Creative writing tips - writer's block
by Mistress Geenyus
All those who love creative writing eventually encounter the dreaded writer's block. Mistress Geenyus brings you the best creative writing tips out there for curing writer's block - all in 1 article!
So you nurture a fondness for that age-old art of creative writing. You're also horribly familiar with the shadow haunting pro and recreational creative writers the world over: writer's block. Held fast in the grip of this monster, I trawled books and online resources in search of tips and tricks to relieve it. There are a lot, but wouldn't it be wonderful if the most useful ones were gathered together in one place...?
What is writer's block?
People suffer from writer's block in different ways. You cannot begin anew, nor finish what you've already begun. You've run out of inspiration, inclination or patience. You simply cannot bring yourself to create. Fear not. Work through these tips and you'll be writing reams in no time.
No Day But Today
"One day, I'll write a novel." Is "one day" going to ring itself in purple felt tip on your calendar? No: you have to make the time to write.
H. Jackson Brown Jr. advised: "Don't say you don't have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein."
Various things in life need attending to, causing us to neglect our passion of writing. View creative writing as something that is necessary. Set aside thirty minutes, an hour or an evening a week just for picking up a pen or opening a laptop and doing some creative writing. Discipline yourself with a schedule and get those withered writing muscles working again. Your creative juices will soon be available on tap.
Writers block? Write Here, Write Now
Write something. Don't think about it. Just write five sentences about the first thing that comes into your head.
Is it total rubbish? Good. Writing seriously all the time sends you mad.
But you wrote something, didn't you? Creating nonsense is much better than creating nothing at all. Do this once a day. There are always useable ideas in the pages of crap you'll produce.
Always carry notepads and pens with you; if you have an idea, write it down. If ideas aren't captured, they'll vanish.
"A library is a hospital for the mind."
A beautiful philosophy - read a book. Books contain what you're striving for: A polished piece of writing. Try reading some text versions of popular classics online if the physical actuality of a library feels beyond your grasp. If a library is a hospital for your mind when the creative writing has broken you, an online literature source is, at the very least, a battlefield medic.
When reading an enjoyable book, your mind is relaxed yet alert and you aren't stressing about writer's block and not writing. Good books are also among the best English teachers in the world. They'll show you how to form sentences and what is believable in a plot. They demonstrate the power of the written word. In short, they'll teach you to be a better writer.
Creative writing tips - Generating Magic
The easiest way to chivvy ideas apparently out of nowhere is though a random word generator
I find a pleasant word and write about and around it. There are no rules that you obey - just look at the word and be inspired. I wrote a short story based on "inheritance". One word birthed a family fighting over who received the father's money in the very likely event of him being murdered by his unscrupulous partner. It was ridiculous, far-fetched and a lot of fun.
Change Your Writing Medium
We've swapped the faithful pen-and-paper for computers. With pristine word-processing documents gazing blankly at us, we run out of steam. We can't cross out, underline or draw amusing swirls down the margins. We are denied the rituals of frustrated authors: ripping up the characters and their mundane lives before consigning them to the recycling bin (or burning them for fuel - starving artists need to stay warm).
Gather your notebook, run from your technology, sit down and WRITE. Rarely can we claim to have "written" something - we type nearly everything.
Even better, buy a quill and some ink. When writing with the ancient, beautiful and respected quill, there's no limit to how much your writing and attitude towards it can change. Remember, Shakespeare did not write 'Hamlet' on a laptop!
Change Your Scenery
Get out of your room, your house, your neighbourhood, your country. Like bread left out for too long, we become stale if we stay in one place. A change of air feeds your brain and stimulates your senses.
Silence Is Golden
Half the battle with writer's block is maintaining concentration on writing. When loud pop hits are blaring from your speakers, your concentration suffers. Switch off the musical accompaniment.
If you really must have music, get hold of some classical albums, soundtracks and other pieces without words. You'll can't sing along and get distracted, but you'll have music that soothes and stirs, and may inspire you out of your writer's block.
Placing a huge amount of pressure on yourself to achieve writing perfection is fruitless. Creative writing is pleasurable, not a chore. Try this: create an odd, exciting, wildly different character and write away. Allow yourself to have fun with your creation - taking a break from what you usually write frequently results in new ideas or plot twists for current or future pieces. My favourite was Eliza, a Victorian matchgirl with a bad case of "phossy jaw". I took her on adventures that only lasted one or two lines, but she and her unfortunate affliction offered the escapism I needed.
Alternatively, take an old character and write something wild for them. You'll look at them from a different angle and further develop their personality.
If your particular variant of writer's block means you have no characters, borrow others. No, not plagiarism, but fanfiction - writing your own stories about characters from other books. Visit an online fanfiction community of creative writers who do just this. You already have a starting point - the character - and now all you have to do is take them on a journey.
NaNoWriMo! Sign Up, Write Away
National Novel Writing Month, also known as NaNoWriMo, is an online event in which millions of writers write a full novel in one month, aiming for 50,000 words. As explained on the website, the geniuses (sorry, genii) running the Month just want people to write something, even if it's not perfect: No-one gets to just write any more.
Sign up now. You'll be among kindred spirits, and it'll kickstart you into getting rid of that writer's block and doing more and more creative writing. You'll also gain valuable writing experience along the way.
Drastic Times Call For Drastic Measures: Write or Die
None of those creative writing tips working for you? Then try my personal favourite cure: Write or Die. This wicked website forces you to keep writing no matter what. If you stop typing... Actually, I'm not going to spoil it for you. Go ahead and use it to write something. Be aware that if you cease production, this nifty gadget has the ability to start deleting your writing.