We all get stuck at some point in our writing. For me, it often comes at the end. When I should be wrapping it up with my best illustration or take home application, I just sit and stare at the screen. Here are ten changes to make when you have writer’s block. Try all ten if necessary!
- Change your location. I do most of my writing in my bedroom. But when I was finishing Speechless, I went to the library. I needed a quiet place where I wouldn’t be distracted. Some people love coffee shops. Others move to the couch near an open window. Give yourself something new to see and maybe your vision will become clear.
- Change your view. Maybe you need to look at something besides a blank screen. Set your timer for five minutes and click around to Facebook, Twitter, and/or Pinterest. Or open a book. I like to open my Bible to the book of Psalms for inspiration. Just get your eyes off the screen to take the pressure off for a few minutes.
- Change your background noise. I write best when I have a basketball or football game on, just to listen to. If there’s no game on or I want a change, I may pop in a movie I’ve seen a dozen times, or I’ll turn on my favorite Pandora Internet radio station. Just enough noise to drown out the silence is best for my background level.
- Change your direction. If you’re trying to add 100 more words to a specific chapter, or if you’re forcing a character to do something she’s resisting, change the direction of your writing. Start somewhere new. Pretend you’re writing one of those “choose your adventure” books and write more than one scenario for your character to see what works best. Even if you go the wrong direction, as least you’re moving. You can always u-turn later.
- Change your sheets. Or mow the yard. Or fold the laundry. Agatha Christie said, “The best time for planning a book is while you’re doing the dishes.” Do something with your hands that leaves your mind free.
- Change your mood. Writing Speechless was deeply personal. Some chapters were actually painful to relive. There were times I had to step away to pull myself out of those emotions. I take moments like that to pray, thanking God for His provision to get me through and asking Him for continued strength.
- Change your heart rate. Take a walk to get your heart pumping. Or do your favorite work-out DVD. Kick start your endorphins and maybe you’ll kick start your typing fingers.
- Change your company. Call a friend just to chat for a few minutes. Or, call your mom and tell her how hard you’re working so she can remind you what a brilliant writer you are. Writers can be a lonely bunch; maybe you just need someone to keep you company for a little while.
- Change your vocabulary. Sometimes, it’s not that I’m blocked, I’m just stuck on a word or sentence. So I click over to Thesaurus. com. I look up one word and keep clicking until I find the right word, or decide to go another direction.
- Change your beverage. Most writers live on coffee. I prefer lemonade. Maybe all you need to clear your mind is a fresh mug or cold glass. It couldn’t hurt, right?
What’s your favorite way to push through writer’s block?