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Combatting Writer's Block

Creativity is never guaranteed, and as such, it's unsurprising that such wonders as writer's block exist. My sister works in a creative industry and a few days ago she was struggling to make the layout of a design work - I suggested that she tried out five layouts she would never usually entertain the idea of. Dubiously, she gave it a go. On the second attempt, whilst describing each idea to me in an unimpressed tone of voice, she suddenly exclaimed in amazement that one layout really worked! To be honest, I'd been somewhat dubious about my suggestion as well but it is so often the case that inspiration comes from the least expected places, and there's proof!

When I'm struggling myself with writing I have a few trusty techniques:

  • Re-read my notes - what do I have planned? Have I forgotten any plot twists or new characters? Am I going in the right direction? Could I go in a different direction? 
  • Ask questions - How would your character feel about this? What would they say if they spoke to their mum/a police officer/a squirrel about what has just happened? Are they hungry? What is the weather like at this precise moment in the plot? What sounds are there? 
  • Stop - and edit/ and start on a new section/ and write a new piece/ and go for a walk/ and have a cup of tea/ and talk through your ideas with someone/ and read/ and rest/ and do something entirely different to see if it gives you inspiration or clears your mind and allows you to refocus.
  • Power through - just keep going. Even if it feels like you're writing utter dross, sometimes keeping writing is what gets you over the hurdle. When you're running a marathon and you hit that metaphorical wall, you just have to persevere - sometimes it's the same with writing.

So next time you find yourself stuck in a rut with your writing, or you're unsure how to start, try out these ideas and see if they can get you back on track. Writing is a process and there's no given solution for any one problem; keep an open mind and be experimental, just make sure you remember why you're writing!