It happens to every writer. Your creativity slows down, you find yourself at a standstill in your work, and you aren’t making any progress. Everything you try to write either comes out wrong or you can’t think of anything to write at all. We’ve all been there. The good news is that writer’s block doesn’t have to last forever. Here are 8 Simple Cures for Writer’s Block:
1) Introduce a new character
Bringing a new character into the situation means that you’ll have to make your main character interact with them. You’ll have to make some decisions about the role of this new character, and it starts the creative juices flowing. Before long, you’ll be back in the game and back to making progress.
2) Introduce a new conflict
Pick a fight with the boss, the boyfriend, the husband, the mother, or the best friend. Introduce a life-threatening illness or a car crash or a death in the family. You’ll have to think about how this is going to impact your main story line, and how you will get your character through this difficult time in their life, and that can start the creative ball rolling again.
Sometimes our creativity gets stifled because we’re trying to write about something outside of our experience and we’re afraid we’ll get it wrong. That’s okay. We live in an internet world, and there’s virtually limitless information available. Invest a day or three and do some research on the topic. Keep going until you find the inspiration you need to get back to writing.
4) Dive into the background
Fiction writers: Sometimes we’re having trouble writing because we don’t know our characters well enough to make them sound authentic. In that case, it’s time to step back and get to know them a little better. You can read Creating a Character Backstory for helpful pointers. Often, the solutions to problems lie in the backstory of your character.
Non-fiction writers: The key to your current writing troubles might be figuring out the background history of the people, the places, or the situation. Don’t just cover what happened, find out why it happened the way it did. Remember not only to get the accepted version of what happened, but to dig for the other sides of the story, too.
5) Create an outline
Fiction writers: Sometimes the problem can be that you just don’t know where to take your story. In this case, the best solution is to sit down and create a plot outline. Decide where you want the story to end up and then decide how they are going to get there, who is going to be with them along the way, and what will happen.
Non-fiction writers: If you didn’t start your book off with an outline, now’s a good time to fix that problem. Think of five big questions that readers might have about your topic. That’s the beginning of your outline. Then, under each question decide on 5 topics you will cover that help to answer that question. Under each topic, write five additional questions readers might have. Keep going until you are satisfied that you have enough content.
6) Free Write
Get it all out there. Sometimes the reason we’re facing writer’s block is that there are too many other things on our mind and we need to make some room for new ideas. Take a notepad and just start writing for 10 minutes. Don’t let the pen stop, just write whatever comes to mind and let it flow. It doesn’t matter if it’s about the story or not. In the middle of all this, you’re very likely to have come up with a solution or an idea that you can use.
Take the time to list out a bunch of ideas, no matter how crazy, on where you could take your book or your story next. Spend about 5-10 minutes on this. See what you can come up with. When you’re done, take the list of ideas and bring them with you to the computer or the laptop. See if any of them make sense.
8) Get help
If you’re a member of a writer’s group, bring your problem to the group and ask for feedback and ideas. You may not accept a single idea they offer, but something someone says may spark an idea that leads you to the solution you need. If you don’t have a writer’s group, find a friend who is also a writer and spend time bouncing ideas off of them. You might be surprised at what you can come up with when there are two brains working on it instead of just one. If you don’t have a writer’s group and you don’t know any writers, you can join our free Facebook group 40 Day Writers.