Once again a Supernatural gif perfectly sums up my life. Writing is hard. It’s hella hard. There are days when I’ll literally be sitting at the computer for 5 hours straight and only a sentence will get written. Those days are terrible. They defeat you a little bit.
I’ve somehow managed to write six books in four years and I still feel like I could do better. That I could do more. That I SHOULD have done more. I imagine all writers feel that way, whether they’ve written six books or sixty.
There are some tips and tricks I’ve picked up along the way that have helped me keep going; to shake off the doubt and the ever looming writer’s block. Some I’ve discovered on my own. Some I’ve borrowed from other writers. Now I want to share them with you. Just because I know how difficult in can be to be stuck in your book. It feels like you’re pounding your head against a brick wall. So if some of what works for me can work for you…I am more than happy to share.
Tip 1 – Join a Creative Writing Group
- Seriously, I held off joining one for a long time. I had a terrible experience with Creative Writing classes in college. They just weren’t for me. I took every little criticism to heart. It ended up changing my writing style so much that I felt like I didn’t even know who I was as a writer anymore. But I had a lot of writer friends who swore by Creative Writing groups. So I decided to go on to Meetup. I’m sure most of you know what it is, but if you don’t it’s a site where people of similar interests in your area can form groups and then meet up in person. I joined Meetup and found a Creative Writing group that actually seemed pretty cool. And wouldn’t you know it, my friends were right. It’s a group of people you can discuss ideas with, bounce storylines off of, see if something is working-or if maybe you really should scrap it (a thought no writer really wants to ponder). Most importantly, I’ve found that people in these Creative Writing groups give each other support. They know the troubles and hardships of being a writer. They know how passionately you feel about your work. They’re going to encourage you to keep going even when you’re beating your skull against that proverbial brick wall.
Tip 2 – Have Your Own Writing Space
- Have a space that’s designated as just yours and just for writing. A place where your comfortable and relaxed. A space where your brain can be free to simply focus on your work. Years ago I started writing The Protectors Saga in my parents house, in a little nook with a desk, a light and bookshelf where I could tuck myself away and tap on my computer. I made it mine. Decorated it and added things to make me comfortable. To this day, that is the spot where I go back to in order to write my Protectors Saga. I’m there so much that my parents decided to keep my bedroom as it was instead of turning it into the mini gym my mother had longed for once I moved out. I’ve also been blessed with a quaint apartment and an understanding boyfriend who let me turn our small walk-in closet into my own personal tiny writing space. He only threatened to move all his kicks back in there on the few occasions he walked in and caught me watching Netflix instead of working on my books. The closet is small, but that’s all I really need. I can shut the door to my tiny hideaway and let my mind and imagination wander to the places I need it to. Carve out a place of your own. Even if it’s no bigger than a closet, it’s yours.
Tip 3 – Create a Playlist
One of the things that works best for me – my constant fallback – is music. I’ve created dozens of playlists or all sorts of moods. In fact, each character has their own playlist. Each important place has its own playlist. Each couple has their own playlist. When I’m having trouble finding the right mood I need to be in, I pop in my headphones and reach for my tunes. Try it. It works wonders for me. I don’t know how I’d ever make it through one of my battle scenes without the right beat pumping in my eardrums.
Tip 4 – Netflix
As crazy as this might seem (considering Netflix is a time sucking void that often steals precious hours away from writing), it can be used as a super helpful chisel against writer’s block. For me, movies and tv can be a HUGE motivator. Watch something in the same genre as the story you’re writing. Something you know love. Something that can and will inspire you. Romance, Fantasy, Western, Horror, Sci-fi – there’s something to get any genre juices pumped.
Tip 5 – Allow Yourself Time Away From Writing
- Sometimes you just have to get away. Get up. Step away from the computer or the notebook and just…take a breather. Go for a walk. Call up some friends and go to the movies. Play with your pet. Go out to dinner. Do something! And you may have to do a lot of somethings for a lot of days, but eventually the itch to write will come back to you. There was one time I hit the writing block wall HARD. Couldn’t get past that sucker…it was made of titanium. So I gave up. I gave up and lived my life. And wouldn’t you know it, after about a month I started to get that twitch we writer’s get. The twitch to write something down. And so I did. I sat down at the computer again and was able to finish my novel. I know a month seems like a long time – and it was – SOOOOO long. But I needed it. The creative part of me just needed a break. Don’t beat yourself up if you need to step away. Sometimes it’s the best thing you can do for your writing!
Good luck and Good Writing!