At one point or another, I think many of us have had to struggle through writer’s block. It is a condition, or rather a state of mind where the brain seems to have decided to stop cooperating and enters a kind 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 appears to be 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. 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.
For me, stress seems to be a major factor in getting bouts of writer’s block. For a long time, I would get angry and frustrated with myself. How could this happen when just minutes ago I was brimming with creativity? But over time I have learned just to relax a little and take a step back. Although it feels as if the creativity or that little spark, spurring you on has gone, it hasn’t really; it’s still in your head somewhere, and you just need to coax it out from hiding again.
There are ways in which to do that and get your creative juices flowing again, and I thought I’d share a couple of them with you that work well for me.
The first thing that I do when I’m feeling creatively constipated (there’s an image) is to take out a sheet of paper and write in the middle of it the main goal for the scene on which I’m currently working. From that, I draw a line and write any word that comes to mind. Then I do it again and again until I have what looks like a spider. It’s basically a mini mind map.
Once I have a few words, I try to connect a couple of them together, hoping for an idea to form out of them. Sometimes this works, and sometimes it doesn’t.
Another way to fan the flames of your imagination is to reverse the scene you’re stuck on completely. 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 creativity, 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!