One of the biggest problems writers face is writer’s block. I wish I had a dollar for every time I have stared at a blank page on the screen and thought “Now what do I write?”. You know what it is like: you plan to write, you allocate a couple of hours to write, and sit down ready to write. Then it hits you: the big fat nothing. Nothing happens and you end up staring blankly at your blank page hoping something will just materialise or you end up playing games on your computer while you wait for inspiration. Neither technique actually helps you to get writing again!
When you need inspiration, Newbies Writers offers a daily prompt to get your creative juices flowing again in the Need a Prompt section. Even if you write in a totally different genre, such as a novel, or factual articles, it can be very helpful to warm up with a quick writing exercise from the prompting section. Give yourself 10 minutes and write whatever comes into your head after reading the daily prompt. It might surprise you how easy it is to get back to your other writing afterwards.
Just about any creative writing exercise will help you to get over writer’s block and get writing again. One of my favourites is to look at a picture and describe a story from the picture. Look at the people in the picture and imagine a character for each person. Where does the man in the brown suit live? What relationship does he have with the woman in the yellow hat? What are the people thinking when the picture was taken?
Another good exercise is to cut up headlines into separate words from a newspaper and mix the words in an envelope. Take out five or six words, make a new headline and write a fake news article about your new headline. This is a great exercise to get you in the mood for writing again.
Allison’s recent blog on outlining also offers some great ideas on how to avoid writer’s block. Outline your novel, article, short story, or poem, so that you have something to refer to when you get stuck. If you are staring at a blank screen and have a definite project in mind, start an outline and you will soon find it easy to write again.
If you write fiction, try interviewing one of your characters about the other characters when you get writer’s block. You may not use the interview itself in your work, but you will definitely get some great ideas and inspiration to keep you writing.
Whatever you do, don’t just sit there or play games on the computer. Start writing anything and you will find you will be able to concentrate on whatever you need to write sooner. Free write or give yourself a short story break rather than give up on your writing altogether. You will find inspiration will strike again soon!
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