By Jeana Schafer, junior writing coach
Creative writing is a very specific business. Depending on your mood, you may find that your scenes have floated off track or maybe you’ll find that you just can’t write a scene at all. When met with this struggle, it can often be difficult to write. It is especially frustrating when you are in the middle of writing a chapter, but your mood suddenly changes. Writing something cohesive can feel beyond challenging, especially when you’re not in the mood for it.
Luckily, I have a few tips and tricks to help you overcome writer’s block.
For starters, try listening to music. There are an exceptional amount of playlists available for any mood you wish to put yourself in. Even if you are the type of person who can’t write while multitasking—including listening to music—then try closing your eyes and absorbing that rage, joy, or utter despair blasting through your headphones. It will stick with you long enough to get the words flowing how you want.
Sometimes writer’s block is so severe that such a simple fix doesn’t quite do the trick. If you are writing a longer piece, try going back and rereading the previous chapters. If nothing else, this can give you a chance to make some minor edits and reflect on your previous writing. (Note: Do NOT make major edits when you are already having a hard time writing! At least save the original copy in case you have regrets later.) By the time you finish rereading that portion, the creative juices should start flowing again.
Neither worked? It’s time to…
No! Don’t give up entirely, of course! Trying to write something in the wrong mindset is like trying to eat your favorite meal when you are already stuffed: it doesn’t work. Step away from that story or scene for a moment and do something else. This could mean drop your pencil and walk away from writing for a few minutes or, as I’ve learned works even better, flip to a new page and let yourself write whatever your brain wants. It doesn’t have to make sense or have anything to do with what you were hoping to write. Just let the creativity stream out naturally.
Now, if your writing sounds like complete gibberish after a while, your brain is obviously checked out for the day, so you should call it quits and take a nap.
However, if your writing has some semblance of coherency, these tips are working exactly as they should. Hopefully you get to the point where you can’t stop writing or can happily return to your initial project and write that with renewed ease.
Remember, you can always delete or cross out anything you don’t like later. Writing is a process; don’t feel discouraged if it doesn’t always go as planned. Just write SOMETHING! Good luck!