No matter what kind of writing project you attempt, you are going to run into roadblocks, or writer’s block, or mental blocks. All kinds of blocks are bad.
I recently won NaNoWriMo 2016 with a whopping 100K. It was such a huge accomplishment considering the past few years I have always struggled to write every day. This year, I did. I kept the momentum going and before I knew it I was hitting 50K and then 75K and then finally 100K.
You may be wondering: Why is she telling me a success story?
Why am I telling you?
Because it was a success, I hit the word count goal, but the story wasn’t done. I still had five sections to finish. And once I felt like I had won, writing felt like pulling teeth.
My inner editor came back with a vengeance.
The writers block that I had been pushing away, through day after day of writing, finally rolled back down crushing me.
The beautiful characters and story that I had been weaving became stale.
The words had escaped like tortured prisoners.
And I couldn’t write like I was.
Weeks went by without the word counts in the thousands, and I felt like it all just sucked.
So what should you do when you reach that point?
There are a few options.
Change Your View
If you’re writing on a screen, it can become monotonous. The same background (usually white) and the same font and black letters, it gets boring. The paragraphs all look the same, and the words blend and even read monotonous.
So change your view. Make the font the farthest thing from the original font that you can still read, change the background color to neon pink, intent and unindent until it’s barely recognizable.
Even more simple? Write on a different screen. Switch from the laptop to the phone, or vice versa.
Work on Something Else
If you are anything like me, you have a lot of projects that are either half done, or written in notebooks and not typed, or any combination of those two. I started writing the old fashioned way, in notebooks, so I have a lot of drafts that I have yet to type up. When I get stuck on a current project, I turn to those.
I turn to those, to crank out a chapter or two, for several reasons.
- They are several years old and it allows me to surprise myself
- They are several years old and so bad that the grammar and spelling and everything makes me cringe. Most of the time it gets rid of any doubts that I have about my current work.
Another thing I turn to is fanfiction. Not to read it, but to write it, to try something I might be scared or anxious to try in something original.
Sometimes it helps to just have characters that are a little more developed tackle the problems first and then make it more original.
Yes! Scroll through facebook, or twitter, or tumblr or any other social media.
But here’s the trick. Pick a common word (I like “The” or “and”) and every time you see that word in a post, write a sentence in your work.
You might be surprised what comes out.
Those are usually how I get writing.
What are your tips for getting out of a writing rut?