There comes a time in every writer’s career when they face the most disorienting and frustrating time that they could possibly imagine. You have heard the phrase before: writer’s block. This could be because you are becoming bored with your writing or you have suddenly become drained of ideas in the midst of exhaustion. Sometimes this comes on from the added stress of a deadline. As an author of seven books, going on eight, I have faced this challenge several times and have learned a few tricks on getting around it. I will be going over a few techniques that I have found helpful over the years and am hoping that you will too.
Take a Rest!
This may sound simple, but one of the most effective processes for me has been to take a rest. It can be anywhere from a couple of hours to several weeks. Now, taking two weeks off from writing may not help if you have a deadline. But maybe going out to the store or a park and looking for inspiration and serenity for a few hours may not be such a bad idea. You may even see a new book character walking towards you in the soup aisle!
Write Some More!
I am serious. Write some more. But do not work on the project that is frustrating you! Work on something completely different. Maybe write the first chapter or two of that other book idea that is dancing in the back of your head. It is absolutely ok to write multiple books at once. Or maybe write a short story about one of your characters being in a completely different setting. It never has to be seen or published, or maybe you will accidentally write a fantastic short story for Kindle! This really helps to get your creative juices flowing and may even offer some different ideas for your other book. Steal away a scene or conversation that you wrote in your random short story and place it in the book that is causing frustration. Now you have new material that you may not have stumbled across otherwise.
This is a technique for you to do in advance before you are hit with the writing blahs. Do you remember that scene or dialogue in your story where you read it again and it did not seem to really fit in? So, what did you do? You highlighted the entire section and hit the backspace button.
You have valuable material in there! No matter how unfitting or boring it may seem, cut and paste it into another document and save all of your scenes that did not make the cut into a document titled, “Deleted Scenes.” Why would you do this? Because when you are writing a later section in the book or even a completely separate story a few months down the road, you might find that the conversation between two characters in one story that seemed mediocre to you at the time may fit in perfectly with your new work. The whole section is already written up. You just need to copy and paste it into the story, change a few names, adjust the structure, and presto! Your work is done. And now you can even come up with more ideas for your story because you might actually be able to elaborate on your old ideas in a completely new and jaw-dropping way!
Talk it Out!
My final word of advice is to talk it out! Discuss your story with someone you trust such as a parent, spouse, sibling, or close friend. Be careful who you share your ideas with. But sometimes just talking out loud lets your brain reach out for ideas farther than you ever imagined it could!
Remember, some of these techniques may not always help. But maybe one of these ideas will inspire a new technique for you that does work. Our amazing, individual brains all work extremely differently, and when we work together to come up with ideas, we can come up with something amazing!
© 2017, Andrea Hintz. All rights reserved.