At one time or another, every writer experiences writer’s block. It’s rather frightening not to be able to come up with new ideas, even if it’s just for one piece in particular, especially when you’ve been writing for what seems like your whole life. Not to mention, it’s frustrating, disheartening, and can even strangle a writer’s creativity and passion for writing if it persists too long. So what can you do to prevent writer’s block?
Well, while there isn’t a sure way to prevent it from ever happening (that I know of at least), there are ways to keep it from coming often and from staying long. So here are some reliable methods to help keep your mind sharp and your creativity at it’s peak, nipping any lurking writer’s block in the bud.
1. Be creative in other areas.
Why it works: Allowing yourself to dabble in other creative hobbies frequently gets the creative part of your brain back in shape, and new ideas will come about for your writing.
2. Practice writing exercises.
Why it works: Though it can seem silly and pointless (I’ve been down that road myself), doing writing exercises actually will help you evolve your writing quite a bit. By trying new methods, you can develop new skills and improve old ones.
Whatever the specific issue you’re having for your particular piece of writing, there is guaranteed to be a writing exercise for it. Even if you’re just having trouble in general, I’ll advise the same path.The Internet is a haven for these types of exercises. Here is one good resource I’ve found for such purposes: http://mysite.du.edu/~bkiteley/exercises.html.
Why it works: It’s simple. The more you read good writing, the more you will be able to produce it.
In doing this though, there you want to be careful to avoid plagiarizing. Though it’s said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I don’t buy it. Most people get pretty ticked off if you steal their ideas in my experience.
You’ll also want to avoid reading poorly-written books if you’re looking for examples to follow. This can be a bit more challenging. With books such as the Twilight series and 50 Shades of Grey at the top of the “best-sellers” list, it’s easy to be deceived about what is good writing, and what isn’t. A good place to start is with the classics. Yes, they’re not everyone’s cup of tea, and not all of them are great, but there’s a reason for them being categorized as classics; they’re timeless, and most of them are quite beautifully and elegantly written. It’s quite a different story for most of the garbage that’s published today. Of course, you can always use the poorly-written books as examples of what NOT to do.
If you are searching for a superb modern book though, there are ways to find good ones.
a. Search online. Amazon is a surprisingly good resource for determining whether or not a book is worth reading/buying. The reviews of a book are truthful; the customers who comment have no reason to be dishonest about something that they spent money on.
b. Sample the book. Flip through the first few pages/chapter. If you aren’t hooked by that point, you likely won’t be for the rest of the book either. Though there are instances where this isn’t true, good writing generally applies throughout the entire book, not just sections of it.
c. Check for spelling and grammar errors. If you have trouble deciphering the writing on the first few pages due to back grammar and spelling, or you notice that the book is written at an incredibly low reading level with no sense of detail, originality, or a distinct voice, toss it aside! If the author can’t get the most basic writing right, they certainly aren’t going to be able to create an intricate story line that proves to be interesting and innovative.
I hope these few pointers will help you not only to improve your writing but also to hinder the evil leech that is known as “writer’s block” the next time it decides to latch onto your brain and suck all your creativity out.
For the full version of this blog: http://rmnsediting.blogspot.com/2012/11/beating-writers-block.html.
Also, for another great idea on beating writer’s block, check out my friend’s blog: http://smwright.wordpress.com/2013/01/05/redux-tarot-for-writers/