Hope you’re having a productive weekend (and are prioritising any upcoming exams over blogging… *nervous sweat bead*). And if you’re not being so productive, fear not! I know writer’s block is a pain - wait… I’ve got a better idea - fun anecdote time!
I once went to an author event, and heard Patrick Ness (author of More Than This, A Monster Calls, etc) say something along the lines of “I wish I earned enough to afford so-called ‘writer’s block’”. If I can find the exact quote, I’ll give it to you. I thought it was a great point at the time. It motivated me for a while, the knowledge that if a writer doesn’t write, a writer doesn’t eat. It worked great… until a few weeks later when I next found my head on my desk as all creativity abandoned me. But writer’s block doesn’t have to stop you in your tracks. Tackle it right, and all will be well, oh fellow author. Here’s my recommendations for how to beat a creativity crash (just thought of that phrase, I’ll admit I’m pretty proud). Anyway!
1. Change your surroundings. Perhaps the obvious one, but there’s a reason for that! It works! How long have you been staring at that monochrome greyish wall behind your laptop? Is that sofa even slightly comfy? Or likewise, are you too comfy? Do you need a more productive workspace?
2. Take care of yourself. Again, maybe obvious, but of course you can’t write if you’re dehydrated, or bursting for a pee (you’ve been holding it in for ages as you try to force out another sentence, haven’t you). Eat something, change your clothes, take your meds, get fresh air, have a shower, have a nap! Replenish yourself, you deserve it. This also pairs with the last one, and gives you time away from your writing project. It’s one of those 'it’ll come to you when you’re not thinking about it’ scenarios.
3. Talk about your writing project. Find a friend, relative, significant other, goldfish, stranger etc. Tell them what’s been going on in your fictitious world. Pitch your book to them. Yes, I know you’re most likely an introvert and hate the thought of this, but your book needs you. And you’ll be amazed how interested people are by the concept of an author. People generally really love to hear this stuff.
4. Read some fiction. Immerse yourself in somebody else’s world, get to know their characters and writing style, if not for analysis of their techniques then for a bit of fun and escapism.
5. Read some non-fiction. Specifically on writing techniques. If you know exactly what you’re stuck on, get online, there are hundreds of free eBooks to be downloaded to help you to improve. I hear if you’re stuck on say, prologues, or tense scenes, there’s some great bloggers out there with a wealth of information… ;)
6. Do some marketing. The other big side of being a modern-day author, especially if you’re self-publishing. You’re never finished. Go and do some networking, design a new advert or look up writing events you might attend. Revise your pre-existing blurb, get the word out about your project. This gives you some reflection time and helps you think about what really matters in your book, and means you’re staying productive.
7. Get the tunes on. I talked about this in my last post, but it’s still relevant. Play some music, to accompany your writing or simply to listen and absorb some creative vibes.
8. Write something else. This one’s a bit of a gamble, as it might end up becoming the centre of your attention. Don’t let that happen. Try some flash fiction, or poetry. Write a 2,000 word spin-off scene focusing on one of your side characters, or if story prompts are your thing, go on Tumblr or Pinterest, where there’s a plethora of blogs posting nothing but prompt after prompt. Find one that appeals to you and do what you will with it to get those writing juices flowing (that’s an awful phrase, I’m never using it again).
9. Refer to your outline. You spent a long time planning this project, detailing plot points from start to finish. Have a read over it and see where you are and where the next big moment is, and assess how you can get there. Or, if your outline is only very basic, or even non-existent -
9.5 Backtrack and make an outline. Go back a few scenes and bullet point (or making a timeline works for me) all that’s happened recently. All the movements and interactions. Then, skip ahead a little way and write the little things you’re planning for the next bit. Like a fill-in-the-blanks activity. And seriously consider an outline for the rest of your story.
How do you personally beat writer’s block? Any ancient wisdom you could impart? Or has this post helped you reach a solution? Let me know down in the comments!
“I don’t get it,” Kuroo says, hooking his chin on Kenma’s shoulder. “You shake the trees and money falls out of it?”
“Yeah. Also when you hit the right rock.”
“What the heck. Why isn’t real life like that?”
Kenma huffs in amusement. He shifts his weight back, resting against Kuroo’s chest, feeling warm and slightly sleepy. Kuroo’s visiting for the weekend, and Kenma doesn’t want to miss a single second of it. He’s missed being able to sit like this, close enough to feel Kuroo’s heartbeat, close enough to feel Kuroo’s body heat. It’s so easy to fall back into this comfort, Kenma almost wants to cry.
“Wait, did you name the town Nekoma?”
Kenma presses his lips together, but his cheeks are flaming. Kuroo laughs, the sound low and familiar in Kenma’s ear. He focuses on guiding his avatar back home.
“I want to show you something,” he says. He waits for the loading screen to fade, navigating to the room he’s been carefully designing. When his avatar steps in, he feels more than hears Kuroo gasp.
“Is that… my room?”
Shyly, Kenma nods. “I wanted to keep your room how it was when… when we were kids. I mean, it’s still—it’s still there, but you’re living in the dorms now, and I just…”
Kenma ducks his head. “I wanted to have a piece of you here, too. To keep me company.”
There’s a pause. And then Kuroo is nuzzling his face into Kenma’s neck, tickling him and nearly causing him to drop the game, but Kenma doesn’t mind. He turns and tackles Kuroo back onto the bed with a hug.
“You know,” Kuroo says some time later. They’re lying on their sides now, Kenma’s head pressed into Kuroo’s chest. His DS is still playing the cheerful 7 pm tune, but Kenma’s eyes are barely open now. “Now that I’ve watched you play, I kind of want to get the game myself.”
Kuroo shuffles closer, pressing his lips against Kenma’s forehead. “Mm. That way, I can visit you in that little room you built me, whenever you want, yeah?”
Kenma’s already half asleep, but he drifts off with a smile on his face.