Get Over Writer's Block
Suddenly your thought processes cease. You seem to have lost your concentration. You have no idea what to write. It is scary, especially when you are in the middle of writing a long novel and feel like you've hit a brick wall. Don't worry -- you're not alone. Almost every serious writer has dealt with this problem and has come out stronger on the other side. The following are simple, but not foolproof, ways to overcome writer's block.
Writing Whatever Comes to Mind
- Accept that you have writer's block. When you have writer's block, no ideas spring to mind when you are writing and you are stuck for what to write. Understand that writer's block is easy to overcome, and there are many ways to get over it. Do not stop to the idea that you will never write again.
- Write about anything. Anything in the world - even write about pineapples. It gets your brain to think more and be creative. This works the best for many people. Once you've thought of a paragraph or a few sentences about your topic go back to your story.
- Get some ideas on paper without worrying about how they sound. The writing does not have to be polished; writers often have writer's block because they worry about the quality of their writing. Remember that nobody has to see a word you've written except you. You can show it to the world when you're ready.
- Try a change of pace. For example, if you have a long, action-packed sequence, try going over to a reasoned conversation. Be sure that the changeover makes sense. You don't have to write in one speed or one tone all the time. Something completely different can really end up inspiring you to reach new depths. If you tend to write dramatic scenes, switch to something a bit more lighthearted, or vice versa.
- Decide when to give up on an idea. Look over what you have written and ask yourself, "Does this seem to be leading up to anything?" If you feel like it's going absolutely nowhere, then it may be time to move on from it.
- Decide whether the situation truly feels real. You may have writer's block because the situation doesn't seem realistic to you. Don't be afraid to rewrite parts of the story to make it more natural.
- Try starting from another part of your story. If you are having trouble with the beginning, write the middle or end. After you have written another part of the story, things may start to fall into place where you were before.
- Writing out of order may require more familiarity with the plot so that everything makes sense from start to finish. At the same time, it may help you think out the details when you cannot decide what to do with your story. Writing a good ending while you think of about the rest of your story will help structure it.
- Write something totally different. It may surprise you how much you like it! A monologue, song, poem, or even taking a short amount of time to write a scene from a completely different story will get your writer's blood flowing again.
- Use prompts. Out of all writers block stoppers, using prompts is one of the most effective ones. Use any random word or sentence to help you come up with a plot and start writing your story. For example if you asked a friend to give you a prompt and they said the words "Forever" and "Passion" you would most likely think of a romance. And if they were to give you the phrase "Bite me" then you would most likely think of a vampire or werewolf. (Twilight anybody?)
- Use the world around you. Use the people around you and the personalities. Use the nature, atmosphere and scenes that surround you to build up your story/plot. The best possible way to do this is to use a diary. Jot down your daily life,random thoughts and feelings.
- If you can't possibly think of something to write about, just name a bunch of object or ideas. Even if you think one won't work. It's a simple way to cure writer's block. To make it easier, say everything you're thinking about out loud. You'll bump into something. Good luck!
Starting with a Character
- Get a paper and a pen or a pencil. Or use your computer, if that works better. This is the first thing you need to channel a character -- a blank canvas.
- Write down a name, the first name that comes to mind, at the top of the page. It can be the name of a person you know, a person you read about, or just something that randomly pops into your head.
- Ask questions about the person. Under the name, start making a list, ask yourself questions like: Who is this person? How does he/she look like? Does this person have any siblings, if yes then who?
- Let the character develop. Allow the character to form in your mind, see the character in your head, become the character.
- Try to visualize the life of the character. What is it like when the character wakes up in the morning? Does he/she go to work or school? How does he/she feel about his family? What does he/she like to have for lunch? All of these details add up to a life.
- Look over what you've written. When you are done with the list, read through it and hopefully you will be able to place this character in a scenario, that might spark the idea for a story… maybe just one detail you came up with can spark your interest in an entire story.
- Play the "and then" game. Surprisingly, this game is a great way to cut yourself out of writer's block. Start with any random sentence, for example "One day there was a girl named Destiny" then you continue the story with "and then" after every sentence. "And then she met a guy named Daniel. And then she found out he was a vampire" etc. That might not be how you write a story, but, the deeper you get, you end up finding a plot.
- Write a backstory about your main character. Create tons of info about your main character -- why is her hair so short when all of the other girls have long plaits? Her hair was like that too, but an evil man tried to cut her neck in a chase and she ducked, her hair flying up, causing him to slice it, instead.
