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Overcoming Writers Block - A Guide

October 30, 2016

Most authors have encountered writers block at one point or another in their routine. For me, it generally comes at or near the end of a story or novel. I say this because, when I begin my stories, I generally know what the story is going to be and have an idea of how I'm going to get it done. That means I know what scenes, or chapters are going to need to be in place to get me there. How to wrap up the loose ends, and make the ending memorable is where I struggle. Below is list of things I have done that help overcome that rut.

  1. Go somewhere. Get out of the house and go somewhere with the sole intention of watching. Whether that is watching people, or looking at the landscape or the way a kitchen looks. While observing think about how you would describe in great detail what your looking at. You will be surprised how doing this can trigger ideas from somewhere deep inside. When looking at a person, imagine how they got to where they are in life. What is the story behind them?

  2. Listen to music. Put on some headphones and listen to some music. Try listening to something new that you don't already know all the words to. The emotions that arise may very well trigger something. You can also listen to music you know, don't rule it out.

  3. Read others work. Pick up a book and start reading a few paragraphs. I suggest not reading the book from start to finish. Just jump into a new book and read a new paragraphs. Go to Amazon.com and read the book summary of several books. I'm not suggesting stealing their idea, but doing this has triggered my own fresh ideas numerous times.

  4. Think about a memorable time in your life. Daydream about that day or moment and then consider what would it have been like if something was different about it. Perhaps it was in a different setting, or another element was added to the moment. Could you add a bit of romance to a memory that was meaningful, but unromantic? How about an element of adventure. For instance, I remember a time in Mexico that I was laying in the sun in a hammock. It was one of the most relaxing times I have ever had in my life. What I was approached by a beautiful local woman? What if gazing out at the ocean I witnessed a murder? Or saw someone drown?

  5. Read poetry. The shortness of poetry can sometimes help jar something loose. I know it does for me.

  6. Have a glass of wine during your writing session. I raise this idea with some reluctance. The last thing you want to happen is to come up with a bunch of wine inspired ideas and then think you need to be drinking to be at your creative best. I have had some new ideas though when in a wine induced buzz.

  7. Watch a movie. Consider what scenes of that movie could be the basis for a complete work of fiction. What characters, even supporting ones, could be a stand alone centerpiece to a novel or an addition to get you over your slump.

  8. Just write. If you don't know where your going with it, sometimes it doesn't matter. Just put words on the page and see where they lead. Worst case scenario, you need to scrap a few pages (or more). I sat on an ending for way to long until I realized I needed to get on with it and just write the damn thing. Once I did, it fell into place. The glitzy ending I was looking for never came, but now I know it wasn't supposed to be a glitzy twist of an ending. The novel ended leaving some questions in the readers mind, and perhaps left thinks open for the next in the series if I decide on it.

  9. Read writing prompts- Some people love these. I have rarely used them but on a few occasions have found them useful. I know many writers who find them to be very inspiring. They are everywhere, just google it. Here are a few from Thinkwritten.

Outside the Window: What’s the weather outside your window doing right now? If that’s not inspiring, what’s the weather like somewhere you wish you could be?

 

The Unrequited love poem: How do you feel when you love someone who does not love you back?

 

The Vessel: Write about a ship or other vehicle that can take you somewhere different from where you are now.

 

 Dancing: Who’s dancing and why are they tapping those toes?

 

Food: What’s for breakfast? Dinner? Lunch? Or maybe you could write a poem about that time you met a friend at a cafe.

 

10. Create a vision board of your story. Or what you want in your story. Every time you look at the photo of the man or woman on the board, you see them and the story can unfold. Seeing the photo of city where the story is set can help generate ideas. Just don't spend days on it. There are apps out there made specifically for making your vision board. Here are a few examples of vision boards.

 

I hope some of these ideas are helpful to you. If you have any things you do to help you when your stuck, I would love to hear about them in the comments.

 

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