We all got through periods where our inspiration seems to have deserted us. Our minds churn and panic sets in as deadlines loom and everyone wants an update on your latest and greatest…And you got nada, nothing, zip.
You spend your time staring at a blank page or end up playing Candy Crush. As the clock ticks away you become desperate to unblock your muse. Everything you put on paper is uninspired and gawd awful! And you wonder if you will ever find that elusive spark again.
Yeah, I like every writer I know we have been there, done that and got the tee-shirt and the coffee mug. I’ve heard of so many ways to set your muse free, but do they work? And if they do work is it a temporary fix?
I’ve come to learn it’s all a case of personality…yours. How your brain works, the mechanics of what sparks the creative side of your brain. Are you a left brained person? If so then a more analytical approach may be your answer. For those who are right brained it’s all about creativity.
Then, you have those like me. I use both sides of my brain, which usually results in a war between the two opposing forces. Yeah, my mom should have never forced me to use my right hand, now I have the two sides at war on how best to approach things. I’m getting ahead of myself here. Let’s first discuss those wonderful analytical, oh so logical left brained writers.
Most of the time these are the people who plot out every detail they can before writing down a single word. A great way to keep yourself from writing yourself into a corner true, but when inspiration is not even a spark, sometimes it can be hard to keep your focus. For those lovely left brainers there are different ways to use your “down” time in a positive way. If you work a series try fleshing out the overall story arc, the characters and the individual plots for each character who the series will deal with. If you have already done this and still find yourself dead in the water, discern where the trouble started. Chances good one of your main characters is at fault. Either you have them feeling or reacting to something which goes against their nature. You can also try writing a different scene or chapter. If all of this still won’t shake you out of your funk you may want to start another book. Sometimes your brain needs a break and given a fresh idea may open the floodgates so to speak.
For my right brained, oh so creative writers. Those, who write by the seat of their pants, following their spark like a sailor would follow the North Star, try a little bit of plotting. Not much, just enough to keep you on the right path. Sometimes injecting a small amount of order into your creative chaos can keep your muse happy and talking with hardly a mishap to be had. Though words like character sheets and outlines give you a nasty rash of hives, try just a little bit of…organization –there, I said the dreaded O word and lived. Another thing to help keep the flow of writing smooth is to work on other creative projects. Whatever you do, paint, sew , pottery or even scrapbooking! Use these small hobbies of yours to recharge and work with your writing. I myself, usually oil paint to help me keep from getting blocked. Whatever you do, keep your story firmly in mind as you focus your creativity on another different project remember it’s only a breather and give yourself a time limit to get back to work.
Now, for those like me who walks the middle line between the two you can try each of the suggestions given, find out what works for you. I even tried meditation at one point…wanted to gnaw off my arm after fifteen minutes and got nowhere, but I did try it. Yay me!
I found a great site to find out just how much right or left brained you are. It’s a quick and fun test to take its at: http://testyourself.psychtests.com/testid/3178
No one has the perfect, sure fire answer to help with writers block. There are some out there who believe writers block doesn’t even exist. Whatever you may call the struggle with your inspiration really matters very little. What’s important is how you work through it.
There are times when you just need some R&R plain and simple. Burn out from too many intense hours at the keyboard and not enough time engaging in the world is just as harmful. So go ahead and allow yourself time to play your games, have a date night with your hubby or just take a weekend off from anything to do with writing. Give your brain a break and allow yourself to live in the world guilt free. Your word count will not suffer since the time you write will be much more productive.
Try different exercises which will help you focus, go with what makes sense to you and what you find works. Don’t worry so much about writers block, instead make it a positive way to make your writing better.
Above all keep the passion. We write because we love it keep that foremost in your mind and enjoy the journey.