Every writer has those times when it seems inspiration and creativity have left the building never to return. These uninspired moments or as they are often called “Writer’s Block” times can be triggered by many different obstacles; from writing yourself into a corner, to simply having an unclear image of your characters, plot, or story line. Only through experience and determination does a writer learn to press through these frustrating and deflating times to come out on the other-side with a quality, unique piece. Here are a few handy tips that have worked for me over the years, to help you through your own personal version of writer’s block.
Inspiration can be triggered from any and all interactions, activities, and environment, if you keep an open mind and let your surroundings stimulate your imagination. Try some of these activities the next time you find yourself uninspired:
- Go Outside
- Clean House
- Visit a Friend
- Go Shopping
- Go to the Park
- PEOPLE WATCH!
As you do these things let your senses take you over; absorb the smells, sights, and sounds that surround you and let them become your inspiration.
Characters are those people, animals, and central beings that make your story come to life. Without a carefully fleshed out character ensemble no story will captivate the reader or transport them to the world you wish to create.
Before you find yourself cornered by lackluster characters, or missing elements to their personality, take the time to sit and do nothing but write up detailed descriptions of each of your characters. Include their physical characteristics, personality quirks, any memories that they may have, and general mindset that you see them behaving like in your story.
Doing this will give you a blueprint of your characters so that if things start to run awry you have a way to reconnect with your characters. It will also help you decide when you might need to add new characters to assist with telling your story. Just make sure that you add any new characters to your list of attributes to keep you on track.
The more complicated the plot, the easier it is to get lost. If you have a plot idea, try creating a simple plot map. A plot map is a basic graph that creates a linear or web-like visual display of where your story momentum is headed, where character interactions will happen , and setting locations.
If you are at a loss for a plot idea, try free-writing. Free writing is usually accomplished by spending 15 to 20 minutes randomly writing down anything and everything that comes to mind in an unedited laundry list manner. Forget the back key. Ignore typos. Just WRITE!
This type of writing exercise allows the mind to relax and let ideas that may be hiding in the shadows of your mind work their way into the light; and they are often the best ideas you’ve had in years.
Once you have your free-writing list completed, walk away. DO NOT read it immediately after you have completed your allotted amount of free-writing time. Take some time to focus elsewhere on more physical activities. Avoiding reading your writing ramble right off the bat will allow your mind to percolate any new ideas that may have worked their way to your mind’s forefront without the overwhelming urge to edit what you have written.
If you follow these instructions, you should find that when you get back to reading your free-writing document your mind will effectively weed out those ideas that are less than acceptable while the good ideas stimulate a flood of inspiration.