I’m gonna tell you something sort of crazy. I don’t believe in writer’s block. Yeah I know there are times you just don’t feel like writing, or can’t get the words to come out how you want them to, but I think calling it writer’s block makes it a thing. Makes it worse than it is. It gives you an excuse to not write. At least that’s what it feels like when I do it. I have writer’s block! Gonna play Sims 4 for 17 hours instead.
Maybe you just need a break, totally okay. Maybe you’re being lazy, totally okay also. But once you start Web-Mding your lack of writing motivation it could lead to a longer break than you need and then your book gets stale & you lose momentum. Not giving into the dreaded writer’s block is also a great way to train yourself for having a publishing deal – where you’ll be working on deadline/not having the luxury of writing only when you feel like it. Basically, my refusal to believe in writer’s block helps me avoid not writing. (I also refuse to believe that lack of inspiration is a thing, if I gave in to that I’d always be uninspired. For me it’s a big mental game). I know this might not work for you, but I do know a few things that might help in a more practical way and these are the methods that help me when I rather be doing anything else but writing.
Make a Writing Playlist Inspired by Your Manuscript
This is a big one for me. I have a set playlist for every book I write, but also a longer one I keep private and add to when needed. Just making the playlist, listening to or finding the write songs for a scene is sometimes enough to get me itching to write again. I’ve even made a few playlists to share with others, which you can find here. Music is a big part of the writing process for me, and my books have tons of references to songs, so for me a playlist is a great way to kick my ass into writing again. Try it, might help you too.
Write Something Different
Maybe the scene your writing is sucking the life out of you and you just need to write something else. I’m not suggesting writing a new book but maybe jump out of order, write a chapter you’re excited about that comes later in the book, or maybe just a scene between two characters in your manuscript that you love – it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t end up making it into your book, but you might just get an awesome chunk of writing out of it too. Writing a journal entry as one of your characters is also a great way to get your brain going again, it can be about anything, so long as you’re writing.
Write Somewhere New
If you always write at home, or in that one coffee shop with the cute barista that gives you extra whipped cream, it might be time for a change of scenery. I’m lucky in that I set my book in NYC, so I can just hop on the train and write where my scenes actually take place (super fun to do if you can, I highly recommend). If your story takes place on Mars though, this might not be so easy – so find a new place to write, maybe just another coffee shop, your local library, your friend’s house that has a great view of the river – whatever! Or maybe you need to spruce up your writing space at home, get a poster of Mars, some twinkle lights, anything that might make you feel like you’re where your story takes place can help.
Do The Hemingway
Advice from Papa himself, which has almost always worked for me:
“The best way is always to stop when you are going good and when you know what will happen next. If you do that every day when you are writing a novel you will never be stuck. That is the most valuable thing I can tell you so try to remember it.”
Watch a Movie That’s Like Your Book
There are a few movies that inspired Riddle of The Timekeeper, Jumanji is one of them and if I’m feeling stuck watching it always helps. The Goonies, Back to The Future, The Craft and Harry Potter are all some of my fav go-to movies when I’m on the writing struggle bus. Author’s Anonymous (currently on Netflix), a really great movie for any writer, is also a one I watch pretty often. Although it’s nothing like my book, just seeing authors on screen, writing, failing and succeeding helps me get back to my own edits/writing. Find a movie that has a similar feel to your manuscript, or something you were inspired by, pop some popcorn, and give it a watch.
Just Write and Stop Crying
Not everything you write is going to be a masterpiece, especially on first draft. It’s totally okay to write a big piece of crap, because you’re going to edit the bejesus out of it right? (I mean, you should be if you want to be published dude). The point is getting words on paper, it might not come out as bad as you think, and yeah it might suck also but it’s better than a blank page. If I waited till I felt like writing, I’d still be on my first draft all these months later. You don’t have to write every day, there are no set rules for how often or how much you need to write, and not writing every day doesn’t mean you’re not a writer. But not writing at all, giving up all together does. It means you like the idea of being a writer but not the hard work it takes to be one. So take a deep breath, put on some tunes, and in the words of Faulkner don’t be “a writer”. Be writing.