It is the greatest fear of all writers, those days when you just cannot get your ideas out on to paper. I have created a list of the most useful tips I use when I am experiencing writers block.
1. Get outside
Imagine, you have been sat for hours staring at your laptop. The blank word document looks back at you, your frustration mounting every time the text cursor flashes. Breathe, put down your laptop and head outside. Take a walk around your local area, look at it in detail, as you walk choose objects, places or people you see and imagine their stories, where they have come from or where they are going.
2. Play word association games
This works best with a friend at your side. Pick a word and take turns to find a rhyming word for it, build your pace as you go along. Once the rhymes become too hard change to finding as associated word. If you say tree, they may say apple, hit them back with gravity and see the game progress. The more creative the links get the sooner the ink in your metaphorical pen will be flowing again.
3. Play “That’s not true”
I love this game. Play with a partner, you start by making a mundane statement, it must be true. Continue telling your friend the story, they can say “that’s not true” at any time and you have to think on your feet to keep the story going. They can say “that’s not true” at any time but your goal is to bring the story to a satisfying coherent end without too much thinking time. Below is a brief example.
“I was at the launderette today and I had forgotten my soap”
“That’s not true”
“I had my soap but I thought the lady behind the desk was attractive and wanted to speak to her. I asked her if she could give me some soap.”
“That’s not true”
“I grabbed her by the hand and told her I was bored of laundry and we should go on a date. We left the shop and got on the bus.”
“That’s not true.”
“As we left the shop, a meteorite fell from space and demolished the entire building. She saw me as a hero and we are getting married tomorrow.”
This one is simple. The best way to improve your writing and the amount of words you are getting out is by reading. Try and read one or two things similar to your project for inspiration but also things entirely different so that you can pick up on literary techniques and story structure.
When you can’t write, you feel stressed. Sweat that out. Go for a run or get to the gym, you will find the moment you stop concentrating on the writing ideas will pop in to your head. Make sure you have your phone so you can write any of that potential greatness in to your notes for later.
6. Change your form
If you write poetry try prose and vice versa. This can be a fun exercise and it pushes you to try and think in a totally different way about your writing. I have gone from poetry to song lyrics, kid’s stories and comic strips. This allows you to think up awesome ideas you wouldn’t usually give time to, the writing may not be up to scratch but you will find after your brain has been focusing elsewhere, it will be much easier to fall back in to your current project.