Many of us have struggled our way through writer’s block at one point or another. It is a condition, or rather a state of mind where the brain seems to have decided to stop cooperating and enters a sort of creative shutdown.
At least it feels like that.
Some people don’t even believe that writer’s block exists. After all, there is no physical blockage occurring in your brain which prevents the flow of ideas from getting to where they need to be; it’s literally all in your mind.
I don’t agree with those who poo-poo the idea of writer’s block. I do think it is a real thing. I have experienced it myself. It can strike at any time and out of nowhere, right in the middle of the most productive day you’ve ever had. You can be feeling full of creative ideas, your story flowing from your fingertips as you type – and then bam! Nothing. It’s all gone.
It’s frustrating because you feel as if you should know exactly where you need to take your characters and plot and what you need to do next, but there is just something preventing it from happening. It’s inexplicable.
One of the main causes of writer’s block seems to be stress.
The more stressed out you are, the more likely you are to lose focus on what you’re doing.
When this happens, you can quickly become angry and frustrated, wondering how this could have happened when just minutes ago you were brimming with ideas?
Although it feels as if the creativity has gone or stopped, it hasn’t really; it’s still in your head somewhere, and you just need to coax it out.
One thing you can do when you’re feeling creatively constipated (there’s an image!) is to take out a sheet of paper and write what the main goal is for the scene on which you’re stuck. From that, draw a line and write any word relating to the central idea that occurs to you. Then do it again and again until you’ve unclogged yourself all over a brightly coloured mind-map.
Once you feel that you have enough words on the paper, you can try to connect a couple of them together, forming new concepts and ideas. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but it’s definitely worth a try.
Another way to fan the flames of your imagination is to reverse the scene you’re stuck on entirely. If your character is a man make him a woman. If he’s rich make him poor. Straight? Make him gay, and so on.
It works for the setting too. If it’s a sunny day in the park in your scene, then set it during a thunderstorm. None of it will end up in your story, but hopefully, you can see how in doing this you can begin to generate ideas and jump-start your idea mill, allowing you to get back to work.
These tips may work for you or they may not, though I suppose the point is not to give up when you hit that proverbial wall, (or a real one depending on your temperament) and experiment with the scenes and the characters in your story until you feel the cogs turning again.
Anyway, I hope this was helpful.
Thank you for reading as always!
Until next time,
© 2017 GLT