You want to write fiction, you really, really do. But you’re experiencing a major case of writer’s block. Your well is dry. You feel uninspired. You’re worried you’ll never, ever write again. Sound familiar?
Why Do We Get Writer’s Block?
We get writer’s block because writing is hard work. Let’s not pretend that the practice of fiction writing is jam-packed with unicorns and fluffy teddy bears who shower us with glitter as we walk to the lollipop river. Writing fiction is a challenge. Hemingway said it and so have a lot of other famous authors.
There are a lot of things in life that are challenging and we do them. If you:
Take care of kids
Work a full-time job
Help your elderly parents
Volunteer in your community
Serve on a nonprofit board
…you already know all about challenges.
Where to Start When You Have Writer’s Block
How effective are you when you feel harried, stressed and overwhelmed? Chances are, not very. Inspiration comes from a place of peaceful stimulation. So, the first thing to do is look at your life. What’s your weekly schedule look like? Where do you have downtime you might be able to use to daydream, relax or chill offline? Your brain needs that break.
Writing fiction should be fun! If you are dreading your fiction writing time because of writer’s block, try to brainstorm some ways to make that time more enjoyable. It might be setting a timer and trying to beat your words-per-minute, lighting a scented candle or gathering inspiration by doing a little research. Whatever you do, just don’t give up. Don’t put your fiction writing aside indefinitely or you may find it’s 500 times harder to pick it up again.
Simple Tips to Overcome Writer’s Block: Refill Your Well
Step #1: Rest
That’s right. I’m giving you permission today to take a break. Put your feet up. Rest on your laurels. Recharge your batteries. Creating from an exhausted state is nearly impossible. And when you add stress into the mix things get ugly very quickly. We don’t want ugly.
But resting won’t cure writer’s block, right? That’s true.
So, take a big, deep breath. This next assignment won’t be easy. We’re about to go into territory that very few of us like. It’s important though, maybe even imperative in your fiction writing journey.
Step #2: Give Up Stuff
True, this tip to overcome writer’s block doesn’t have anything to do with writing either. The task? Give up some things you’ve been doing. Just don’t expect your family to cheer you on when you tell them that they will have to start making their own dinner once a week or putting away their own laundry.
You aren’t likely to hear enthusiastic “hurrahs!” from volunteer boards when you step down. The other moms at the school might not understand that, no, you can’t bake another batch of cupcakes. It is someone else’s turn.
Step #3: Schedule Creative Time
Let’s start with time. We’re not going to try to find a few hours a week to focus on fiction writing. We’re starting small.
Could you free up 15-30 minutes a day to nurture your creative side? Note: I’m still not encouraging you to write at this point. Fill first, pour later. Can you give yourself the gift of time and energy needed to become a fiction writer?
Yes? Great. Take that 15-30 minutes and bring yourself on a creative field trip. Browse the library and look for good fiction to read. Buy an anthology packed with short stories in your genre. Or, go in a completely different direction and don’t do anything related to writing or words. Instead, spend your lunch hour at a museum or art gallery or craft shop. Take a walk and snap some beautiful nature photos.
Writer’s Block Rehab? It Starts with Nurturing Yourself
Getting over writer’s block doesn’t happen magically. But it will happen if you learn to loosen up and let yourself create from a place of inspiration. Sometimes the best book ideas come to authors when they’re thinking about something completely unrelated to their subject matter.
Please, don’t push so hard. Don’t try to force things to happen. Trust that when the time is right, the idea will come. Enjoy the process. Relax. Take some big, deep breaths. Look for new things that inspire you.
Whether you’re just beginning on this fiction writing journey or have been writing for years and are experiencing writer’s block, I hope that these tips help.