I was a good student in high school. Not great, don’t get me wrong, but I was in all Honors and AP classes with a B average. I did my work, got the grades and stayed involved. With that being said, I did not pay attention, and that would be the factor that would have made my 3.3 a 4.0.
It was during a cold September here in Cincinnati during my third bell American History class that I discovered my knack for story writing. Anna, a girl I have known since I was seven years old, sat in front of me. I began scribbling a story about a girl named Riley Carlson who was a member of a secret branch of the United States CIA. I would scribble out a page worth of material, tare it out of my spiral bound notebook, and pass it up to Anna without looking. She was my first fan (swoon<3)
Since that discovery during my sophomore year, I have spent more time with my computer, a word document and my stories than I have on any school assignment. Just like reading, writing became my escape. My dull mortal life was nothing in comparison to the lives of the heroines in my stories.
And then, somewhere along the line, I became an adult. I got a real job, a husband, a house to keep and an 18 month old puppy. The time for writing has almost completely dissolved.
Well, I shouldn’t say completely.
I do have the time; but lately those creative juices have not been flowing. Let’s be honest, sitting in a dull cubicle with a phone beeping in your ear every three minutes doesn’t exactly inspire creativity. So it has been a serious struggle!
That is not to say that I do not try. At least once or twice a week I spend a few hours in my office trying to get those stories out of my head and into a saved document. But as I sit down and put my hands on the keyboard, I freeze. I draw a blank. No one is home. Out of the office.
It is So. Beyond. Frustrating.
And the worst part is that I cannot seem to get out of this slump. I need to be creative. I miss it. My creativity is a huge part of who I am and I feel like it is gone. Nothing I have been creating lately has impressed me. I am a Leo, a perfectionist, and if it isn’t perfect I might as well not try.
But Momma didn’t raise no quitter.
So in the true millennial fashion, I turned to Google.
There are hundreds upon thousands of articles claiming they know the x amount of ways to beat writer’s block; all of which include some form of:
Set aside an hour EVERY day.
Go for a walk, write in a new space.
Read a book or listen to music
There is no one cure heals all when it comes to writers block, as I have found. We all go through it. We are creatives; inspiration isn’t exactly lurking behind every fallen leaf. We go through spells where the world is ending and there will be no turning back. We are a dramatic bunch, I can tell you that.
So what do I do? Well, it is a combination of them all really. I always always start by picking up a book, get back to my roots ifuwill. Usually this gets my fingers itching to start typing, my mind reeling with I can write a better story thoughts that have absolutely no backing whatsoever.
My next move is to just write! I put down the book, turn on some music and just write. Typically there is a feel to what I am writing so I try and pick music that will match the tone. For example, if I am writing a post break-up scene T-Swift (who else?) is my girl. This helps me get in the right frame of mind to get the correct tone and dialogue for the current piece of the puzzle.
I am also a huge Pinterest fan: I can spend waste HOURS scrolling through pins and get myself laughing so hard that I need to run to the bathroom. For my writing however, I focus on quotes. This usually starts with a search for inspirational quotes for writers or famous literary quotes, quick writing prompts or pictures to base a few paragraphs off of. Usually this ends with me mindlessly looking through pins but eh, we do our best.
And finally, EMBARASSING ADMITTAL, I talk to myself. I cannot believe I am disclosing this because Ben doesn’t even know this but, I swear by it. I do it in an empty house or in the car on the way to work: I act out scenes by talking to myself. This tactic works best for dialogue that I cannot get quite right and authentic dialogue and tone is critical!
As I said earlier there is no one cure-all. If you are experiencing a writing block its because you are experiencing a creative block and you need to be inspired. Ask yourself these questions:
Why do I want to write?
What made me start writing?
What is it that I want to share through my writing?
There questions are vital to every writer. I find myself asking and answering these questions on a daily basis because if I don’t know why I am doing it then whoever picks up my writing won’t know why they should read it!
In the comments below drop me a line or two on what you have tried in the past to beat writers block. Did you overcome it?