By Ashley Fields
At the start of spring semester 2017 every time I picked up my notebook and pen, or opened my laptop to continue a piece, my hands froze over the same scene:
“The first thing I saw when I opened my eyes was the man from the night before.”
I couldn’t seem to write past that line. I had a goal in mind; my character would wake up the morning after a one-night-stand and have that awkward moment with her future romantic interest. But I couldn’t seem to manage to write beyond that first sentence. After weeks of pushing the story to the side, I turned to my other pieces only to realize I had the same problem. That’s when I knew that I had writer’s block.
Writer’s Block is one of the most frightening things I have ever gone through, because I felt like I was failing as a writer, the one thing I want to do with my future. However, I wasn’t a quitter. I started researching strategies to get back to my writing. I tried many tactics, but the following eight are what I found the most helpful.
Follow A Prompt: Sometimes following a different prompt can be great practice, or it push your work in a different direction and perhaps change your story for the better. Some helpful books I’ve purchased to play with prompts are “The Writers Block: 786 Ideas To Jump-start Your Imagination” by Jason Rekulak, and “Complete the Story” by Piccadilly.
- Listen To Classical Music: I found it distracting to listen to regular pop music, or any music with lyrics. I’ve found Classical music a better way to stay focused on a task.
- Set A Daily Goal or Deadline: It was easier for me to write after I’ve set a goal for myself whether it be write 1000 words, or finish a chapter, or a specific section a day. This helped me with my time management.
- Read Your Work Aloud: Reading my work aloud has given me a chance to catch errors or fix up story logic and sometimes would inspire me to write a different scene or new phrases. Try messing around with wordplay and cadence in the work.
- Write In The Mornings: After a good night’s sleep, and after hours of dreaming, the mind is more imaginative and creative when you wake up. Also, it’s much more quiet and peaceful in the mornings.
- Step Away For Anything Creative: Sometimes it’s best to step away from a piece for a bit when blocked, but it’s even better to step away and do something creative that gets your creative drive moving. Try coloring, drawing, crafting, or even photography. When I have a block I begin to doodle anywhere in my notebook and my mind drifts as I draw, next thing I know an idea springs to mind.
- Play A Writing Game: My favorite game to play is “Hot Laptop.” It requires a small group of people, but it’s worth it. It can be played on a laptop, or in a notebook, as long as each player has something to write on. The game starts with each player having only two minutes to start writing a story, whatever they like. After two minutes, everyone passes their stories to right, and the player to the right continues the story. This pattern continues until everyone has their original laptops, and then you share your stories. It’s an entertaining method and is a great way to get the mind moving.
- Write to Write: Sometimes it’s good to just write whatever is in your head, not worrying about mistakes or rambling. Just get all of your thoughts out and worry about corrections later.
Through my research, I’ve slowly learned that Writer’s Block is just an illusion. It’s a wall writer’s create subconsciously, due to many reasons-Fear, Perfectionism, and Timing. A writer might have hesitations and doubts in their work, feel like their work is not good enough, or might not have time to write at all.
It’s natural to feel stuck or hesitate in the writing process, but it’s something you must push aside in order to produce good work. We should have faith and trust in our writing abilities and we must make time for it, because we love it.