Friday, December 2, 2016

8 Ways to Break Writer's Block

You jump on the creative train and the passengers are missing. 
You check the first train car: conductor gone.

There's no one to help you but you. Happens to the new and veteran of the writing realm. What do you do? You don't know so here's what I do. It may not work for you. These are just ideas to get it going again.


1. Start on something you are not supposed to be doing. Or you are supposed to be doing but didn't want to do in the first place.

I'm very serious. When I worked, my creativity bugged the crap out of me when I was actually working on work, instead of working on drawing or writing. I can't explain it. Ask a neuropsychologist. Ask my neuroscience professor. She was amazing. It's like when you're not thinking about it, stressing that part of the brain, your brain can relax. It's like your brain had to go pee, but you're staring at it, waiting for it to happen. The brain can't go when you're creepy. So do something else and it'll be able to relieve itself.


1) Re-read your work! Get back into your story! Haven't written for a while? You might have to read your entire story to get the feel for it again. Sit down, pen 'n' paper close to you, and just read it. Don't focus on the errors, focus on the tone and plot. You need to understand your protagonist again and you need to see where you might have been going with the book.

If I'm stuck, I read the chapters that are huge in plot info. Like a plan that the characters are about to go through or a secret that hasn't been spilled yet. Jot it down so you remember when you start writing again. Need posties? Use them instead. Super Sticky Post-It notes are amazing to keep on the wall by your writing space.

2) Read someone else's work. I got the Longmire series handy because I love his active voice and simple sentences. I get into the mind of Sheriff Longmire and it's peaceful how he is attentive to detail but oblivious to people's romantic interest in him. He remembers what people wear or how they talk. Craig Johnson, author, keeps you in the mind of the sheriff by focusing his perspective in places with sharp prose. They're light reads for a reason. He's very good at getting the point across without sacrificing setting or inner drama. (You might have read elsewhere I love's not even my genre to love, yet here I am.)


1) I know this seems backwards, it's not. Write something you know you can keep writing about. Doesn't have to be your story. Example: I have three projects, two are fan fictions because they're fun, the other is my potential money-maker so that remains top priority. Go through your fun writings, ones you don't have to worry about getting wrong or beating a deadline, or whatever your case is. Write your fan fic, or write something that excites you, or just write about your feelings. Maybe dive into writing about your character's feelings. Free flow writing can really help break that block.

2) Write about writer's block. You'll be researching all the ways to break it, then you write about it, and you end up with an entire blog. (Oh look at that. I just did what I said. Ha!)


1) 30 minutes of working out helps blood flow and boosts your body and mind. Endorphins, anyone? Don't go killin' yourself on some hardcore workout though. You need you to be able to sit at your writing nest for the next couple hours. DO NOT EXHAUST YOURSELF.

2) Download the Charity Miles app on your phone then go for a walk. Walking is a nice way of getting fresh air and experiencing outside. You get to smell and feel the environment around you. Your brain will go elsewhere and maybe that triggers something to write about. Have Notes or a voice recorder app handy.

I learned a few days ago that Don Brown takes workout breaks to keep the blood flowing. He'll do push-ups by his desk, so if this is my advice to you, and a renowned author also does it, then it must be good!


1) Drive to a destination. I once drove to a different place to buy food because I wanted to experience a different ambiance. I went to an asian market and type in Notes everything I smelled and felt. These are things books can do but movies can't: get you to feel what the character feels. Some books are straight up cinematics. You don't want that. So get all your senses in gear and drive somewhere. Did you know walking downtown New York City smells like warm, poopy diapers? Those big crates you walk over on the sidewalk wafts up the sewage and that's what I smell. It's pleasant to me, but could be nasty to someone else. Write everything down!

2) Drive without a destination. Scenic routes and a quiet drive might help you unwind. I don't recommend the freeway; go some place where you don't have to look every three seconds to see if someone's gonna cut you off. Go rural if you can. Once you know you can't worry about anything, your mind opens up, and thinks freely.


1) Make a playlist for your book or character. Got specific scenes that go with some of the music? Play it. Over and over, if you want to. There's a rhythm for songs, there's rhythm for chapters.

2) Listen to your favorite tracks, instrumental or vocal. If it's your favorite, your brain will love it.


1) Caffeine. One cup of coffee is good for a mental boost.

2) Nutritious meals that incorporate carbs, protein, and vegetables in one fill your stomach, and helps you focus. Starving yourself starves the brain and makes you cranky. Don't do that. Eat something.

And if all else fails...


1) Chances are you're overloaded, burned out, or whatever you wanna call it. Take a day off and sleep on it. You can choose to just take a nap, or just not work on your book at all that day, take the time to relax, forget about the book, and then go to bed your normal time. Then in the morning (or when ever you write), you're refreshed, and good to go!

If this list isn't exactly what you're looking for, I suggest this: 6 Hacks to Motivate Writing.

Tell me what works for you even if it's not on this list. Have you found something that helps you break writer's block? I wanna know about it!

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