There comes a time in every writer’s life when you’re ready to write – you have your music playlist raring to go and a fresh mug of coffee sitting next to you – but try as you might, you still find yourself staring at a blank page. To remedy the situation, you begin to scour pinterest for inspiration or even type the phrase “writing prompts” into Google, hoping you’ll come across something to finally launch yourself into writing. But nothing pops out at you and you’re just wasting more time.
If you’re looking for some techniques that might challenge you to overcome your writer’s block once and for all, perhaps these ideas might help:
Shake It Up. Step outside of your usual comfort zone when it comes to your creative endeavors. Always leaning toward fantasy stories? Try writing a horror. Prefer to write in first person POV? Attempt the same story, but in third person. I’m always amazed at what I can unlock from a story whenever I switch the perspective.
This strategy works well for the poets out there, too. Can’t get away from free-verse poems? Try something more structured, like end-rhymes or pentameter.
Comb The Archives. We all have work that is hidden away in our computer folders. Stories that have been completed for years and haven’t been looked at since. Your writing skills should have improved during the time span that it was originally written, so perhaps it’s worth taking a glance at it again. Maybe you’d take the story into a new direction now? Or add onto it? Maybe you’d like to explore the backstory of one of the side characters?
Or you can just heed my previous advice and take that story into a whole new genre to see how the group of characters would fare in their new environment. The possibilities!
Recall a Memory. Memories of your own life can be great jumping off points for something fictional. I mean, all of your writing has elements of yourself within it. Might as well embrace the idea. And if you can’t think of some kind of “interesting” memory, you can always write about the seemingly mundane routine to your job/school this morning. What would the route look like through someone else’s eyes? Or if something crazy actually happened instead that prevented you from reaching your destination? If that doesn’t work, then there are always other people’s exciting personal memories that you can borrow from – provided that you don’t use their names in your stories.
Don’t Overthink It. This can be difficult for some writers (myself included). But overthinking about what to write or where the plot should be going or what kind of diction should be used can be paralyzing. So just pick an idea and run with it. Write until the idea tampers off. It may be only 400 words on the page, but it’s still considered a success because you actually wrote something. Which was the goal all along! And who knows? It might be the inspiration for that next big idea.
Need more ideas? Check out our past blog posts about the subject! For example, how Camera works through her own writer’s block. Want to take a look at writing prompts after all? See Sharnita’s favorite types of prompts or actual prompts suggested by Bethany.
Did any of these strategies prove useful to you? Got any other tips on how to escape the dreaded writer’s block? We’d love to read about it in the comments!
– Amanda Matkowski