We’ve all been there. We have a novel in the works. It’s so close to being done. It’s been months in the works. Every friend and family member has been asking when it’ll be done and we tell them “soon, soon”. But there’s that one part that we’re stuck on. That we can’t figure out and can’t find ideas for. We are stuck in the infamous rut known as writer’s block. And long story short, it sucks.
The good news is that there are solutions. There’s no one-size-fits-all cure for writer’s block, unfortunately, but there are some basic things you can do to help get the creative juices flowing. Try these tips and see if it helps at all.
Take a walk and pay attention to your surroundings
Try taking a walk in the park or in a nearby area. During this walk, don’t just walk idly, but instead, pay special attention to everything you see. That plant that you know is there but never looked closely at? Pay attention to it. Look into the texture of the leaves. Notice the ladybug wandering around. Pay attention to the birds chirping nearby or how the dirt has little holes in it for whatever animal lives in it. Pay special attention to the people around you. Look at what they’re doing. Study their body language. Are they happy? Sad? Anxious? Look at people talking. Are they romantically involved? How can you tell? Is one more into the other? Is there something going on beneath the surface? Pay attention and take note. Soak in all these details during your walk and then see how you feel about your story. Often times, new ideas will start flowing. Nature has its way of sparking new ideas.
Read some stories or watch some videos
Try jumping into other people’s creative ideas. Is there a movie you’ve been itching to see? Watch it. Pay attention to it and see what you like. This will often lead to ideas. Consuming some Indica has often been known to relieve writer’s block.
Want a more budget option? Try doing some online reading. There are tons of free stories around in this day an age. Try some flash fiction sites. Enjoy a few stories. Again, pay careful attention to the details and see what you like. Have an opinion. If you have the poetry itch, maybe try reading from some poetry websites. There are even tons of reading apps out there.
If you’re feeling kind of busy, perhaps you can read short stories instead. There are wide varieties of short stories that might get your creative juices flowing, from scary stories to love stories. There are some very short stories out there, so there is no excuse for not being able to find time for a quick 2 minute read!
Want something more brainless? Even YouTube can be a good option. Find some good shorts (you might have better luck on Vimeo) and watch away. You want to get those neurons firing so by paying attention to creative endeavors, you’ll start warming up that creative muscle as well.
Do a free writing session
Often times, a big cause of writer’s block is our own uncertainty about our ideas. Do a simple writing exercise. Block off 30 minutes and just write. The only rule is that there are no bad ideas. When something comes to your mind, just write it out. No filtering. No editing. Just be free and write. It can be about anything. It can be any format. It can be poetry. It can be random words. It can be related to the story you’re working if you’d like. Just make sure you apply absolutely no filters.
You can also try your hand at fanfiction. Fanfiction is a lot of fun and low pressure as the stories come with built-in characters, scenarios, and incentives.
This can be hard at first but gets easier and easier as you continue and by the end of the 30 minutes, you’ll find yourself flush with new ideas.
These tricks always work for me when I’m stuck. Give it a whirl!