Monday, August 24, 2015

10 Things to Do When the Writing Doesn't Flow

Some days I find myself sitting in front of the computer, head hurting, staring at a blank screen. Although the desire to write is there, the words aren't. Maybe it's the headache. Maybe it's the 50 other things rolling around in my brain, crowding out the words. Who knows.

One thing I'm sure of, though. On these days, there are still things I can do to further my story. Even if I'm not putting words on the page.

Here are 10 things we can do when the writing doesn't flow:

1. Research. Do I need to know what songs my character would listen to? Do I need to know more about the era my historical novel is based in? This is a good time to browse the internet or take a trip to the library.

2. Build platform. Take the time to interact with your followers. Follow someone new. Comment on a few blog posts. Start a newsletter for your readers/followers.

3. Take an online course. Struggling with a character? Want a better understanding of plot? Need to focus on a particular genre? There are several online courses that cover any number of writing topics/areas. Take one.

4. Attend a critique group. This is a great way to get feedback on what you've written so far.

5. Brainstorm. Call up a few writer friends and have a brainstorming session. This is a great way to get unstuck.

6. Exercise. Take a walk. Go for a jog or a bike ride. Or pull out that P90X DVD collecting dust. Exercise is great for the body and the brain.

7. Do something else that's creative. Creative types typically have more than one creative talent. Do you paint? Are you a photographer? Do you knit? Take an afternoon to express yourself in another format and see how much that frees up the words to flow.

8. Find your story online. A lot of authors will search the internet for people and settings that remind them of their characters and scenes. Save them in a folder on your computer or in your internet toolbar. Or create a secret folder on Pinterest. When you need inspiration, pull them up.

9. Read. I find that when I read another author's writing, it tends to inspire me to get back to my own. A great story by someone else can spark the creative engine in you to get you going again.

10. Free write. Write whatever is crossing your mind at the moment. Think of it as an info dump onto a blank page. Pretty soon, you'll find yourself back in story mode with words flowing freely onto the page.

Hopefully you've found something helpful in the list, and you've been able to get back to your writing. Whatever you do, don't let that blank screen intimidate you too long. You want to be sure to get words on the page within 24 hours.

What helps you overcome writer's block? We'd love to know, so please share your answers in the comments section of this post.

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