Friday, 4 October 2013

The greatest book that never was... 5 cures for Writers' block

Ah yes, writers' block. The horrible blankness inside your head, the desperation clawing at your brain, the internal harpy-like shrieking of:
WRITE YOU IDIOT! WRITE ANYTHING AT ALL! JUST A PARAGRAPH. OKAY, A SENTENCE. ALRIGHT THEN DUMBASS, TWO WORDS THAT VAGUELY MEAN  SOMETHING... 
Fear wraps his talons around your now cold heart and whispers in your ear *give up, you loser. Writing is for imaginative people. You're just a pretender. A useless hack. Give up now. Quit while you're ahead. It's the smart thing to do.*

Credit: Vector4free.com
No? Just me then? Well, anyway, however it makes you feel, it seems to catch us all out during our writing life and the Internet is chock-full of ways to cure it. Or at least postpone it until the next delightful muse-kidnapper appears. 

Here are five ideas that could help you banish it. For a while anyway:

  • Get out in the fresh air. Take a walk (or a run if you're that way inclined...). Or, if you're really, really lazy, just stand in the garden for ten minutes and stare at the sky. Don't think about that pesky storyline that's going nowhere or that piece of dialogue that 's horribly clunky and stilted. Take a few minutes to get a bit zen. Zone out. Enjoy the flowers, kick up those autumn leaves, lift your face to the rain. As the ever awesome En Vogue would say:

Free Your Mind
  • Do something creative that's not writing. Drawing, crochet, sewing. Bake a cake, which has the added benefit of providing important sustenance ready for your mammoth writing session where you not only smash writers block into the ground like the Incredible Hulk but write your BEST EVER Scene. One that would make Angels weep and Shakespeare cry in his grave. Ahem. What I mean to say is - force the creative buzz to get going by doing something else and maybe that impossible chapter ending will just pop right into your head. 
The Incredible Hulk. Smash!
  • Organise your bookshelves. Or go to your local (hopefully independent) bookshop and take a look at their tables or staff pick titles. Read the blurbs, peek inside. Take inspiration from what you read and use those ideas to kick start your own work. 
  • Try free writing for fifteen minutes. Write whatever comes into your head and don't stop writing until the timer goes. If you start to freeze up, write your thoughts. Put onto paper the actual words 'I don't know what else to write. I can't think of anything', etc until even the tiniest grain of an idea pops into your head. Run with it. Let your mind wander and go off on tangents. Write everything that comes into your head. The idea is to build up your momentum and get you into the flow of writing again. You never know what these raw, in-cohesive ramblings might inspire.
    I'm not suggesting this was the product of free writing... 
    But this one might have been
  • Or go to this super awesome site. It's the Holy Grail for writers suffering from the dreaded BLOCK. Writing prompt generators, articles on famous authors, creative writing exercises and more. Beware though. It is a serious time suck. Don't get stuck on the character name generator. You have been warned. 

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