By: Nadine Ducca
Leaping over the hurdle
It happens in the best families…
I said it: one of the most feared predicaments of any writer, and probably one of the most common. I don’t think I know any author who hasn’t gone through a dry spell. Writer’s block isn’t always staring at a blank page or screen. It can also be staring at a bunch of jumbled up ideas, and for the life of you not managing to make them readable. The words simply won’t flow.
When suffering from writer’s block, no matter how hard you try to fix a scene or come up with a new idea, it’s always there: that hurdle blocking your path. Staring into your soul. Taunting you. “You can’t jump me! You can’t jump me!” It points at you and laughs. And what do you do? Bang your head against the keyboard? Poke your eye out with a pen? No. You’re tough. You’re a writer, for crying out loud! You were made to suffer!
No matter what type of writer’s block you might have, there’s one thing you should never do: obsess. Obsessing gets you nowhere, and it drains away your energy. That’s just what the hurdle wants! The best thing you can do is take a deep breath, and try these suggestions.
1) Disconnect: Sometimes it’s best to just set your work aside and let it breathe. Give it distance. Sometimes you might think what you’re writing is awful, until you set it aside and go back to it the next day or a few days later. Only then do you realize it wasn’t worth so much worry. With writer’s block it’s the same. Don’t get frustrated, simply give yourself some time.
2) Listen to music: I find that original soundtracks are especially helpful. Songs without lyrics (for me, the lyrics usually get in the way) can transport you to other worlds, other universes, and other ideas. Take Zack Hemsey, for example. His songs have inspired several of my scenes. (It’s also cool to imagine your characters in total epic badness while listening to Hemsey full blast.)
3) Change your scenery: You can try writing in a different place, or you can reorganize your work area. You should also open doors and windows and let in some fresh air. Sometimes we authors don’t realize how stuffy our workplace is, or what posture we’re sitting in. We spend hours hunched over, reading tiny letters on a screen or on paper, and that can really damage both our backs and our eyes. Remedy this by trying out the next tip.
4) Go for a walk: I’ve found ideas come quicker to me if I’m walking and listening to music. Go out. See something new. Your mind needs a break. Doing some light exercise will get more oxygen to your brain and muscles, and it will help with any cricks in the back or neck.
5) Change the medium you’re writing on: I usually switch to pen and paper when I hit a bump in the road. There’s something especially satisfying about scribbling and drawing arrows and doodles and writing in spirals that really gets my creativity flowing again.
6) Try out writing prompts: Who knows, maybe you’ll find your next great idea. Here’s a post on my blog with several great sites offering writing prompts.
7) Just dive right in: Sometimes, our own fear is what stops us. Stop procrastinating and dive right in to your story. Accept that your writing won’t be perfect on the first go. Sometimes, it helps to just use bullet points to describe a scene or chapter, and flesh it out later.
Well, that’s my little list of suggestions to beat writer’s block! I can’t assure you these techniques will immediately send you leaping over that hurdle, but they’re sure to help in one way or another.
If you have any other tips, I’d love to hear them!
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Genre – Science Fiction/Fantasy
Rating – Adult