Hello writers! I hope you have been staying safe and well. It’s a pleasure to be on the blog and for today’s post, I’m going to be talking about how to tackle writer’s block. Writer’s block can be part of the process, but after the last few years, you may feel like you are suffering from writer’s block on steroids. If you don’t feel inspired to write, it’s completely understandable and it doesn’t make you any less of a writer. Stress can put a damper on creativity and I think it’s important to acknowledge that and give ourselves a little grace. To assist you, I’ve compiled a list of five things that can help you back on your creative path:
1. Start off with small goals, but make those small goals attainable. Maybe that means thinking about an overall concept, or, maybe that means setting a weekly word count. All stories start from an idea. From that idea it’s a word, then a sentence, then a paragraph, then pages, until it evolves into a complete manuscript. Getting into a creative flow and keeping it going works in a similar manner. If you start small and reach those goals, it will give you the confidence and the fuel you need to keep going.
2. Watch TV or movies. Maybe you need to relax and be entertained to get those creative ideas flowing or you can watch something that is in the genre you are writing. Immerse yourself in the TV/movie. Take note of the setting and sounds. Pay attention to the emotions and facial expressions of the actors. There can be so much conveyed without saying anything. Take it all in and translate that to the page.
3. Put on some music. As I mentioned above, listening to a soundtrack from a TV/movie or playing music in general can spark creativity. Sometimes it’s good to let out your daily frustrations and get lost in your favorite playlist. Think about what your characters would listen to. What would their playlist be if they had one? What music would fit in a scene and why?
4. Take pictures and make your own vision board/aesthetic. Sometimes I like to snap photos on my phone and use the editing tools to enhance the color, tone, vibrancy etc. It can help with creating setting and mood for my characters and really build point of view.
5. Get involved with your writing community. Having a writing community is so important. Writing and publishing takes so much time, effort, and patience and it’s great to be in contact with those who truly get it. Consider being a beta reader or critique partner for someone else. Sometimes taking a break from your own work is exactly what you need. Not only are you helping another writer, but you can come back to your manuscript with a fresh perspective. You can also join in on writing conversations on social media. I run a monthly Twitter chat #TheWritersZen and always welcome writers to get involved in our conversations.
Remember, whether it takes you eight months or eight years to finish your manuscript, if you write, you are a writer and there is no time limit on that. Give yourself some grace and creativity will find its way back to you.
Jessica Reino is a Senior Literary Agent at Metamorphosis Literary Agency. Working for many years as a freelance substantive editor and being a multi-genre author herself, it is no surprise that Jessica has a wide variety of tastes when it comes to storytelling. Whether the story is tackling tough topics, or serves solely to entertain, Jessica enjoys manuscripts that are well-written with a strong voice in order to make that emotional connection. Jessica has been a contributor for The Children’s Writer’s Guild Online Magazine as well as a reviewer for Story Monsters, Ink. She is a member of SCBWI New England and The Women’s Fiction Writers Association where she was a Webinar Program Leader.
Connect with Jessica on Twitter @JNRlitauthor where she runs a monthly Twitter chat #thewriterszen.