Freelance writer/photographer living in Perth, Western Australia. Visit my website rebeccakerr.com
Published January 25th 2013
Are you experiencing writer's block?
Have you ever experienced a moment during writing when your mind freezes and your imagination stops completely? You are not alone. Even professional writers experience this issue; however over time they find methods to overcome this career threatening move.
Today I am sharing with you five methods that I use to help get past my writer's block when it strikes. Just remember everyone is different when it comes to resparking the imagination. Obviously there are many other methods to try out, and really I could go on forever, but I had to limit myself and I chose five. If these five do not work for you try alternative methods.
To take advantage of 'stream of consciousness writing' just grab a pen and paper.
Sometimes writing the same thing can cause your mind to become bored. So it can be rather beneficial to leave the project that you are on for a while (short term: hours, days or weeks) and write something new. This method can relax the mind and get it excited again about creating. And who knows, you may even stumble upon a great new story during this process.
2. Morning Pages. A friend introduced this method to me. Julia Cameron's suggested method is to write three pages of words non-stop in 'long hand' every morning to help focus the mind for the day ahead. Write whatever comes into your mind. Do not worry about punctuation. This is just free writing, 'a stream of consciousness. Nothing is meant to make sense. It is designed to get the thoughts that are cluttering your mind out of there and on paper.
I prefer to write on my laptop, so I follow the 750 word alternative. To help to get my imagination back on track I begin by writing about what is on my mind, kind of like a diary, and then by the halfway point I can begin writing creatively again. I use the remaining words to focus on the story or report I am writing to help expand the final project. Remember to stay in the free writing mode at all times.
3. Go somewhere inspirational. Being couped up in a house or office can stress the mind. Get out and view the scenery of the world. Where is it that makes you feel the most relaxed? For me this is Kings Parks. I like to go there to listen to the sounds, smell the environment, and breathe the fresh air. Alternatively will go to a coffee shop where am watch others interact while sipping on coffee and scribbling in a notepad.
Ideally you should choose a location that suits the location of where your story is set. Try being in your story rather than just telling it.
4. Read something similar. Grab a book, magazine or search online for something in a similar style. Sometimes your brain can freeze because it worries about structure. "Am I structuring this right?" If this is your main thought then definitely give this one a go. This method can help your mind relax if it has gone into panic mode over structure. It is a good technique to use in your free time as well to help teach your mind about structure, so this kind of block is less likely to occur in the future.
5. Walk away.
Sometimes, the best thing is to just walk away completely. Obviously not the best option for deadlines, but great for hobbyists or if you are not restricted. In reality this is the worst case scenario where your writers block has become so stubborn that nothing will help free your mind. Sometimes you just become so tired of a story that it needs to be filed away for a few months or years. This is not giving up. It is just a part of the creative mind in all its quirky glory.
What ever your project you can overcome your Writer's Block.
My biggest tip of all is to never force your creative mind. Think of it as though it is a wounded animal, be gentle and it is likely to cooperate with you. Become forceful and it will go into fight or flight mode and most likely freeze on you or attack you by sabotaging your work.
The more you practice your writing and how to overcome writer's block the stronger your imagination will become and it will thrive.
Very true. I find that when you spend time with morning pages, sometimes really cool things pop out of nowhere. Another thing, I do is take an incident, usually something that randomly happens to me and I start adding/changing the details. The results are always interesting.