If this can be of any use to anyone, I thought I’d share this.
Here is what I do to get over writer’s block and perhaps avoid it all together.
For me, it breaks down into two parts. 1. Cultivating inspiration and 2. Taking pragmatic action.
Before I start, there is something I always try to remember and I remind my writer friends of the same. If you don’t relate to this, feel free to skip it.
While writing is a large part of my identity, it is something I DO, not something I AM. Just because the work is not flowing, it does not diminish a writer as a person.
You are probably a wonderful person with many gifts to make the world a better place. Writing is just one of them.
- Cultivating Inspiration
Read other people’s works. Read your old works. Go to the movies. Stream a show. Listen to new music. Ask your friends about their lives. Pick a topic and random and google it. Learn. Anything that’s new or outside your comfort zone. If you like to help/entertain people with your work, as I do, one of the things I do is find out what kind of help/entertainment they want or need. This puts me in the mind frame of wanting to write what people want to read as opposed to only writing what I want to write.
Writer’s block instills myopia and that must be smashed with new or forgotten ideas.
- Taking Pragmatic Action
First off, keep in mind that no one ever has to see any writing you write and try not to compare your works in progress to other people’s or your own finished works.
Second, try to think of writing like going to the gym. Use it or lose it.
Write every day. Write garbage. Write cliches. Write the same word over and over again. Something. For at least five minutes a day. It doesn’t matter if you like it and it might do you some good if you don’t. If nothing else, you learn what doesn’t work, so now you can take a different tact.
Like with cultivating inspiration, pick a topic at random and write about. Anything at all. Social issues. The weather. The nature of specific people’s relationship, imagined or real. Try to empathize with people and write about how you think you would think/act in their shoes.
Above all, the most important thing is to consistently put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard). That way, when inspiration strikes, you are ready for it and not rusty.
By doing these two things on a regular basis, in their various forms, I’ve learned a very important thing. I’ve stopped waiting for inspiration to show up the way I think it should look and started looking at all the inspiration that’s already there.
If you have any questions/comments, please feel free to DM me. @ASCharleston
If you have any suggestions for overcoming writer’s block, by all means, add to this thread.
Hope this helps. And if it does, feel free to share this with anyone else who might be interested.