Wikipedia has listed the term writer’s block as a condition. It occurs when a writer has a creative slow down or can’t think of any new material.
When I first started writing, I believed it. But guess what? Writer’s block doesn’t exist. I think it’s an excellent armpit excuse, but in all honesty, writers have got to write.
Here are some ways you can conquer the imaginary block and write on.
Free writing is what the name implies. You don’t have a plan. If having no plan interests you check out my earlier post Pantser 101. Write whatever comes to mind and keep writing. When I hear free writing, I see Jack Nicholson repeatedly writing Red Rum in The Shining. If you get stuck on a word, keep writing the same word until you come up with the next one. You know what? Something magical happens. You’ll come up with another word.
Do not be afraid of an incomplete thought. No one is judging you. It’s between you and your keyboard or pen. Whatever medium you decide, keep writing. Set a timer for 10 minutes. Next time you can set it for 20 minutes. It’s up to you. I want to tell you not to look back and change your words, but I know you will. I know I’ve done it. But remember, free writing is about allowing the words to flow out of you without bringing out the grammar police or wordsmith. You can bring them out later.
There are plenty of sites that you can sign up for to get your writing juices flowing. One of my favorites is reedsyprompts, where you can use their weekly writing prompts, and if you are interested, you can enter their weekly contests. As a judge on their site, I love to see the beautiful way an author can weave these prompts in their short stories.
The other site I enjoy receiving emails from is writers write. Once a week, they send out a newsletter that includes a helpful post, comic, words we like, a quote, and lastly, writing prompt. This week’s writing prompt is, “The cat’s bowl was empty.”
Who doesn’t like a good word list? I’m in the middle of revision and rewrites, and I realized my sentences were…well, lacking in the realm of better words. Sometimes it’s about how your words are arranged. For example, Fredrik Backman writes simple sentences, but I walk away thinking about his prose long after putting down any of his books. “It doesn’t take a lot to let go of your child. It takes everything.” –Beartown.
Here’s one example of a word list. Make a food list. Start with your grocery list, and if you are a foodie, even butter. Yes, I love a good food pun. You could list a menu from one of your favorite restaurants. Go beyond pizza and tacos. Of course, you can easily upgrade the basic tacos into something of the street variety like carne asada encased in those cute little corn tortillas or a brick oven pizza covered in truffle shavings.
Think of brioche, tiramisu, sashimi or goulash. There is a whole world of food out there. If you’re a visual person, tune in to The Food Network. You are the writer. Imagine your character taking their first bite from a savory piece of filet mignon or dipping a piece of lobster tail in that buttery sauce as it drips off their fingertips. Then again, it could be as simple as chomping down on a Spam sandwich during their 20-minute lunch break.
Other lists could include favorite words, body movements, or places.
Newsbreak headlines usually get my attention. Try taking a headline or an article you found exciting and making something more out of the subject matter. A headline reads, A Mother Carjacked, Baby Survives High-Speed Car Chase.
What happens to the woman afterward? Does she become agoraphobic or a cop? What happens to the 16-year-old kid not thinking about the consequences that follow? Is he scared straight and turns into one of his generation’s most influential motivational speakers for at-risk children? I’d like to know. Not all stories need to have a sad ending.
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I see it as writer’s block is nothing more than a myth. There are a plethora of avenues you can travel when it comes to your creativity.
I hope you found this helpful in your writing journey. Let’s do some trade secrets, and you can comment on how you get through writer’s block. Send me a like and follow, and I’ll do my best to develop other ideas to help you unleash your creative self.