I don’t want to call it writer’s block. I think you know the zone I’m talking about. You still want to write, but when you sit down to do it, the words are coming out choppy, you’re not feeling the characters, and it just doesn’t feel like you.
It’s not so much writer’s block as much as it’s just not working! This is the zone where productivity basically comes to die, but I feel like it’s more curable than writer’s block. Or at least, easier to fix. It’s like the prequel to writer’s block. The sore throat before you come down with the full-blown flu. If you nip it in the bud early, you may be able to prevent suffering later.
So when I feel the start of flow problems, these are my 7 go-to’s to fix it. Most of the time, at least one of these tricks will help me out of my funk.
- Listening to music
I’ve said this before, but it deserves repeating! Not everyone can concentrate on writing and listen to upbeat music at the same time, so you’ll have to figure out what works for you, but listening to music that could work as a soundtrack if your book was a movie, or music that works for a specific scene can help you get into the mood easier, so the scene comes better.
I have put songs on replay for hours because it helped a particular scene, so this is one of my favorite go-to’s. Sometimes when the writing’s not flowing, it’s because I forgot to put my music on. #oops
Bonus tip: get Bluetooth earphones! Any earphones would do, really, but not having a cord get in the way of typing or getting up to get a snack really helps that writing mood go uninterrupted.
- Change up your playlist
That being said, sometimes the playlist you have is making you run into the same problems over and over.
Which is why if the playlist I have isn’t working at the moment, changing it up and finding a new one helps a lot. Sometimes I find a song that fits my scene better and put it on replay. Other times I just need to concentrate, so I put on something relaxing. Figure out what works for you and get cracking!
- Create a board on Pinterest
Each of my WIPs has its own board on Pinterest. I might even show you guys one of these days, so you get an idea for the inspiration of my projects.
But finding elements that make me think of my story is so inspiring to me. Finding models for the characters, inspiration for the backgrounds/buildings. Even just photos, textures, or colors that feel right for that story. It’s so much fun, a great way to procrastinate (hehe), and once you’re done, looking over the board every now and then can trigger inspiration!
Using images can also help your descriptions a lot, lemme tell you. Knowing exactly how something looks like (I’m looking at you, historical fiction/fantasy writers!) is a major life-saver, and makes your writing feel more authentic.
Plus, after saving a bunch of images to your story’s pin board, Pinterest will recommend more things related to your story, so just browsing on Pinterest will become inspiring all by itself!
- Create aesthetics
After you’ve created your pin board, Saving a couple photos and putting them together in a collage is yet another way to
procrastinate inspire yourself! Seeing everything that makes your story in a pretty picture together with all the colors complimenting each other can inspire you to make it a reality in your book! Plus, sharing it to social media and seeing your friends react to it can also give you the kick in the pants you need to get ‘er done.
I couple I’ve done in the past:
- Write an extra scene in character
Characters carry the story. If you’re not completely connecting with yours or you’re not sure on their motives, maybe you should figure that out before anything else. Know who your character is and why they’re doing what they do, and it helps the story drive itself.
Sometimes this doesn’t come automatically. You still have your plot to think about! So what I do is write an extra scene, completely separate from the story, where I can practice getting into that character’s head (even a side character). You can write any kind of scene you want, this is supposed to be a fun exercise! A kiss scene, a fight scene, or your character just making themselves a slice of toast.
A tip: write about something your character doesn’t like. I know it sounds weird, but knowing simple things like they don’t like; like athletics, or hating a certain smell, or having some kind of allergy. I find it helps me build that person’s character a lot faster!
- Write someplace else
Writing somewhere you normally don’t can give you a fresh perspective! So pack up your laptop or notebook and head someplace inspiring! A park, the library, bench with a nice view, a cafe, or even just your backyard. Staring at the same things every day can run you into the same problems, so change it up every now and then to stay fresh!
- Break out your pen and notebook
I don’t know why this one works, to tell the truth, but writing a difficult chapter down on paper helps get the words out when they aren’t flowing well on my computer.
The weird thing is, the notebook version is hardly ever the version I stick with. Either it’s riddled with errors I have to correct when I copy it down or I realize it sounds weird once I finish copying, so don’t worry if it doesn’t come out perfect, it still helps! Once I’m finished fixing it on the computer, I’m usually back into the zone and don’t stop until I end up finishing the chapter!
So there you go, my tried and true methods to help writing flow better, I hope you found them useful, and I’ll catch you again soon!