So, we've all encountered this beast before; that nasty little roadblock that eventually every writer hits, that stops them dead in their tracks and leaves them flailing about their room helplessly as they wrack their brain for something, anything to work with.
Yep, hello darkness my old friend - I'm talkin' writer's block!
Usually you'll find your own ways past this little devil (wow, I am just.. cranking out the ridiculous figures of speech today, I am sorry. If you want to know how much I've loosened up since starting this blog, well - I'm not even worried about if they make sense or not lol. Full speed ahead!), but until that happens, you're left to try every possible option, and sometimes seeing how others deal with it can be a big help.
The number of ways to get past writer's block are infinite, and I'm still discovering new ones every time I get hit with it. Here's a few that, for me, seem to work more often than not!
1. Tell yourself that you're going to write an insanely quick micro poem or story.
Success rate: Lately, this is the method I've been using most often. It's surprisingly effective, at least for now.
Method: All you do is, when you go to write, just tell yourself that all you need is one or two good lines. A micro piece. And whether that's what you are actually going for or not, pretend it is. Put as much meaning as you can into those lines. It's a lot less intimidating to try for something so small, and often it'll inspire a larger story.
2. Write whatever nonsensical things pop into your head.
Success rate: This only works for me about half the time I try it, but I've always been horrible at brainstorming.
Method: Just write whatever comes to mind; words, phrases, objects, people, feelings, places. Don't judge them, not yet. Make up a joke without actually thinking about it. It could be anything, and doing this could inspire anything. You just have to happen upon the right sentence or word that sparks an idea!
3. Watch a show, a movie, read a book.
Success rate: Typically very high. We all know how inspirational a good movie, TV show, or book can be. This could also lead to a day of guilty binging, though, so attempt with caution.
Method: Pay attention (or don't; you could always just casually let it catch your eye and take note) to the settings and environments, the characters, their development and emotions, the plot, even the random items scattered about - pick out something that draws your attention, makes you laugh or cry, and write about it. Think about how you would describe it.
4. Browse around and read things from other writers, the Internet.
Success rate: I'd say the success rate here lies somewhere between #2 and #3. It doesn't always work, but the odds that you'll find something are high.
Method: Surf the Internet! Google is your friend (or Bing, or Yahoo.. you get my point). Search things like.. I don't know, "what should I write about," "help I have writer's block," "nature writing prompts," or "random word generator." Anything you like. Maybe go and stop by your favorite writing blogs, see what they're up to (I'm always happy to see you! lol!). Heck, maybe you're into writing fanfiction - go read some fanfics.
5. Listen to music while you stare at your screen, or sit and enjoy nature.
Success rate: Both of these things are like inspiration overload. Most likely something will spring to mind, eventually. If not, it's at the very least good time spent relaxing - something that we all could use more of.
Method 1: If you have a specific mood you're going for, pick appropriate songs to get you in the zone and to inspire that atmosphere. If you seriously just have nothing, click the shuffle button and enjoy. It might be the lyrics that get you, or the melody. I've found instrumental songs to be excellent for this! I'm less likely to get distracted and start singing along.
Method 2: Take your notebook, your laptop, your phone, or simply your brain (don't forget this. Very important) outside and just let nature's calm wash over you. Alternatively, sit by a window, on your porch, or visit the park. I live by a lake; spend any decent amount of time among my poems, and you'll notice pretty quickly the influence its had on my writing. :)
*Bonus* 6. Tell yourself you need to focus on other things.
Success rate: Eh. Depends on how much you actually need to be doing those other things.
Method: You probably do have things you should be doing other than trying to write, so use this to your advantage - your brain just might start coming up with all kinds of potential ideas. But only when you truly believe you need to be doing something else. Take this post, the 4 or 5 stories, and about 30-40 freaking poems I've started since I decided it was time to work on my poetry book.
And if all else fails...
It might be time for you to take a break! Take a week, two weeks, a month - whatever you feel you need to recharge. Writing, unless it's for your career, should never become something you start to dread doing. That doesn't mean quit when it gets tough - it means keep going because you want to. Not because you feel like you have to.
How do you get past writer's block? Have you ever tried any of the methods listed here?