As a fiction writer and poet who has written seven books so far and yet finds herself in that sticky position when words simply refuse to flow, spout or even trickle out; I felt some of you wouldn’t mind reading about a few writing tips and tricks I’ve picked up with experience for such frustrating times.
To tell you honestly, I’ve kind of got used to the whole I – can’t – write – anymore moments, and even learnt to deftly manoeuvre myself out of it. Here are a few points that might help you too just as it helps me every time I’m stuck.
1. Stop panicking
Now that is what we all do when we find ourselves in a tricky situation. We panic! But that, as we all know, doesn’t help one bit. In fact, it puts an immediate halt to whatever little creative ideas or thought we had about the particular situation in the story. Next time you feel flustered or hysterical, just drop everything. Close your eyes and take in a lungful of air and exhale slowly. Do this till your mind stops blabbering. However, even after you open your eyes, don’t turn your attention immediately to your writing. Instead watch a film. Maybe a romantic comedy. It always works in my case. Your genre may be different. Try it!
2. Get yourself something to eat !
You have no idea what good food can do to get your creative juices flowing. The whole exercise will not only keep your hands busy, distract your mind off all that oh – this – isn’t – working thoughts but also put you back in good humour. However, this is only advised if you’re unable to sit still in your chair or have an empty stomach. In case, you’re feeling better with the advice given in step one, (deep breathing and/or a film) you can go back to whatever you’ve written so far, read the portion out loud a few times and more often than not, you’ll know what to write next.
3. Force your mind
If things still don’t work out and you’ve a deadline then the best recourse is to command your mind to stop thinking negative thoughts and start listening to you – the taskmaster. Force yourself to write. Write down whatever is coming to your mind. As Hemingway rightly said, ‘the first draft of anything is garbage.’ So don’t you worry your head so much about what you’re writing just yet. The important thing to do at this point is to get past this sticky stage and keep writing.
4. Read a book
If you’ve ample time in your hands, you can also switch your attention to reading a book on the same or an altogether different subject. Here however, the danger is you may find your answer in that book and get attracted to the idea of using it in your own. Stop right there! You know very well, it is unethical besides what’s the fun in stealing someone else’s ideas. So instead focus on what changes can you make to your story that will help you overcome your writer’s block. It may be adding a character or getting rid of a scene which isn’t leading you anywhere. You might take cue from the book you were reading in how the author deals with a tricky situation. As soon as you get an inkling go back to your own manuscript and start writing.
5. The Power of Imagination
Lastly, remember creative writing is different than technical writing. It is more than giving just plain information. It is about entertaining your readers and transporting them to a different world. When everything else fails, let your imagination lead you. Don’t shirk a thought away just because you feel it appears odd or isn’t going to work. Trust the imaginative abilities of your mind. Your imagination will guide you best.
Keep Writing and Keep Smiling!
Picture credit : Freepik