Hello Sweet Peas!
Welcome to day 20 of Blog a Day in May!
I was a bit uninspired for today’s post. I couldn’t think of anything I wanted to write about. It was as I was searching for inspiration that I figured, getting over writer’s block might actually be an interesting post in itself. Well, I hope so anyway.
When I say writer’s block, this could be for blog posts, stories, poems, articles, anything that involves you having to think creatively and write it down! Writer’s block is one of the worst things for a writer. You know there is a good idea there, but you are empty! You need something to kick start you again.
Here are some of my tips for pushing through Writer’s block.
1. Pinterest – To be honest, no matter what kind of inspiration you need, Pinterest in your friend. But for writers, it can be a useful tool in many ways. For instance, if you want to describe a character, but you’re struggling to picture them properly in order to describe them in detail. Go to Pinterest and search for pictures of people with some of the features you want that character to have; black hair, green eyes, a facial scar…oh wait that’s Harry Potter. Go through some pictures and find more features you want your character to have like a pronounced cupid’s bow and start describing each feature in detail. You probably won’t use most of it, but you’ll have got into a rhythm of writing again and now you know you characters appearance inside and out…you know what I mean.
The other way you can use Pinterest is for a starting point. So many people have posted starter sentences, story ideas, blogging inspiration. Have a scroll through and I can almost guarantee you, there will be something that catches your eyes. Most of the time I don’t even end up writing about the thing I found, but reading the inspiration starts your creatives juices flowing again.
2. Listen to Music – If I’m struggling to imagine a scene, I sometimes find music helps to beat the block. Almost like a stutter can be overcome by singing. If the scene is fast-paced, a fight scene, for example, I will listen to fast-paced songs and try to imagine the scene in my head, once I think I got a good sequence I will replay the song a few time until I can replay the scene in my head. Then I start to write it down. I am currently writing a story with a confrontation scene and the song that pulled it all together was “Going Down” from Descendants 2! Spotify is great for discovering new songs to ignite your imagination.
3. People watch – I know your mother always told you not to stare, but I am giving you creative permission to do so. The greatest inspiration for fictional people is actual people. Take yourself to the public, go for a coffee, go on the bus, sit on a bench in a town square or park. Just sit, watch and listen. Obviously, don’t stare at people and make them uncomfortable. To do this point you will need to learn the art of people watching. (My mother and I are very talented at this). Take a notepad with you and write down little snippets of characterisation, dialogue, scene setting. To some of you, this might sound a little creepy, but I can bet you a lot of your favourite writer will have done this at some point or another. (J.K Rowling for instance…and we’re back to Harry Potter). Disclaimer! Be an observer, DO NOT STALK PEOPLE!
4. Read! – My mentor at University once said to me; ‘If you’re not writing then you should be reading.’ Every writer has a different style and perception of the world. By reading lots of different works by lots of different writers you are exposing yourself to new techniques and new ideas. If you can bear it (and many can’t) keep a pencil with you when you read a book so that if you come across something you think is interesting or something you want to try doing for yourself, you can make a note. I also keep small sticky notes handy so I can save pages. My books are covered in notes and coloured scraps of paper. I know my best mate is probably reading this post with wide eyes because he recently lent me his favourite book. Don’t worry, Lala I restrained myself!
5. Colour description game – This game is good if you are completely blank of what to write. Choose a colour (stick to basic colours) and start describing every object in your line of sight that is that colour. Still not inspired? Do another colour. Once you find something that grabs your attention keep going! What you’re writing might end up being a pile of rubbish, or it might be the beginning of the best work you’ve ever written. You won’t know until you write it down!
6. 15 minutes of drivel – Another great game to play to get your creative juices flowing! Get yourself a sentence starter, like the ones I mentioned in the first point and set yourself a 15-minute timer. Start the time and just write. Write whatever comes into your head, including internal monologue. The aim of this is to keep your pen moving on the paper for the whole 15 minutes. This isn’t meant to produce the next bestseller, it’s an exercise to get your writing. Sometimes, when I do this the page looks something like this; “And then when darkness fell….. I don’t know what I’m doing….it fell like a curtain over the world..that’s crap, why am I doing this…because I’m Batman…..the darkness fell like a shawl over the city, cutting off any light to the people within it… I don’t like the word shawl…reminds me of an old woman…old women can be scary….right??????” (I legit copied this from one of my notebooks). See what I mean? I honestly, can’t tell you why this works, but it does. It’s almost as though, by writing your internal thoughts on the page you are clearing them out of your head, making room for the creative thoughts!
7. Method Writing – This is another bit of wonderful advice my mentor gave me in university. (I did study creative writing, by the way, this advice would be a bit weird if I was a science major). When you’re writing and you’re struggling to describe a scene, try putting yourself in that scene. He told he once wrote a story about a child hiding in a box. He was struggling to describe how the boy felt in the box, so he brought a box and sat in it for an hour. I did a similar tactic when writing the opening chapter to my novel. One of my characters was holding the other down. Now, I’ve never held a struggling person down before, so had no idea who to describe it. Lucky my housemate was easy persuaded with a promise of Chinese food. I literally sat on top of her, holding her down while she struggled to get away. The description ended up being really good…though I’m not going to tell her I scrapped the chapter a year later. My point is if you don’t know how to describe something in detail because you’ve never experienced it for yourself, try and experience it! Put yourself in your characters shoes! (Please don’t put yourself through pain or danger though!).
8. Chat someone’s ear off – Sometimes the idea is there, you just have to talk it through with someone…even if they have no idea what the heck you are on about. While I was away at University, my poor housemate had to listen to me ramble quite a lot and then I would suddenly disappear when an idea struck and wouldn’t reappear for several hours. These days I ramble to either my mother or my editor. If you don’t have anyone handy, talk to yourself. It’s the act of saying it out loud I find helps. It also helps to have someone who has no idea what you’re talking about (my mother) to give you the average joe response to your ideas and then someone who you can bounce ideas off (my editor). Once again, it’s about bringing your idea into the real world!
9. Change location – I am currently back home with my parents while I save for a place of my own. I am driving them nuts with my writing habits. Some people have a certain place where they write, others (like myself) have to move around a lot. I can’t write in the same place for very long, I feel like the energy gets stale…I’m aware how weird that sounds. For instance, while writing this post I have moved three times. If you’re not finding your environment inspiring, or there is something too exciting in your close proximity that is distracting you, move! Try some different locations, sit in different seats, lie in different positions. How you feel about your space is going to affect your writing, so make sure you’ve got it right.
10. Just write something! – You’ve probably guessed it from reading the other points, but my biggest tip is to just write something. It doesn’t have to be amazing, it doesn’t even have to make sense! Just get the words down! I always like to imagine the first draft as the beginning of a flower bed. Before you can get the beautiful flowers you have to shove down some dirt. First drafts are meant to be crap so try not to edit your work while you are writing your first draft, it will disrupt your flow. You can always go back and build on it later, but you have to get the dirt down first!
Those are my tip for getting inspired and pushing through writer block!
Let me know in the comments if you would like to see more posts about creative writing!
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