For all but the lucky few, creative writing of any kind is hard work. It takes time, discipline, energy and imagination – and you need ALL four of those components at the same time, which is no easy thing.
So here are a few little tips to help you when you’re finding writing particularly hard.
1. Write less – Crazy I know but if you’re someone who has the discipline to write every day for hours at a time then you may be burned out. Consider taking a week off and then reducing your hours for awhile. This will give a chance for your writing passion to re-ignite.
2. Write more – How can this be here if I’ve just advised you to write less? Well this is for people who simply don’t write often enough. A writer should write every day, even if it’s just for ten minutes, to keep the creative part of the brain flowing. Schedule a small block of time every day to write and stick to it. No matter what.
3. Know what you’re writing – When you sit down to write you should be as specific as possible in your intention. Don’t just sit down to write, sit down to work on a very specific project. Tell yourself that this month you are going to start and complete a screenplay based on your idea about a woman who sells her baby and uses the money to start a nursery. If you try and work on a dozen projects at once then you’re probably going to get very little down. Be focused and disciplined in your work and know what you are doing every time you sit down to write.
4. Go for a walk or do some exercise – Step away from your computer for awhile and get your heart rate up. Writing is an incredibly sedentary hobby/profession and it’s important to keep in shape. The body and mind are all part of the same whole and you need to keep both healthy. Exercise will give you a rush of endorphins that will make you feel great and help you focus when you sit down to write. The time away from your computer will also give your subconscious mind a chance to work out any kinks in your story that may be slowly down your progress. Get away from your work and let your mind wander for awhile.
5. Take a nap – If you’re tired then taking a short 30 minute nap can really re-charge your batteries. Try taking a nap and then wake up and start writing immediately whilst you are energised.
6. Give yourself a daily ‘creative hour’ – Give yourself an hour every day in which to be creative in an area outside of writing. Trying listening to classical music whilst drawing, for example. Even if you’re not a good artist this can open up new paths in your writing for you. The more creative activities you engage in the more creative juices you’ll get flowing.
7. Accept that what you will write will suck – When you sit down to write you are hoping to write something that is absolutely perfect. Who could do anything under that sort of pressure? Instead, when you sit down to write, tell yourself that your writing sucks and what you are about to write is just for fun an practice. A lot of great writers admit their first drafts aren’t very good and that it is the subsequent redrafts their work becomes something special – inexperienced writers tend to expect to nail it right away.
Cast aside your perfectionism and just write.
Do you have any tricks for beating writer’s block? Let us know in the comments below…