There have been more times than I can count of me sitting down to write and knowing exactly what I want to say, but perhaps not how to say it. I might be tired from work or from doing several household chores. It might be a good solid 15 minutes of typing and suddenly, when I’m done with a scene, my brain freezes.
Let’s forget that “writer’s block” even exists. It’s an evil term, if you ask me, because it’s like blaming an explicable condition that “prevents” us from writing. Some of us avoid writing out of pure laziness, procrastination, insecurity or whatever it might be. As much as we love telling stories and tinkering on them, sometimes the words won’t flow, and as time moves forward in its typical rapid pace, we start blaming it on writer’s block. It happens to the best of us.
No one and nothing – including writer’s block – can stop you from writing. No one but yourself.
As for myself, my greatest fear is that my novel is too outlandish, too complicated, with too many characters, overbearing, et cetera, et cetera. Based on what some of my beta readers have said, yes, the story is outlandish. As I look at my character list and the diagram showing how they all connect to each other, I think the novel may indeed have a lot of characters. Not as many as the book series A Song of Ice and Fire, but hello, if George R. R. Martin can be successful with an outlandish story with tons of characters, why can’t I? And even if I didn’t have anyone to compare myself to, I should still tackle this story head on and finish it.
There are plenty of reasons for all of us to shy away from a writing project. However, remember that it feels so damn good getting something done. Yesterday I re-wrote the prologue and it felt so satisfying. Writing the third chapter feels like a breeze now.
Never be afraid to change the rules. If you’re trying to write a story, but something doesn’t feel right, figure out why you keep getting stuck and adjust from there. No one is hovering over you and no one will criticize you if you, for example, suddenly decide to write in present tense instead of past tense, or write from a different perspective. The editing can come later. It’s called a “rough draft” for a reason.
If you find yourself unmotivated, dried out or stuck for some reason, I’ve thought of a few things you can do to get those creativity juices flowing.
- Go for a walk.
- Do a chore in the house or exercise to get your mind off the story for a while.
- Clean your work space.
- Watch a favorite movie or read a favorite book of yours that has inspired you before, something that makes you think, “Wow, this is awesome. I want to make something like that.”
- Free-writing for five minutes or so; it doesn’t even have to be about the story itself.
- Hang out with friends for a while, relax, listen to what they have say (they might tell a nice anecdote).
- Go out and have a cup of coffee or eat lunch/dinner where you feel comfortable, take in that energy around you.
I hope this helps.