Getting Inspired Through Reading
- Reading a novel. It could help with inspiration. Reread a book that you enjoy if you want to. You can even plot the book, or write down what it is about the characters or scenes that really inspires you. Try picking something in the genre you're writing in, whether it's Sci Fi, Romance, or a Thriller, to get ideas about your subject matter.
- Read your previous work. If you reread your story or other previous stories, it might spark something in your brain. Inspiration is a mysterious thing; it can come back at any time.
- Read about a person you admire. Read a story about someone who you like or admire and make a character based on that person, include their personality traits and hobbies so if you do write a story on them it makes it easier when you're knowing almost everything about them.
- Read Poetry. Poetry can also inspire you to write fiction -- or to write some poetry of your own! You may be surprised, but an image in a poem, whether it's the "Silken, sad, uncertain, rustling of each purple curtain" in Poe's "The Raven," or the line, "You, my father, there on the sad height," from Dylan Thomas' poem, "Rage, Rage Against the Dying of the Light," that brings an image or an idea to mind, soon enough, you'll be inspired by a completely new idea!
- Read non-fiction. Hey, picking up a book about a historical event, such at the Montgomery Bus Boycotts or the Siege of Leningrad, can also help you come up with a new vision or idea that took place during that time. Soon, you'll have new characters, plots, or lines of dialogue floating through your head.
- Rewrite an existing article. Find a newspaper and rewrite the article -- that murder last week was a ghost getting revenge on her evil grandson, and... (this can help get ideas flowing).
- Take a break. Sometimes a nap helps (you never know what you'll dream about, plus sometimes, while you're lying in bed, you'll have a sudden flash of inspiration. You should write it down instantly, even if it's in the middle of the night.) or you can watch a movie or go for a walk. Seeing new things can help stimulate your brain and thus giving your imagination a boost. Cook a meal, clean the house or play with your pets. Completely forget about your story for a while.
- Don't be hard on yourself if you can't think of anything. If you really can't write a word and would rather lie down and relax or do something else, don't punish yourself. Even the world's best writers can sometimes only write for an hour or a few hours a day. Gustave Flaubert, the author of the classic, Madame Bovary, was said to only write a single sentence per day!
- Don't edit while you write. You can obsess over every sentence or every line later. If you are telling yourself that each paragraph absolutely must be absolutely perfect then you'll never get to the next paragraph!
- Don't panic. Everyone gets writer's block at least once in their lives as it's perfectly normal. You can even say that going through writer's block and breaking through it, will help you be an even more imaginative and creative writer.
- Don't compare yourself to your favorite writers. Okay, so maybe you don't feel up to speed with Stephen King, Louis Sachar, Emily Bronte, or Dostoevsky. That doesn't mean you should feel inadequate or like you're the worst writer on the planet. Use these writers for inspiration, as a standard you'd like to achieve, one day, not as benchmarks for your own failure or success. Once you take the pressure off, you'll be able to write much more freely.
Playing the "Crazy Game"
- Get a blank piece of paper. This works best if you're in a quiet place where you feel no judgment.
- For about five minutes, try to think of the craziest sentence possible. For example, "The flying turtle ate the talking pineapple, even though he knew it was the unicorn's best friend." You can generate several crazy sentences and pick the best one, if you're really in the groove. Don't judge yourself or hold back. Just write whatever comes to mind.
- Take your crazy sentence and write it down. Repeat this until you have a list of three or more ideas.
- Repeat the process until you have a paragraph full of crazy sentences. Make it as crazy as possible. If you are typically a sensible and serious person, you should take a break and attempt to write the most boring story ever. Once you've found at least 5-6 "good" crazy sentences, you should have something to work with. Read them over. They'll make you laugh, feel more loose, and feel less restrained about always writing the most perfect sentence in the world.
- Pick one sentence that stands out and get inspired by it. Use that one sentence as the opening of a short story, or even a short short story. Don't let it hold you back. Maybe even just pick one or two phrases or words from that sentence, and use them for inspiration. Keep writing until you feel relaxed and like you have something to work with!
- If none of the sentences inspire you to write a story, use the craziness itself as inspiration. Okay, so maybe all of your sentences were too crazy or ridiculous to work with. That's okay. Let the process itself inspire you and make see that it's easy to let loose and generate crazy sentences once in a while -- it's not about achieving perfection! After this exercise, you can just start trying to get back into the same writing you were doing before, while feeling more confident about your ability to be creative!
