Saturday, January 19, 2019

Writing Prompt Saturday ~ Fighting Writers' Block With Inspiration

There's nothing like being full of ideas, settling down to write then be mocked by the cursor blinking on your screen waiting for you to take the lead.

And waiting.

And waiting.

There is nothing more annoying than wanting to start, finish or add to a writing project only to have your muse fall deathly silent when you need her the most.

"Thanks for keeping me up all night with ideas, then shutting up when I'm ready to go!"

There are many authors and editors out there who don't buy into writers block. Even Stephen King has been quoted as saying, 'Just because something doesn't come right away, or you're afraid of it, an author should never just not write. Face it, write it and get it done.' I'll bet many of you are thinking, 'Easy for him to say!', but he's right. Not writing at all isn't going to clear the fog. Writing through it will.

I'm one of those writers (if there are any others out there like me, please stand up) who gets a story idea, envisions it from start to finish, then sits down and writes continuously until it's all right there. That's not how everyone works. But even I get stuck in a plot or scene from time-to-time. So how can we escape the dark grip of writers' brain freeze?

First, Mr. King is right. You can't cure these times by not writing at all because it's basically a form of procrastination. It's still going to be there later when you go back to it, right? Even if you take a break from it for a bit and work on something else, you're still writing and getting those creative juices flowing. Maybe in the process, the ideas will come back and you're good to go on the other project.

Next, figure out what exactly isn't working in the scene that you're struggling with. Have you moved in a totally different direction from where you wanted to go? Have you wandered away from the plot a bit? Did you put in 'too much' and are overwhelmed with trying to keep everything straight? I've done some of these too. The best books out there have enough characters who each contribute a vital piece in the overall story but not so many that the reader gets confused trying to keep track of everyone.

Another tip is to try not to stop in the middle of a chapter or story. There's less of a chance of getting 'lost' when you've included all thoughts, etc. in one scene rather than stopping in the middle and having to go back and refresh yourself on where you were initially going. Sometimes it can't be helped. I have four kids running around here and I am constantly interrupted. What I've done is mark where I stopped and where I was going when I had to stop so that I have an easier time getting back to the mindset I was in when I left it.

Finally, it can also be good to have a few open projects to work among simultaneously so that if/when you get stuck on one, you always have another project to turn to. I don't recommend this to everyone, though, because it's so easy to accidentally mix one story's plot and ideas into another one. Usually, I have a writing project, something that is in the editing stage and something in the research stage so that this problem doesn't happen. At the very least doing this can help you go back to the first project with a clear mind and a fresh view.

Okay, those are some of my ideas. Our writing prompt today is to figure out what gets you into your writers' block funk, and what strategies you can try to break through it as soon as possible. Please share your tips as there may be a fellow writer who could use some extra insight.

Now, if you'll excuse me, my own distraction to inspire me to get back to one of my projects is to do all of my assigned blog posts. I think my muse is waking up a bit and I need to take advantage of her sudden burst of energy.

Good luck and happy writing.

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