It’s a bit of a tall order right now for me to be giving you advice about how to beat that dreaded writer’s block- when I myself have been suffering heavily with this for the past month. For those of you who don’t already know, I am currently in the middle of writing my first fiction novel… well I say ‘in the middle’ when what I really mean is i’m on chapter 7 of a planned 22 chapters… so realistically i’m just under a third of the way through.
Anyway, I have sat down every single day this week with the document open, willing myself to write just a little section and every day I write a sentence or two before my mind drifts off focus and I lose my inspiration completely. You might be thinking ‘you’re having no trouble writing this blog post though are you?’ and you’d be absolutely right. I’m sat here in bed with my pyjamas on, with a film on (within my genre) to try and give me a little inspiration and what do I do? I open up my blog and begin writing this instead.
I’m the queen on procrastination.
See? I just spent 10 minutes faffing around in my bedroom, braiding my hair whilst in the middle of writing this. Help please?
So, let’s get to the point. Writer’s block. If you are a writer you’ll know that masterpieces very rarely come overnight- and if they do, then you’re in for a good’un. For the rest of us however- there is a lot of thinking in the shower, brainstorming stories, characters, settings etc… and then there’s the nitty gritty- writing out your story. This could take anywhere from a few months to a few years, depending on what you write and the time you can dedicate to your project.
Forget What You Think You Know
I was recently ranting to Sam about my lack of motivation and direction- and how I just couldn’t seem to write that next little section, and he said something very simple to me: YOU DON’T HAVE TO WRITE IN ORDER
This might be old news to many of you seasoned novelists, but to me this was an entirely new concept. For me, writing has always come chronologically… but what if it didn’t have to? Why not instead of writing the scenes leading up to the climax of a chapter, just go ahead and write that climax. Sam said to me that there’n nothing wrong with having all of the pieces written and not connected, because all I had to do was go back and connect the dots. Simple.
Break It Down
Another tip my non-writer boyfriend gave me was to break everything down. If you think you’ve already broken everything down as much as you can, I bet that you can break it down one more level. I began using OneNote, which basically lets you create an online book, segment your chapters, and even break it down into the events that’ll happen in each chapter. This has helped me IMMENSELY. I would show you a full example of mine but I don’t want to give anything away 😉
Draw Inspiration from your Icons
Like I said before- I’m currently watching a film that should help me with my writing- but I also like to re-read my favourite author’s novels in order to gain ideas on sentence structuring- detail for descriptions and even whether to write in first or third person. So if there’s someone’s work that you love and are trying to emulate – go back and use it. Trust me, it really works.
I have to be honest- 90% of my book ideas come from thoughts I have whilst I’m in the shower, and I do believe that I make most of my important decisions in the shower too. Use that alone time to really let your mind drift away into new lands. Discover your character’s backstories; come up with plot lines; and just have fun thinking up new ideas.
Go Out And See
I have Google Docs on my iPhone, which means that when I’m out and about and inspiration hits me I can quickly jot it down. If you know that you want to write a period drama set in a beautiful country home, try and visit one of your local stately homes and the idea might just flow immediately. An example of when I found a random flash of inspiration was upon visiting Orrest Head. A single sentence found it’s way into my consciousness so I wrote it down:
‘A gunshot. Piercing through the sky like lightning, was the only sound that marred an otherwise perfect landscape…’- Imogen Clegg, 2014
I have yet to use this sentence for a story… but it’s stored safely for whenever that idea comes to me. Places are magical, and having something physically in front of you makes it much easier to write a convincing description.
That’s all the tips I have right now, please let me know if this helps any of you or if you have any tips of your own to share!By the way, Sam might not be a writer but he is a photographer, check out his Instagram and send him some love!