The thrills and chills of starting on a blank page
To be honest, I don’t think the writing process is exciting for a good many of writers. However, I feel like I may be the exception to that generalization. As I am one of the very few who can be completely taken over by a new idea. That’s not to say that I can have a great idea, and still be crushed by my own fear of the “blank page.”
Getting started, makes writing the hardest thing to do. By start, I mean every single day, sitting down and deciding to begin again. Each new chapter begins a new blank page all over and along with it the same old fears and anxieties.
“What if I lose track of my story?” “I am starting to run out of ideas” “What if I write my character into a situation that completely ruins my story?” and so on. Your fears might look something like mine, and if not, I’m sure they’re still pretty well founded.
So where do you find the strength to write, even when it feels like you’ve stumbled into a writing block? To be completely real with you guys, I have suggestions I can offer; however it’s still difficult for me too.
Tips To Use When Faced with a Writing Block
- Declutter Your Writing Space: If you’re a neat freak, this one, for obvious reasons will not apply to you. However, if you’re the chaotic, unorganized, “write as the mood takes me writer”, and you end up stuck too: that can very well be the problem. I’m the type of writer that will use the clutter at my writing desk as an excuse to avoid writing. If i’m not “in the mood to write”, I find the clutter too distracting and will distance myself from writing altogether. By clearing the space out instead, I find myself clearing my mind too. In fact, as I’m cleaning up, fresh ideas will literally pop up inside my brain.
- Do Some Creative Research: Did you know that the “research phase” of writing doesn’t really end? If you feel like you are at a blocked place, maybe you need to do some research. No, this doesn’t mean scroll social media all day long but if that’s where you get your ideas it may just be. Research has it’s limits though, so when you’re looking up ideas make sure to give yourself a start and end time. If you’re gonna ask me, I’d say 15-30 mins. max. is all you need. In fact, 30 minutes might just be pushing it a little bit. Tumblr happens to be one of my favorite places to go for research. In fact, you can follow my tumblr here, and find some great writers resources, tools, and ideas.
- Create and Listen to Your Writing Music Playlist: Believe it or not, this is definitely “a thing”. Just do a quick youtube search, and you will find playlists other writers have created to write too. Some playlists contain cafe’ style music, others are move enthusiastic movie scores. I found the movie score playlist idea brilliant, so I like to write to the Harry Potter soundtracks for most of my writing. Since I love action, adventure and romance, I like scores that make me feel like something amazing is about to take place. I also write some YA and romance, so I also create contemporary music playlists for those kinds of writing. Either way, listening to music is a great way to open up that writing block.
- Read, Cliche’ But that’s It: I always find it interesting when writer’s complain about reading, but find themselves in a writing block. Not saying that you need to love to read to become a writer, but you may find the cure to the blockage you’re facing by picking up a book. All writer’s complain about the “just read” concept, heck, even I have. That’s why it’s one of my recommends. I complained, I read, then the ideas would begin to flow. Whatever genre you hope to enter into, or are in, pick up a book by your bestselling competitor and read. Not only will you come up with some cool ideas, but you will also have a better understanding of what it takes to create a best selling novel.
- Evaluate Your Writing Routine: If you’re reading the word “routine” with a blank stare right now, then Ta-da! You have your #1 problem that’s causing your writing block. Pick a time of day in your schedule that you want to devote to your w.i.p. (that’s work in progress if you aren’t already aware). Many of the famed writers of past and present, swear by writing first thing in the morning. I try to set a series of alarms (don’t judge me) between 5:30 am. to 6:00 am. so that I can spend 15-30 minutes on my project. I know they say real writers write everyday, and there’s definite truth in that. However, you don’t always have to work on your novel; you can journal, write a blog post, a poem, even do some “research” to work on developing your character out more.
All of these activities are considered writing, and the best part is you can do any of these things during your writing routine. Same time, Same place, Everyday. Just do it. Write, especially when it’s hard to do so.