Anytime you sit down at the keyboard to punch out a few lines on your next project; there is always the risk that you cannot find the right groove or inspiration. The more you struggle to get the words out, the more frustrating and challenging it can become. Minutes turn to hours, and hours to days, and still nothing.
Writer’s block is not a unique situation; every writer, no matter how skilled and accomplished, will find times when inspiration seems lost. One of the tricks to being a successful writer is knowing where to look to get back that inspiration.
Finding the inspiration for writing is possible. Let’s take a look at some tips to overcome writer’s block:
1. Change of scenery
Start with something simple. Sometimes it is just about getting away from your desk and having a change of scenery. Go out into nature, take a walk. This action will help you relax, and a relaxed mind can more easily come up with cohesive thoughts and better sentences than a tense mind.
Identify what you are personally passionate about. Is there an issue in which you are primarily interested? Your interests may resonate with others, which would give you a willing audience wanting to read more on the topic.
From your passions, you may glean an outline for a book and begin to flesh it out the more you think about it. From your desires, a book may take seed and blossom.
3. Fresh & Unique
Search beyond what is considered conventional. Your next book should be filled with new ideas, something unique and exciting. Publishers look for book outlines that are out of the box, a book with a unique presentation or discussion. Try and be fresh.
4. Special Features
Look at the books of some of your favourite authors. Do they use a particular technique or feature you can emulate with your topic? What was it about those books that drew you in and begged you to read?
5. New Impressions
Maybe you need a new perspective. Do something new to jostle your thought process. Try something extreme such as skydiving or scuba diving; if that’s a bit too out there for you, go hiking or finally visit that odd restaurant with a different ethnic cuisine. New impressions and perspectives always have an effect on inspiration.
Freewriting is writing about a certain topic for 10-15 minutes, and can be used as a way to find a breakthrough in writer’s block. It is intended to get your thoughts flowing freely. You start with a prompt that could be an emotion, a place, or an experience.
Take that prompt and write about it for a short period. It is suggested to do this on a regular basis just to keep you thinking and writing and growing. An excellent example of the freewriting technique can be found here on wikiHow.
Talking with a friend may sometimes help you identify a topic or area that is ready for you to explore and write. You can brainstorm. Discuss ideas with friends and try to imagine a storyline or plot for your new book. Your friends may have suggestions for you. It might be something you cannot see for yourself. Good friends are hard to find, so if you have one or two, trust their judgment.
There may be a subject matter expert in your region whom you could interview on the topic you have identified. Collect all the information you gain from these interviews. Organise the thoughts and ideas to determine if there is anything worth including in your new book.
8. Professional Help
If you have your topic but just cannot get the words to flow, you may need help from a writing professional. It is not about someone else writing the whole book, but it could be they give you some ideas on one particular topic which would be just enough to get the juices of your brain flowing to take over the project.
9. Inspiration from Other Writers
Sometimes it is beneficial to revisit the work of other successful writers. More than likely, great authors have gone through dry spells just as you have and can offer a nugget of wisdom to point you in the right direction. A great place to start is by looking up some of their great quotes about writing.
One of the age-old suggestions for many crossroads in life is to sleep on it. That can be true with writing. You may have a few thoughts or ideas that just won’t gel. Maybe sleeping on it will be helpful.
As you go to bed thinking of your book and the ideas surrounding it you may have dreams that give you the inspiration you need.
Be reassured, writer’s block will not last forever. Certainly, it can be frustrating while you are in the middle of it. But by putting into practice some of the suggestions above, you will change your focus from writer’s block and put it back into writing. Just that movement alone could do the trick.