Five tips for writer’s block/ when you get a wee bit stuck with your writing

i) Sometimes it can help your writing if you switch things up a little. Write in a notebook if you usually use a Word doc, try typing if you usually handwrite– my writing had completely frozen so I started typing instead of hand-writing last week and it’s really helped! (My bumper sized notepad that I bought especially for my first draft is now sitting forlornly under my desk). Once you’ve done this you have to kind of force yourself to write/type, else you’ll end up going “ugh! I’m still uninspired!”- You have to actually try, folks. Have some conviction- promise yourself you’re going to write x number of words every day and actually do. And, since I’m trying to write 600 a day right now, let me give you a top tip: do not re-read what you’ve already written. Just write. Else you end up re-writing what little you’ve already written and not getting anywhere. Just get it down, 600 words a day, 100 words a day, whatever– get it down, and there’s your first draft. Now revise and edit and re-write everything a gazillion times. Not before.

ii) Take a walk. Just get out of the house and get some fresh air. Seriously. I always find my best ideas come when I’m outside mulling things over (sometimes they just come randomly when I’m out, which is an added bonus!).

iii) Go on holiday. This can be taken literally (any excuse to get away, right?) or not so literally. We go abroad every summer (me right now, actually- this post is scheduled) and I have to be honest it rarely means that I’m hit with a barrage of ideas for stories. I’ll get like three really bizarre ideas over two weeks. Better than nothing right? Onto the “other” type of holiday- a break from your work. I know, I know: it’s your baby, you can’t just leave it. Relax, you can come back to it later. There’s no point in wasting time on a piece of writing that’s a wee bit rubbish at this present time (and I would know- I started my current piece of writing after wasting 5/6 years on a story idea that had gone from being a stroke of genius to a limp fish. Not great). Start something new, work on something old, try a different genre… you can go back to the piece you’ve dropped later, when you’re better equipped to write it and make it awesome!

iv) This is my most reluctant tip- tidy. Ugh. There is no word to describe my hatred for neatness; I am the personification for “organised chaos”. I know exactly what I’m doing and when, and I know pretty much where everything is in my room- thing is, it’s an absolute mess (what? I call it cosy clutter). And, unfortunately, I do actually find it easier to write when my workspace is tidy (long sigh). So, yeah- tidy if you really have to. “An organised workspace is an organised mind” as the saying goes (vaguely).

v) Read (you’ve had my least favourite, now have my favourite tip). Re-read your favourites, to be exact (oh,no. I bet you’re horrified I’ve suggested such an awful task). Doesn’t matter what, but it might be an idea to keep it in the genre you’re writing. Re-read. Cry, laugh, fan-girl/boy, throw the book at the wall, cry some more… Right. So now you’ve probably re-established what exactly it is that makes you like that author/book. Take a small part of the piece of writing you’re stuck on and try to re-write it, integrating the elements of your favourite books that make you like them so much. Your end piece might not look anything like your favourite book, but it’ll probably be different to your original piece. Keep doing this- try out other writing styles. Don’t copy other works, but do be inspired by them. Write a fanfic. Whatever floats your boat, my friend. And hey, look- you’re writing again!

 

Helpful websites (ideas all pretty similar, but worth a look):

http://io9.com/5844988/the-10-types-of-writers-block-and-how-to-overcome-them

http://www.copyblogger.com/the-first-draft/ (where the above image is from)

http://www.wordstrumpet.com/2012/06/12-habits-that-will-bolster-a-consistent-writing-habit.html

Websites to prompt your writing:

http://writingexercises.co.uk/firstlinegenerator.php (generates a first line for you to work from)

http://writingexercises.co.uk/plotgenerator.php (generates a plot using the elements: characters x 2, setting, situation, theme, character action- v good)

http://www.languageisavirus.com/writing_prompts.html (creative writing ideas)

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