Monday, 2 May 2016

When the Words Don't Flow

Okay, so it happens to all of us writers at some point.

Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, no matter how many times you sit down to write, the words don't come. Or maybe you can't even bring yourself to sit at your desk and try to write...I know this has happened to me more than once in recent months.

Like I said, it happens to us all. I've personally been in a rut the last couple of months, but I'm slowly starting to 'word' again. So, I'm sharing some of my tried and tested tips to help you out of a writing drought.

1. Accept there's a problem, but don't beat yourself up about it

Sit down, relax, and stop stressing because you aren't writing. We're not taps. You can't just turn creativity on and off. Acknowledge you're struggling to write anything and that it's okay to not be writing. Taking the pressure off can do wonders for your productivity.

2. Find the cause

Does the thought of sitting down to write this one particular story fill you with dread? Are you bored to tears thinking about the next scene? Can you just not think of a story to write next? Whatever the cause, think it through. Maybe you need to take the story in a new direction, or perhaps it's just not the right story for you at all.

For me, I worked out I had two problems going on. I've been in a big rut of self-doubt lately, and I was also forcing myself to write a story before it was ready. I took some time away, and am working on a different story for now. I've tried not to be so hard on myself, but I'll admit I'm still struggling to word right now. It'll get's just a matter of pushing through.

3. Reread your favourite books

This one helps me every time I hit a 'word wall', no matter the cause. Fall back in love with your favourite characters and worlds again. Give yourself permission not to write, but to read instead. Maybe rewatch your favourite movies, too. Visit galleries and museums you love. Do anything you can to replenish the well. Writers spend as much time not writing as we do's all still part of the process. Give yourself permission just to be inspired and let ideas bounce together in your head.

4. Brainstorm

Write down everything you LOVE in a list. If you hit on something particularly exciting, you might even generate some novel ideas. But, sometimes just the process of writing down everything you adore in a book, or what you love to read, sparks those crucial connections getting you back in front of your notebook or computer. It's certainly helped me before! I actually do this when I'm stuck in the middle of a manuscript, too. Sometimes reminding myself why I'm writing that particular book gets everything going again.

And above all, everyone, do not put pressure on yourself to write. It's not a race. The words will flow again. Sometimes the moment you stop obsessing over your (lack of) writing is exactly the moment your imagination gets to work! :)

May the words be with you all!