Why does something so insidiously paralytic have such an innocuous name? If it hadn’t been something my teachers warned us about and we all lamented over since elementary school, I don’t know what definitions my brain would have jumped to…a tool only gifted to the most prestigious of writers? A kung fu move reserved for literature buffs? (See what I did there.) An incurable condition? (Alternatively, the real reason why it strikes fear into the hearts of parents worldwide?) Or…
I wish it were that simple. The incurable condition definition comes pretty darn close.
As a thought bubbles up in your brain, write it down – everything from my arm itches to what if the dinosaurs aren’t dead. One thing about writers (okay, people in general…) – we’re really self-judgmental. Just because it feels like you have no thoughts, doesn’t mean you actually don’t have any; what’s more likely is that you think all the thoughts are bad and unworthy of being written down. Sure, you don’t see any interesting directions in which your sparks can grow, but maybe that’s just because your thoughts are disorganized. So, write it all out, and piece it together later, like a puzzle.
Find a Muse:
This one’s another classic. Take a phrase, idea, song, question, title, character, era, and use it as your personal Muse – an inspirational prompt. If you can’t think of any, ask Google, a friend, a teacher, or just ask WordPress!
Repeat a Word:
Andandandandandandandandandandandandandandandandandand eventually your brain will come up with some other word to follow. Before you know it, you’ll have a sentence. And then another. And another.
Finish a story. Any story. I don’t care how long it is – maybe all you got is that some chick named Jill tumbled down a hill. Cool, write it. Then write another, and another, as many as you can. Sure, maybe it’s not the bookshortstoryepicpoem you want, but what you’re doing is sowing seeds. Come back to them later; you never know what’ll spark your imagination – or that some of your little stories already interconnect!
Sometimes, all you need is a deadline. That’s how I got any essays done in college whatsoever – a ticking clock and a burst of adrenaline will put words on paper.
I know I get obsessive about ending my stories – if I can’t find some place for it to go, I might as well have accomplished nothing. Not true! Got a great opening scene? Put it down, and then send it to a friend. Let them pick at their brains for the next scene and send it back to you.
For the more private of writers, try it online: http://www.storytimed.com/
Eat a Kit-Kat:
Take a break.
But listen, this is important: COME BACK TO THE PAGE. This doesn’t mean banging your head on the same story you were working unsuccessfully on. Just come back, that day, and write anything. Otherwise, that short break can and will turn into a week – a month – or several months. And before you know it, the same frustration and insecurity that necessitated a break will now shell you out and make it even harder to come back to any page.
I’m not saying that any piece you write will turn into your masterpiece. But, it will stop you from becoming the Tin Man; it’ll keep your mind well-oiled. Remember, your brain is a muscle. It needs exercise like any other part of your body, so pick up a pen, or bring your fingers to that key board, and do anything you can to get your creative juices flowing.
Any ways you combat writer’s block? Comment below!!