Writer’s block—is it real or not? Whatever you want to call it, sometimes authors get stuck!
Signs you might be blocked or stuck:
- You have trouble coming up with new ideas.
- Or you have way too many ideas and don’t know where to start.
- Blank-page syndrome: paralysis in front of the white screen.
- The Saggy Middle Blues - You’ve outlined, you’ve been writing, but for some reason, halfway through, you lose motivation to finish.
I’ve been there, done this—more times than I’d like to admit. Here are my favorite tips to get unSTUCK and get your writing mojo back.
1. Just 100 Words
Rather than dwelling on all the chapters or the thousands of words you must write, think 100 words at a time.
It’s just a few paragraphs and should take you a few minutes. Sit your butt in a chair and set a timer for 5 minutes. Write something, anything.
Then, write another 100-word chunk. Then string them together to make a complete scene.
Rinse and repeat, and soon you’ll have 1,000 words or more written.
2. Storyboard Your Book
Are you a visual person? Perhaps art and photos will help stimulate your creativity and get your writing juices flowing!
Create a board for your story idea on Pinterest. Gather and pin photos that inspire you.
Say you’re writing a novel about a woman in the circus. Search “circus” on Pinterest and you’ll be amazed at the images you find.
The best part? You can later share your Pinterest board with your readers for a behind-the-scenes glimpse into your writing world.
3. Let Music Be Your Muse
Studies show music can help us be more creative. A 2011 study from Finland demonstrated that music activates our brain toward creative thought.
Music is also a great pick-me-up when you’re feeling down, and streaming stations like Pandora and Spotify make it easy to create custom playlists.
Many authors create playlists for a specific book and use that to inspire their writing. Consider setting up a playlist that your main character or the villain would love.
Author Joanna Penn listens to sounds of thunder and rain when she writes in cafes. Stephanie Meyers, author of the Twilight series, listened to the band Muse when she wrote her books.
I enjoy listening to streaming radio, which lets you choose a band, then the software chooses songs by similar artists. Check out the Echo and the Bunnymen channel for some inspiring 1980s tunes.
4. Get Lectured
Attend a lecture on a topic that sounds interesting, and is new to you. Many universities and museums offer lectures or special educational programs for the public. Maybe you’ll enjoy a topic like neuropsychology or entomology.
You might learn something and be inspired to use that subject in your story. What if you learn something cool about butterflies and decide to make your main character an entomologist?
After the class, read one or two books by specialists in that field so you get an understanding of the field of study and their day-to-day life.
5. Copy Other Authors
No, I’m not talking about plagiarism!
Sometimes when I’m feeling stuck, I’ll pick up one of my favorite books and copy passages word for word. This is also a great warm-up writing exercise.
As you type, let the prose roll around in your head. Choose passages that you might struggle with. Look at the first paragraph and the opening chapter. What hooked you in? Why do you love that book?
Do this often enough, and the deliberate practice of emulating the greats will help advance your writing.
I hope this short video helped you today. Don't miss out on more productivity tips for authors.