So it turns out, I’m useless at blogging.
Don’t get me wrong – the intent is there. I’d love to have filled this thread with hundreds of really interesting posts about me, but, as it turns out, I’m not that interesting.
Of course I’m lying. I’m actually awesome. But what I’m not, it seems, is focused.
This leads me, quite nicely, on to the whole point of this post in the first place.
Yup, you heard me. I’m currently suffering from the horror that is writers block. The one thing all writers live in fear of – the day our muses abandon us, leaving us high and dry, with our (theoretical, in my case, since I type) pens poised over our blank pages - which seem to stretch on endlessly into the distance, mocking us with their neatly ruled lines.
So, I figured this would be a great time to give you my (almost) fool-proof ’10 ways to beat writers block’ – since, you know, there aren’t enough of these sorts of lists on the internet anywhere...
I should point out at this point, that these are MY rules. They work for me – they might not work for you – but it’s always worth a shot, right?
1. Don’t feel guilty for not writing. This might actually be the hardest rule for me to follow. I’m a terrible worrier (or a great one, depending on your view point.) I worry about things that no human in their right mind can possibly consider as even worth thinking about – let alone worry about. Do you need a worst case scenario? A list of stuff that could happen to you at any moment in time? I’m your girl!
And so remembering to NOT worry about not writing, is incredibly difficult. But I try very hard to do it anyway. Why? Because writing this book is not the be-all and end-all of my existence. I am a living, breathing person with many interests who does not need to write to survive. Yes, I enjoy it – adore it, in fact – and yes, I love the sense of achievement I gain from completing the next chapter – but living my life is what brings me inspiration, and without inspiration, there can be no writing!
2. However, when it’s time to write, dedicate yourself to it. Tie yourself to the chair if it helps – even if you do nothing but stare at a blank screen for an hour. But give your writing the time it deserves. I mean, just imagine what you could achieve if you allowed as much time to write, as you did avoiding writing by procrastinating?
3. Speaking of time, schedule your writing times. Having a writing routine, although it sounds constrictive, is oddly liberating. I’ve been known to sit at the computer for an entire day, only to achieve nothing. Tell me I only have an hour, and then I can’t write for the rest of the day? Suddenly I’m in the zone – and wild horses couldn’t stop me from completing my word target. Scheduling even just an hour a day, means that you can enjoy the rest of it guilt free, safe in the cosy, happy knowledge that you’ve done ‘your bit’. Find your best writing time and stick to it. Make time if you have to – get up an hour early, or stay up an hour late. Cram it into your lunch break if it works for you. Just pick a slot, and stick to it!
4. All scheduled and ready to go? Get rid of distractions during your ‘writing time’. It’s amazing how many times I’ve wasted a writing opportunity by having too much going on around me. I’ll settle in to write for an hour, only to spend it checking my emails, responding to my wattpad updates, checking my amazon sales, facebook, pinterest, twitter, ebay...
They will all be waiting for you at the end of that hour. I promise.
5. Still not working? Do something else. Your brain needs to relax in order to create. Read a book. Watch a movie. Go for a walk. Even housework counts!
In fact, definitely do the housework! It’s amazing how inspired you can get to write when faced with a pile of washing up, or laundry...
6. Having trouble, still? Put some music on! Now this one, for me, is a weird one. I’m one of those people who needs complete silence in order to write anything.
And yet, music can be such inspiration. I like to get in the car, go for a drive, and turn it up loud. However you like to listen to music, just do it. Really focus on it – every element. You’ll be surprised at where it takes you.
7. So it’s still not working. This is when you need to get a trusted other involved. In my case, my boyfriend, Andy. Bless his heart – I’ve bored him to utter distraction with my constant talk of my imaginary friends. But he always (well, mostly, anyway) makes time to listen and comment. Just having that sounding board can make all the difference – and he’s often suggested ideas and outlooks that I’d not seen or considered. Which makes him a valuable tool! (Sorry Andy, it’s not over yet!)
8. If that works, why stop at one? I have an amazing network of writer friends, who I turn to for support when the writing gets tough. There are those who keep me motivated, challenging me to word wars and goal matching. There are those who shower me and my work with praises, lifting me enough to push through, and keep me going to the end. And there are those who are happy to drop everything and chat about anything but the damn book when I’m in need – and helping them work through their own plot dramas can be a brilliant distraction.
9. Finally have an idea of what to write, but don’t know where to start? Write around it. Describe your scene. Use single word sentences if it helps. I like to write dialogue without punctuation – making it messy and almost impossible to read it back. Let it flow through you onto that page as quickly as possible. Don’t think too long or hard about it. Just write about what you want to write about. What is the mood of this scene? What do you want to happen? What point are you trying to get across? Before long, you’ll be writing properly, and you won’t have even noticed.
10. My final rule, and it’s a bit of a cop out. This is the point where I remind myself that, there is, in fact, no such thing as writers block. Sure, there are things that stop you writing. Fear of not being good enough is right at the top of my list, but there are many more reasons why we each hit that wall. Take a moment to think about what stops you as an individual. Focus on dealing with those elements, one at a time. And always remember that, in the long run, you write for yourself. So let yourself write.
Ready, set, go!