You’ve probably been in this situation at some point in your life: You’re sitting in front of a computer screen, fingers hovering over the keyboard, but you can’t type a word. You’re frozen, as that lovely idea you’ve had inside your head just won’t come out onto paper. After yet another cup of coffee or what have you, you crumple up paper after paper in frustration as you say to yourself “Nope! That won’t work!” Diagnosis? Writer’s Block. It creeps up on us writers, when we least expect it. So how do you beat it? With so many tip out there, how do you know which one’s right for you? Truth is, there is no right answer because everyone has different abilities and styles. Having been struck by Writer’s Block countless times (especially in high school) myself, I’d like to share with you a few things.
- Choose your writing time wisely. By this, I mean write when you are most alert and productive. Some function in the morning, while others choose to write well into the wee hours of the night. For me, it depends day-to-day but I usually like to write in the evenings. So decide which time of the day works best for you. Moreover, if an idea suddenly comes to you at say 3AM, then get up and start plugging away while it’s fresh in your mind assuming you can get yourself out of bed.
- Jot it down! Carry a small notebook with you wherever you go and write down your ideas. You never know when an idea will suddenly just pop in your head, so it’s important to be prepared. It’s easy to say, “Oh, I’ll remember it later,” but believe me you’ll forget it. Better yet, record those new ideas into your tablet, iPhone, Blackberry, etc. This way, you’ll have all those written ideas in front of you when you’re ready to put pen to the paper.
- Plan an outline. Some writers prefer to sit in front of the computer and simply write what comes to them, which is perfectly fine. Me, I like to plan an outline of each chapter ahead of time. This means, I jot down in point form the main highlights of each chapter from the opening line to the last sentence. And if you’re writing a novel, this is a good habit to into. You have something in stone to follow, and you’re less likely to get stuck for ideas. After all, you want to spend more time typing and less time staring off into space.
- Don’t fight it. Sometimes, Writer’s Block comes and you just can’t shake it. Nothing wrong with that, and when it does happen just power down your laptop and go back to writing later. It doesn’t matter how long it takes to get that book finished, just as long as you do. Writing isn’t a race, it is a journey just like life. If you aren’t able to write one day, you can go back to it another day. Us writers have those “off” days when we just can’t get that chapter done or that idea won’t come out. Accept it and know that there’s always tomorrow.
Hope this has been helpful. Happy writing!