Writing is hard enough when you’re motivated, but what happens when you feel uninspired and the muse has plumb left the building? Quite simply – you write!
One of the absolute worst scenarios for a writer is to get writer’s block. It can be devastating, but not if you understand what causes it. In my opinion, it is fear. Fear of where the story is going. Fear that it has nowhere to go. Fear others won’t like the message. Fear that you aren’t sure what the message is. Fear is a great motivating factor to not do something, but when channeled correctly, this one little emotion can inspire you to accomplish things you never imagined.
Whether you write for a job or for fun, we all know that writer’s block is almost the worst thing that can happen to a writer. We also know that obsessing, fretting or freaking out over it does absolutely no good at all. In fact, it increases the fear, which in turn increases the desire to not write because you just aren’t in the mood and besides, why should you write anyway. It’ll turn out to be garbage anyway, right? Wrong!
Writing is writing. To a writer, it’s equivalent to blood rushing through our veins. Sometimes the writing arteries get clogged with negativity, anxiety, failure. I’m going to try to give you some hints to clean out all the negative vibes so the thoughts can flow free again.
If you find yourself uninspired, try these little hints:
Turn on a bad t.v. show or watch a horrible movie. Critique what you see. You don’t like the characters. You can’t imagine what the set designer was thinking when he designed the scenes and who in the heck did the lead character’s hair and makeup? Before long, you’ve not only written something but you’ve critiqued something. This is very important if you are going to edit your own works. It may also provide you with some characters for your next brainstorming idea.
Go to a bookstore or library and pick up a book you’ve never read or even seen before. Read the back cover. Open to a random page and read a couple of sentences, then take what you just read and brainstorm your own ideas. What could you do with the characters you just read about? If it’s a romance and you like to write horror, how could you change the setting to reflect your interests? Come up with your own creations as fast as you can. Just write, write, write. Pretty soon, you’ll have all kinds of ideas floating around in your head and wont’ be able to contain them all.
Go to a public place and watch people. We are a curious species and you can come up with some wild, crazy stories if you just watch and listen. Pick up on that conversation at the table behind you at Wendy’s. There’s some juice in there somewhere. If not, make up your own.
Meditate. Close your eyes and relax. Open your mind and let whatever comes in, in. Keep your mind open to a number of ideas. When a writer gets stuck on one way of writing, that writer has created his/her own block by blocking out opportunities to write. Your mind must be open to all ideas.
Talk aloud, even it if is to yourself. Picture it. You’re stuck on a scene, you can’t think of where you want to go next. Stand up in the room and act it out. Picture yourself as the character. What would you do in her or his situation? This is a great exercise for picking up what is convincing and what isn’t not only for your characters but for your readers. The writing has to be natural, flowing. Put yourself in the scene. Act it out. Talk it out. You’ll be amazed at how fast the information begins to flow.
Find a pet peeve and write about it. It could be something as silly as men leaving the toilet seat up or picking up a tube of what you think is toothpaste only to find out it’s hemorrhoid cream. Don’t be afraid of the possibilities.
Be prepared to ‘write’ anywhere. If you’re like me, your best ideas come while you are in bed or standing in the shower. Keep note pads handy. Get a digital recorder then write it all down later. Put a white erase board in the shower so you can write your ideas as they come to you. Will other people in your family think your nuts? Probably, but that’s okay. We’re writers.
Take a walk around the block and when you get back, write down ten things you never noticed before. Describe them using all your senses.
Record a conversation at lunch or dinner and then transcribe it. Insert a sexy character or a bad villain and voile’! You have the makings of another story.
Write about writer’s block. Yes, you heard me. Sit down and write something like this: “I can’t write. I can’t find a darn thing to write about.” You’ll be amazed that if you do this, all of a sudden you’re writing…either about your day or something your kids or your pets did. You stepped in a pile of poo. You fell. You discovered you can walk and chew gum at the same time. Open your mind. Let it come.
Remember, the cause and the cure for writer’s block is one and the same: write something. Keep a pen/pencil and a notepad handy (or the digital recorder). Never be caught without it. You have to take control and shove writer’s block away. It won’t disappear on its own. Be careful when you write that you don’t plagiarize. Make your ideas your own.
Don’t worry if anyone else will like what you wrote. That is not the point. The point is to get you to write. If you still can’t move ahead with your story, then you may need to look at the story itself. Find where it doesn’t work. Once you find the problem, the answer is usually easy to fix. As always, when lacking inspiration, go to your local writer’s group. Call another writer. There are thousands of ways to get inspired. The method(s) you use are totally up to you. The only thing I ask is that you have fun doing it.