writing a memoir and instead your characters are completely fictional, creating a space for yourself within the words of your story can help increase the personal component of the whole process, bringing you closer to the words you put on the page.
5. Have a friend read it, and give their reaction.
This seems like a no brainer, but in a world where we are all very busy, our lives filled with an endless list of daily commitments, it can be hard to ask a friend to read over your work, especially if it is a long piece. I am lucky that I am blessed with people who will read over my material and send me honest feedback, and generally this feedback works wonders in inspiring new ideas for where I can take the story, helping me identify possible issues in the plot and also add flair to my characters and the story itself. I highly recommend finding a critical friend who will not have an issue giving honest feedback, because for any written work, a cover letter, poem, short story etc, this personal, intimate response can work wonders for a writer suffering from composition obstacles.
“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”
– Benjamin Franklin