It happens to all of us. We are pounding out hundreds (if not thousands!) of words in a single sitting… and then BAM. Nothing. It’s as though your brain has become a wrung sponge incapable of producing a single drop of brilliance.
Maybe you just lost the inspiration to write.
Maybe life decided to put you through the ringer and you can’t find the motivation to sit down at the keyboard.
Maybe you feel as though every word you type is wrong and that everything you’ve ever learned about writing must have somehow seeped out of your head.
You see your fellow writer friends happily celebrating their word counts and you just feel like this:
Fear not! You are not alone. Here are a few things that have helped me when I have run up against the creativity brick wall.
1. Read for Fun
Surprisingly, the best thing that gets me in the mood to write is reading. There is something to be said about the process of losing myself in a fantastical world. I think sometimes the demands of the real world choke the creativity and hope out of us. We get so bogged down by reality that it’s hard to engage in the imaginary.
I have so many books on my Kindle just itching to be read. Jumping into one for a few chapters usually does the trick for me, especially if I’m reading an author who writes in a style I admire.
Get your imagination going by allowing it to escape from reality for a little while! Even watching movies can help!
2. Read Craft Books
There are so many incredible books out there about writing. I could probably write an entire blog post on just craft books every author should read.
Sometimes it really helps to study the art of writing. Study strategies, study form, study blog posts relating to topics that interest you. Some of my favorite books on craft include:
- “Plot And Structure” by James Scott Bell
- “Save the Cat” by Blake Snyder
- “The Emotional Craft of Fiction” and “Writing the Breakout Novel” by Donald Maass
- “GMC: Goal, Motivation, and Conflict” by Debra Dixon
- “Structuring Your Novel” and “Creating Character Arcs” by K.M. Weiland
- Any books by Angela Ackerman
I not only find encouragement from their words, but I also find inspiration as well. As I study story structure or classic story models, it can help give me ideas for where my story is going. It can give me deeper insight into my characters and how they are growing and changing.
3. Ask for Help
As simple as it sounds, sometimes the best thing to do when you are stuck is to ask for help! Hopefully, you are a part of the incredible community that is the writing community, either through professional organizations like RWA or ACFW or Realm Makers, or through local critique groups and partners. There are so many great opportunities to make connections with other writers.
My favorite part of being involved in the writing community is how supportive everyone is. There is very little competition, and everyone seems determined to support and uplift each other. When I’m struggling with how to write a certain scene, I love to message my critique partners or post in an online Facebook group. Even Twitter has a great writing community! Ask for ideas, post questions, and you might be surprised at the responses!
I even love asking my husband for ideas. He will start throwing out anything that comes to mind, no matter how “out there”, until I hear something that makes me go “oooh yes! I love that!” Sometimes input from people you love and trust can be an amazing catalyst that triggers a chain reaction of new ideas!
The reality is inspiration is all around us. Go for a walk. Get a change of scenery. Read the news headlines. Sometimes the smallest thing can trigger your writer brain to go haywire, so always keep a list or notebook of ideas to go back to! Those lists of ideas could someday turn into a novel!