Most authors at some point or another have suffered the dreaded writers’ block. These are my top tips for climbing over the blocking hurdle that most writers stumble over in their careers. I have covered these elsewhere before but are well worth mentioning again.
- Don’t agonise that your head is as empty as your page or screen. Walk away from it and do something else. Clear your mind and occupy yourself with other things. Go for a walk – always a good way of getting the creative flow going again.
- Put on some music. Your favourite CD. Music is mood enhancing. Music retrieves memories. Both of these can inspire. Not working? Then write about the actual words you are listening to. Write down the lyrics. Write your own lyrics to the melody. They might not make sense, but somewhere there will be the prompt, that little spark that turns on the word flow.
- Open the wardrobe door. Look at your clothes. Pick out your favourite outfit or dress or pair of shoes and then imagine the scene where you would most like to wear it. Imagine what you would like to happen. Whom you would like to meet? Imagine your heroine/hero in the outfit. Would it them? Would it be their style? If not, what would they, or you, like to wear, and why.
- Turn everything off, open the window and just listen. Listen to the sounds in the street, those around you. Can you hear bird song? Traffic noise? People talking? Something else? Write a few sentences about what you can hear. Now, what can you see? Again, write it down. Next, smell the air. Is it sweet, damp, of mown grass, or full of BBQ fumes? Imagine what is going on.
- Too cold, wet or windy to have the window open? Then what can you hear indoors in your writing room? A clock ticking? The hard drive on your computer whirring? What memories have you of clocks? Computers? The neighbours arguing? The kid across the road battling hell out of his new drum kit? Can you recall a funny instance concerning either of these or about anything else you can hear. Write it down. Create a scene. Unblock the mind.
- Turn on Google Images. Type in where you would most like to be in the world. Look at the photos that come up and then imagine yourself there. What would you be wearing? Why are you there? Are you meeting someone?
- Write the last scene of your novel and work backwards to where the lull is. This often occurs about half-way into the story – the sagging middle bit.
- Take a book from your library, preferably one you haven’t yet read, more preferably, one you are liable not to read. Write the second to last paragraph out. Then, using this as an opening gambit, write what happens next. Or, if you prefer, write a scene leading up to this final paragraph.
- Open any page in today’s newspaper. Pick one article or one leader. Write your own slant on it or a story around it, the characters, the location, the story behind the story.