These two words bring terror to every author. Any author who tells you he or she has never felt writers block is either a genius or lying. We have all experienced it at some time in some form or another. Have you ever sat down to write and find yourself staring at the screen for several minutes? Sure you have, but for most, those few seconds or minutes pass and the story continues. For those unfortunate authors where the minutes tick on to hours, days, month, it’s terrifying.
What do you do when the words just won’t come, when the story simply won’t progress, when the characters are silent?
Do not throw your computer or laptop out the window. This electronic writing tool has done nothing wrong, why make it suffer. You do not want to be known as a computer killer.
Don’t give up: I know it’s frustrating, believe me I know. I’ve been in that boat where the words refuse to flow. But refused to give up. I love my job too much to walk away from it. So just be patient.
Now, for some “Do’s”.
Put it out of your mind. Walk away, give yourself a few days and don’t think about what you can’t do. The more you dwell on your lack of creations the worse it will be. Spend some time outside. Fresh air can be a great brain de-clogger.
Watch a good movie. Sometimes watching a movie can jar loose the brain fog. It’s worked for me, especially watching a really bad movie. I come out of it thinking, “Hell, I can do better than that.” Then I sit down and prove myself right.
Read. Books are great motivators and help stir your own creative juices.
Find a project to take your mind off of your woes. It can be anything at all. Crotchet or knit a blanket for your kids, parents, siblings, or the guy next door who keeps giving you that sexy twinkle. Or, if knitting and crocheting aren’t your forte, try gardening. If you’re a guy, work on a car, go hang out with your buddies or try the recommended remedy for stress that my hubby loves. Video games. Just make sure they have a lot of gun fire, destruction and swearing. J
Maybe try redecorating your home. It works for me. Sometimes placing your creativity in a different direction temporarily can help jar the story loose that’s plugged in your brain. But think before painting the walls in your house bright yellow with black stripes or lime green with orange flowers. That is just so wrong.
Sit down with a pad and paper and jot down why you’re having trouble getting the story to flow. You may just find it’s something easily remedied.
Get some sleep. Lack of sleep will make your brain sluggish. Take a nap, and try to get at least eight hours a night.
Exercise. Okay, who threw that pen at me? I know, who wants to exercise but it can help brain flow. I’m not talking buying yourself a Bow Flex or joining the gym and sweating until you drop. It can be as easy as taking a walk or doing some jumping jacks.
Try writing out of sequence. If you have some ideas for later on in the book but you’re stuck on chapter three and you just can’t seem to get past it, write the part that’s begging to be written. There is no law that says a book has to be written in order. If you have the ending already in your mind, then write it down. If chapter twelve is begging to spring forth, jot it down. It could very well jar loose the rest of brain and Chapter three might just come to you.
Work on more than one project at a time. For some authors, this works. If you’re stuck in one novel, switch to another.
Get together with other authors and have a gab session about your book. Talk about what you want from it, why you’re stuck. They may have some good ideas that will help you knock your brain back in gear. Or simply have a good cry because you need to. Whatever works.
Also, what is your work space like? If the chair you sit in is too uncomfortable, you may be having trouble concentrating on the task at hand. Same thing can apply for having a chair that is too comfy. If sitting in your chair brings to mind a nice nap rather than a hot story then I suggest a change in furniture. Is your work area cluttered? Often the mind can’t concentrate if the work area is too busy.
Writers block is no fun but there are ways of remedying it. You feel like a failure, like you’ll never be able to write another sentence never mind another book. But this too shall pass. I know it’s scary but like I said, the more you dwell on it, the worse it will be.
And if all else fails, grab a bottle of wine and get drunk. J What the hell, right? And who knows what ideas might come to you in your drunken stupor. J
Raised on a rural farm in Saskatchewan, Shiela Stewart relied on her vivid imagination to fill her days. Never did she realize that her need to tell a story would someday lead to becoming a published romance author. In the fall of two thousand and six, Shiela published her very first book and hasn’t stopped since.
When not writing, Shiela spends time with the love of her life, William and their three children. She has a strong affection for animals which is evident in the four cats, one dog, three turtles, two finch birds and four fish she owns. Some of her passions aside from writing are drawing and painting and proudly displays her artwork in murals in her home.
Her favorite time of day is sunset and loves to stargaze.
Check out the Darkness series at www.breathlesspress.com