Have you ever found yourself writing something – or working on another kind of project? – and then just feeling . . . STUCK? It’s like your brain has been sucked dry of all the good, exciting, enchanting ideas you were bubbling over with before you started putting words on the page.
Some people call this WRITER’S BLOCK, a mystical magical condition that only affects people trying to write creatively.
Pssssh, I say. PSSSH!
It’s not that I don’t believe that we get stuck and blocked and find ourselves struggling with a project. I just think it’s normal for ANY kind of project where you don’t have specific instructions and guidelines. Where you are trying to translate stuff in your brain into something that other people can see or read or hear or touch or taste. Because that’s a tricky business. You’re converting thoughts and mental images into something tangible.
And as enthusiastic as we might be when we’re at the IDEAS! stage, making something is when it turns into work. I don’t mean that it has to be horrible – work can be great and rewarding – but you do have to bring energy and focus and discipline and dedication to make sure you’re really making the thing. Instead of just thinking about it. Instead of hoping about it.
It’s easier to just think about it.
At least in the short term. Because in the long term, we are happier when we have made something instead of thought about making something and never getting around to it.
So if you’re feeling a bit stuck with your writing, here are five things to try instead of just giving up:
- Go for a walk. Ideas will come when you’re walking – sometimes because doing something physical is a great way of clearing your head, and sometimes because you might see something interesting that’ll spark an idea.
- Listen to a song that you find inspiring. It might be super-cheesy but that’s okay – once it makes you feel like you can DO something. (I really like anything by Scouting by Girls and also anything from Disney musicals.)
- Read a poem. Reading a book can also be great, but then you might end up reading the whole thing and never get back to your own work. Poems are shorter and more intense and can make you feel like you want to create something that beautiful too.
- Read a blog post from a writer that you love about their writing process. Just one! Even if they write in a completely different way to how you do, it can still be inspiring to remember that the cool books out there don’t just wink into existence, perfectly-formed.
- Express your story idea, or part of it, in an art form that isn’t writing. Design your book cover. Create a playlist. Make up a song about it. Invent a dance move that your main character is really good at. Draw the outfit your character’s best friend wears. Go to a charity shop and look at items that your character might own, objects that might be in their house. Sketch out a map of somewhere important in the story.
Good luck and happy getting unstuck!