By: Editorial Intern, Anjali Ajmani
We all know that writer’s block is frustrating. Picture it: you’ve written several chapters that you feel great about until one morning you hit a door. You felt like you knew where you were going, that you knew where your characters would take you, but then you don’t. You start to type some words, but nothing seems to flow like you want it to.
I have heard that when an author experiences a bout of writer’s block, it’s important to write through your lapse in creativity and to just see where your writing goes. Having tried that myself, I haven’t found it helpful. What ends up happening is that I delete whatever it is that I’ve written. My advice to authors is to take a break from your writing. Your writing will not decide to abandon your desk or your computer’s drive one day. The following list will help guide you, the author, out of your writer’s block. One of my favorite English professors in college constantly reminded my class that writing is a ‘process of discovery.’ Let your freedom from your writing help you discover something about yourself and your project.
- Grab a dictionary or a thesaurus. Look up new words. You’ll see that when you find a word that you like, you’ll start forming pictures in your head. You might even get the perfect sentence for what you want to describe. Sometimes, it takes just one sentence to break through the dam of ideas in your head.
- Grab a children’s book. Children’s books are simple, but inside those pages of simplicity are lines of beauty and wonder. When I read a children’s book, I’m usually reminded of my childhood. I think back to my favorite childhood authors, becoming inspired to change the tone of my writing. At times, I realize that the tone of my writing is too serious. Having a children’s book to fall back on helps me soften any rigidity in my writing.
- Try a different genre of writing. Give your mind a break from your usual writing routine. For example, if you usually write fiction, try composing a poem.
- Exert yourself. I find that pulling weeds helps me get my frustration out. There is something about that little tug of destruction that I find enormously satisfying.
- Go to the grocery store. Yup, you read correctly. The grocery store. Pick up boxes and read ingredient labels. Buy ingredients for a soup or a salad, something that requires a hefty mixture of items. Be choosy. Find the freshest tomato, or grab the bread that just got done baking. Think of your writing as ingredients for that soup, salad, or whatever it is that you want to make. This thinking will provide you with the mental structure that you need to get out of your writing rut.
- Meditate. Find the place that makes you the most happy. Clearing my mind is easiest when I’m sitting outside under the stars.
- Brainstorm. When I was having trouble working on my novel, my mother told me to journal words, places, feelings, and anything really that could give me a shot of inspiration.
The most important thing to realize is the following: accept that your writer’s block is not an end to your writing.