Writer’s Block | The Write Track #3

Ironically, I meant to post this at the end of last month but I didn’t know what to say… My writer’s block was so bad I couldn’t even write about having it! Thankfully, I managed to get myself out of the slump and am tapping away at my keyboard once more but I am painfully aware that writer’s block can strike anyone at anytime. So I’ve made a list of some things that help me when I just can’t find the words

  1. Stop.

I should point out, I’m not saying give up on your writing altogether! Definitely, do not do that. But, sometimes when you’re suddenly hit with a bout of writer’s block you can end up staring mindlessly at your computer screen for hours on end without actually doing anything. All this accomplishes is that it makes you feel unmotivated and like a bit of a failure. So, when the words just aren’t flowing, try closing your laptop for a few hours and go for a walk, do some housework, or take a nap. Anything but staring at that blank page!

2. Listen to music

This might sound very basic but finding the right song or album by an artist that you really love can be exactly what you need to get your creative juices flowing again. It could be any kind of music, something that makes you want to get up and dance to really motivate you or something slower to calm yourself down. My personal favourites are Taylor Swift’s RED or Lorde’s Melodrama. They both have a great mix of slow and fast paced lyrics with some really cutting lyrics that make me want to write something that’s equally brilliant. Alternatively, you could compose a playlist of songs that motivate you and help you focus.

3. Read (obviously)

Chances are, if you have a pssion for writing, you also love reading, so for some people reading this, it might seem obvious. Reading is kind of my go to solution for anything, if I’m stressed, bored, can’t sleep, can’t stay awake, scared – you name it! Therefore it’s hardly a surprise that I would turn to books when I’m struggling to write my own. Reading somebody else’s work can have the same effect on me as a really clever song lyric in that it makes me desperate to write something similar. Sometimes going to a book shop and seeing all the beautiful, finished books on the shelves can be enough to motivate me. Knowing that all those authors poured their hearts into those pages and probably suffered from writer’s block too but still made it to the finish line, is enough to spur me on.

4. Watch your favourite TV show/film

I don’t necessarily mean your favourite show/film (As brilliant as Jack Black is, I don’t think School of Rock is going to help me write my novel) but the one that inspires you the most. Whether that’s for the storyline or one particular line. Personally, I recommend Not Another Happy Ending about a struggling author who’s characters start coming to life. Although I have to admit, I’m currently addicted to Jane the Virgin and Jane’s love for writing and determination to become a published author is very motivating.

5. Keep writing…

So, this completely contradicts my first tip but hear me out. It’s important to stop sometimes, to help gather your thoughts and reevaluate your ideas, make sure you’re on the right track with your work. BUT sometimes writer’s block can drag on and the only solution is to keep pushing through. If you’re stuck on one particular chapter, skip to the next one. If you know how you want the story to end but don’t know how to get there, write the ending and work backwards. If you are completley stuck on your current just write anything, write a personal journal entry. Go to a pulic place and write about the people you can see. Your words can be as simple as you like, bullet points even, then bit by bit, you can flesh out your work and slowly but surely, the writer’s block will start to drift away – trust me!

Writer’s block can be very annoying and sometimes it feels permanent but it never is. If you have any other tips please let me know in the comments. Just remember the pride, happiness and relief you feel when you write that final word is worth all the stress of getting there!

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Inspiration and Motivation | The Write Track #2

Inspiration can hit at any moment, at work or in the middle of the night. It can come from the strangest places. For example, I got the inspiration for the novel I’m currently working on whilst I was watching Into the Woods, the link between that film and my idea is fairly tenuous, (there is one scene in my novel that takes place in a forest) so I’m not sure why the idea came to me at that time! Most of my inspiration comes from things that happen in my life. Sometimes it comes from watching films or listening to music and sometimes it can come for no reason. Or, sometimes it doesn’t come at all. My best advice is not to ignore inspiration when it comes to you, especially if, like me, you have many long periods of time when you have absolutely no inspiration.
After many occasions where I’ve been struck with a really good idea only to forget it when I sit down to write, I’ve gotten into the habit of carrying a notebook around in my bag so I can jot down any ideas that come to me throughout the day. I also use the notes app on my phone – there are some late night thoughts that would need an Enigma machine to decode them!

As for motivation, this is where I struggle. A lot. No matter how much I want to be a published author, I struggle to motivate myself to actually sit down at the computer. A lot of this depends on the strength of my idea. If I’m not that invested in the story, I won’t want to write it. That being said, I’m a master at procrastination and even if I have the best idea in the world, there will still be times when I want to do anything but write. Really, the only way I have to combat this is to keep telling myself that I’ll never be an author if I don’t actually write a book. I’m also trying to write (at least) 200 words every day. My hope is that if I make it a part of my daily routine, it will be easier to write even when I don’t want to.

Where do you get your inspiration and motivation from? What do you do when you don’t have any of either? Let me know in the comments!