As a writer, one always encounters a bit of writer’s block. I am a cyclical writer; when inspiration hits I am writing. I will plot characters, write dialogue, plot the story, or nearly write an entire poem in one sitting. I know other writers who say that they manage to avoid the bonds of writer’s block by writing every day. I am not that kind of writer. Although one of my goals is to have a daily word count, I have not yet accomplished that goal on a daily or even weekly basis. I do write a lot on paper though but I don’t normally count that.
Lately, I have been experiencing a bit of writer’s block. Not because I don’t have ideas or dialogue or even want to write but because I am not committed to forcing myself to sit at the computer every day. I write for class of for this blog but it has been a bit harder sitting down to focus on my fiction.
So this week I decided to do a post on how I deal with writer’s block or when I just need to jumpstart my writing since I am always striving to come up with new ways to spark my willingness to sit down and write. I hope these are helpful and please leave a comment if you have any tips that you find successful.
1.) Writing Prompts. As a student of writing programs I was introduced to Brian Kiteley’s 3 A.M. Epiphany and 4 A.M. Breakthrough. These books are wonderful; I cannot tout their helpfulness enough. I guarantee that you will find a prompt (or several) that will encourage you to write. These books stay on my bookshelf in arms reach so that I can always have help in fingertips reach.
2.) Revamping a Character. Change it up. I have had characters change on me from their inception to the moment when I start putting their story down. I have also had characters change mid tale. This happened to me in a class when a story was being workshopped and several of my classmates read the story and a got a different feel for the character than I’d intended. They thought she seemed gruff and a bit condescending. That was never how I wanted her to be so I immediately began to rewrite some of her dialogue and her interactions with other characters.
3.) Start Small. One of my favorite short pieces started from writing prompt so what I mean by starting small is to give yourself a word count. I am a new fan of flash fiction but I always shied away from it before because I couldn’t imagine writing an entire story in 300 words but the beauty of starting small is that you can always expand the piece; perhaps by inserting chapters or starting a new chapter or making it into a series.
4.) Expand a Situation/Real Life. I am always getting ideas from my life or my friends lives. I honestly believe that my friends are in my life to give me something to write about. No matter whether it’s comical or serious; they always provide a story for me to tell. Whether from a small encounter or a situation that you want to reimagine use that to start or plot a story.
5.) Take a Movie Break. Now I don’t mean stealing ideas from movies; I would never advocate stealing someone else’s hard work. What I’m talking about is taking an idea from something or twisting a concept. I just recently got an idea from watching Stepmom, which I think is a great movie. My idea turns the concept on its ear and I hope to showcase some of it here soon. What’s a movie that you could tweak?
6.) Let them eat…whatever. I am a huge fan of authors like Diane Mott Davison, Joanne Fluke, JB Stanley, and Laura Childs. As a foodie, I love books that incorporate recipes or have characters who create mouth-watering dishes. In reading those books I feel like I am able to combine two of my lifelong loves; eating and reading. It makes me feel like the ultimate multi-tasker. If you have a favorite recipe or dish think about what type of character would have created the dish or base your character off of a family member, if the recipe was handed down.