Writer’s block, it hits us all at times. Writing is challenging, occasionally this can lead us to lose a bit of motivation, especially if life is busy and hard too. I’m in this position at the moment, I’ve been so busy studying for my Pilates course, on top of working, that I’ve not had the time to write, and when I have I just can’t get the flow. So, how do you overcome this? What motivates you to write? or gets you out of a slump? Here are a few ideas of things that motivate me, that you might find helpful too 🙂
I’m sure most of you will be aware of these ideas anyway, having tried and tested them yourself in the past, maybe they worked for you, maybe they didn’t, and maybe there is something here you hadn’t thought of before that might help you now!
- Read something different – Try reading a book on writing, especially one that has exercises for you to try, it might just give you that boost you need to get writing again. Reading widely is important for writers, it helps you see different styles and techniques that you can use in your own work, as well as being fun in its own right. While you are at it why not write a review of the book, at least you are writing then!
- Listen to music – Pay attention to the lyrics, is there a story there waiting to be written? Could you write it? Feel the music, feel the emotions the music stirs up in you, then try writing about how you felt from different perspectives, show, don’t tell, could you use this for a character in one of your stories?
- Go out, explore somewhere new, or just sit in a local coffee shop, treat yourself to your favourite drink and a slice of cake and observe people. Take your notebook, write what you see, hear, taste, smell and feel. I’m sure you will get plenty of interesting nuggets that you could use in your writing from observing in this way.
- Research – Sometimes it is necessary to ensure you use factually accurate information in your writing. Maybe you need to know more about a topic for your current work in progress and not knowing is holding you back on writing. Or, maybe you want to write about something you know nothing about – always a difficult thing to do. Pop online and do some research on the subject, or pop to the local library and combine with tips 1 and 3 to really give yourself a boost!
- Use a picture as a prompt – just Google ‘Picture prompts for writing’ and scroll through the images that come up until one grabs your attention, and then write… just let it flow, whatever comes to mind. Is it an object, a place, a person? If it is an object, what is it used for, who does it belong to? A place – imagine you are there in the picture, what are you doing? where are you? A person – who are they? how would they cope if the world was ending? Picture prompts are so much fun to work with, I use them a lot for writing flash fiction.
- Do something else instead – take a break from thinking about writing, try another creative craft. I like trying new things, or going back to other creative activities, like crochet. I recently had a try at bookbinding and made a lovely note-book with a kit from Learn Bookbinding great fun, and easier than I thought it would be, and now I have a lovely new book to write in, that I made myself! 😀
- Set aside time to write – give yourself time and space to focus on your craft, allow yourself that time out, at a time that suits you. Add it to your daily/weekly schedule and use that time to write. This is one I need to implement properly myself – I am always too busy to write, yet other things get a slot in my schedule, and if it’s on my schedule it happens, so why shouldn’t writing be there!? It’s important enough to me that I should make it a priority and give the time it deserves. Switch off from everything else, all distractions and just write.
- Set yourself a challenge, or deadline. Or, join in with an existing one such as Nanowrimo or Row80. Sometimes just having a deadline to meet or ‘checking in’ with others can spur you on. If you haven’t got a publisher setting you deadlines in which to submit your work, set your own. Maybe you want to enter your story in a particular contest, that would have a deadline, use it to encourage and motivate you to get on with writing. And, talk to other writers, on Facebook or Twitter, ask what they are doing to get out of a slump, join in twitter chats about writing, there are a whole raft of tags you can link into to start/join a conversation with other writers including #writingtip where you can get lots more tips to help you write.
- Get together with other writers, join a local writing group if there’s one near you, if you don’t know you might be able to find out at your local library. Having other people to bounce ideas off can be a great source of help and inspiration, you might also get to do some writing activities together, and even set some of those deadlines! If there isn’t a writing group maybe there’s a creative writing class nearby – or you could even host one yourself – now there’s a challenge for you! I’m doing that myself this weekend – eeek scary!!
- Mindful writing – more on this in another post, but for now, think of an experience you have had, good or bad. Now, give it some attention, what made it good or bad, who else was involved, when and where was it, how did you feel? Then, let it go, don’t write about it, write from it, use the experience to shape your writing without directly writing about the experience itself. That’s a tough one, hey?
What do you think?
Have you tried any of these?
What other tips can you share that will help encourage people to get on with their writing? Leave a comment sharing your favourite writing motivational tip 🙂