Playing the "Wikpedia Prompt Game"
- Get your preferred writing medium, pen and paper, Microsoft Word, etc.
- Then go to Wikipedia.org and click on the link "Random Article" and based off that article write something, anything even if it is only a short six word story.
- Repeat as often as you like, maybe try to do it once a day so you get into writing more often.
Writer's Block Help
Doc:Writing Exercises,Freewrite About Anything,Freewrite About a Name
- Play some music appropriate to the scene in your story. You could even make up an entire playlist for your story. Music is a great way to break down that writer's block; listen to what you enjoy, but don't let the music become a serious distraction. You need to spend most of your time writing, not singing along or dancing.
- If you can't do any of those things, just read: reading can give you some many ideas about how to write and what to write. Take a break; you may need it. Try to write everyday, but do not force yourself too much. Your writing will not benefit from it.
- Don't be afraid to stress your characters personality a bit -- but not too much or they'll become very disliked (unless they're the antagonist or are supposed to be disliked).
- Get it written, it doesn't need to be "right". Your first draft isn't your final draft, after all. Don't be such a perfectionist.
- If you enjoy art, try drawing one of the characters, scenes, places, objects, or anything else from your story; it will really help with your writer's block. Designing your envisioned book cover may help you get excited about your story and revitalize your inspiration for it.
- Next time, get to the point in your writing where you are excited to pick up where you left off. Even if that means having to pull yourself out of the writing.
- Write a paragraph that sounds good - exciting, touching, or any other type of good - then see if you can't come up with a story to fit it.
- Listen to inspiring music. Preferably something that fits the theme of your story, or a certain point you've gotten to. If it's a romance novel and you're stuck on a scene that you want to put together perfectly for the two lovers, listen to something that mirrors it musically.
- You can use these steps to visualize a storyline, it works just as well.
- Do a mock interview with your characters to practice characterization, or design some character sheets for them. Understanding your character is a key part of writing!
- Leave it alone for awhile. If you're ever just thinking one day while on writer's block, you may wind up finding a new idea stored somewhere in your brain! Just leave it be, and if you don't stress about it, you'll be fine.
- When stuck on a character, imagine what they look like, what they're wearing, or how they act.
- Have fun while writing.
- Don't give up! Almost everyone goes through writer's block. It doesn't mean you have to stop writing.
- Have a character do something they totally wouldn't, like dye their hair purple.
- Asking for help with the steps can reward an even better result.
- Just wait, inspiration will strike eventually. If you have no ideas maybe you should leave the manuscript around for a few weeks and then come back to it.
- You don't have to use a manuscript book, use what you feel comfortable with. For example: a notebook, a writing pad, a computer, or even a drawing book.
- Allow yourself to write crud. It can lead to new plot twists.
- Your friends can help you come up with new ideas when you don't have any. Try chatting with them about some of the scenes you're having trouble with.
- Pretend your the character in the scene trying to solve the problem.
- Travel, look around, take in your surroundings and use what you see. Are people mean or nice at the club, at the cafe, at the park?
- Go to a quiet place with a pen you especially like, a pad or notebook that is comfortable and familiar, and just start writing. Write out what you need to do today. Write out a quarrel you had with your husband, wife, child, or neighbor. Write out the ideal scenario for a meal on the patio with a few friends. Write anything except about the thing you are "blocked" about. Just write, fast and furiously, and from that writing you will find the thread, or the fuel to continue with your project unimpeded.
- Try meditating. It may help your mind to work again and recover from writer's block.
- You can make the character like you. Are you dramatic, romantic, brave, or adventurous? Write about that and you can get a plot.
- Don't be afraid to act out a few scenes to decide what happens next.
- Remember that it becomes more and more difficult to overcome writer's block as you wait longer and longer to start writing.
- Don't work with prompts that aren't in your comfort zone.
- Don't get stressed about writer's block, or it'll seem much worse and may become incurable.
- Don't ever stress over how difficult your writer's block may be to overcome. If you keep thinking about it, it will stick around longer.
- Don't write just to write, it'll make you go back and change it later.
- Ace College Writing
- Get Inspiration for Your Own Writing
- Write a Script
- Prevent Writer's Block
- Create Your Own Scary Story
- Get Yourself Out There As a Writer