If you've ever attempted to pen a piece of writing, grand or small, then you are likely familiar with writer's block. It is commonly listed among the most frustrating aspects of writing and has contributed to the downfall of many great pieces. Common symptoms include staring profusely at blank pages; a hefty amount of unfinished and blank documents (the names of which sparked promise, but could not be carried through to the end); and the feeling of great ideas aching to escape the confines of your brain. However, the key to this cell is elusive. The beast that has locked them away is a creature of habit, causing writers to fall into a rut where little writing is produced.
The greatest cure for writer's block is time, as is the case with most things. But what if you want to finish that piece of work now and put writer's block in his place? To free the ideas and let the words flow freely. Here are a few tips to help you get over this slump.
1. Take A Deep Breath
The gears of thought are constantly spinning to churn out your work orders, but sometimes overuse can wear them out. So take a deep breath and find some grease to get those cogs in working order. It's easy to stare at a blank screen and get angry, trying to force the words to work when they won't seem to fit next to one another, but it only leads to a deeper rut. Step back, take a deep breath, and clear your mind. Clarity is essential and a tangle of ideas and writer's block clogs the creative drains.
2. Write Short Stories
One of the easiest pit falls that writers, especially those just beginning, fall into is delusions of grandeur, surrounding epic works that span books and series and years. But with no clear end and only a few pages of writing done, the daunting triumph that such a task would reward looms so far in the clouds writers can not see it, making them prone to writer's block. Overcoming these delusions and plotting a solid novel (or series) is another article entirely, but short stories can help sort out the writer's block that often ensues.
Simplicity is key. It is difficult to get lost in a short story. They have a clear end and utilize concise prose. If you intend to write an epic plot, view this exercise as if it were an apple tree in the depths of summer. Your epic is beyond the thick umbrella of leaves, resting in the clouds. The apples that grow and fall represent short stories (they can surround characters or events in your book). Eat these as they fall and sustain yourself until summer ends and the leaves fall, revealing the sky. Only now, the clouds have blown away and a path is clear. The idea here is to write short stories to sustain your larger works, as they provide creative conduits to channel your writer's block.
3. Don't Be Afraid To Move On
Ideas are powerful, especially those of writers. They can be parasitic. Infesting other works or drawing away from another one completely. Intoxicating at first, ideas can trap writers. This feeling of dedication to a toxic idea leads to writer's block. Ideas are difficult to let go, but when a writer learns to do this, her possibilities will bloom. Let go of ideas that provoke writer's block — move on. There is a beautiful story waiting to be written, but it's not always the one you feel tethered to.
Your story is waiting.