Do you love writing and storytelling, but sometimes get stuck staring into a blank paper, impatiently waiting for that brilliant idea to pop like the famous light bulb?
Then you should go on reading, for I might have a few solutions to your predicament.
We all get stuck in our writing, even the most famous writers have the occasional attack of Writer’s block. So don’t worry, it doesn’t mean that writing is not your thing, you just need a little inspiration!
I have a few techniques for overcoming Writer’s block that I am going to share with you now. The first one is turning to my friends and family for help. My cousins have been inspiring my writing since I was a kid! What they will do is to give me 3-4 words that they want me to include in the story, like for example: a cat, a beach, a witch and a deserted town. And I have to include ALL those things in my story. Last time I was home, one of my cousins raided her old toy box, and brought me fifteen things to include in a story! I photographed all those things with my phone and went home to work on the story. Often when I write these kind of stories I keep the person who gave me the inspiration in mind, trying to write something that they will like and that will entertain them. When my cousins were small I would make them the heroes of the story! Sometimes I was a little wicked and created Ghost stories to spook my most scaredy cat cousin.
I also get mails from my family where they include photos of something inspiring they have seen while traveling, like an old wooden door or a hollow tree, which I then proceed to write a story about. What I like the most about this kind of writing is that it forces me out of my own comfort zone, and I have to write about things I don’t usually write about. That really get my creative bubbles popping! It also makes me write to please, or rather entertain, someone else, which in this context is a very good thing!
Do you sometimes feel that that first sentence is just impossible to write? That if you could just manage to come up with a good beginning, then the rest of the story would flow easy peasy lemon squeezy? Well, that is not always the case, but a good first sentence does help! And do you want to know a secret? Sometimes when I am stuck with a blank paper staring mockingly at me, I borrow a sentence from another book. Perhaps not the very first sentence of the book, but something in the middle. You can always go back and change the sentence afterwards, or just erase it completely.
Another piece of writing magic that has really helped me through Writer’s block was learning that I didn’t always have to start at the beginning. What I mean with that is that you don’t always have to start with the name and description of the character, the plot or where the story is set. You can just start in the middle of the action, the part which makes you excited to write. You can always go back and change the beginning afterwards, or you can just let the story unfold as you go along, so that the reader will come to know the characters and the plot little by little. Sometimes that is even more exciting!
For me, it also helps to write in installments. Perhaps just 300 words on a story a day. This might not work for you, but I find that in the pauses between the writing my mind keeps working, coming up with new ideas, changing the plot etc. In that way my writing keeps fresh, and the story evolves in a more creative way. It also helps me to not get overwhelmed. If someone told me to sit down and write a book of 300 pages in just a couple of sittings I would become so stressed and anxious I wouldn’t have been able to write anything at all! In the spaces between your writing time, you can always do things like draw, look at images online or in books, go out in nature, or read books about similar topics to your story. It will really help you get new ideas!
And lastly what I want to say is, don’t worry so much about your writing being good, or whether or not it will get published or receive a good grade. Writing is about storytelling, and it is the story that is the most important part of any book! So take joy in the making up of stories and characters, that is where your creativity will soar!
And you know, for me, it is just as much fun writing for my cousins or a friend or my brother, as it is to write for a children’s magazine. Actually, sometimes, it is more fun, because I know the reader, and I will keep smiling to myself as I write, imagining he or she laughing, or getting spooked or aww’ing over something sweet.
Writing is like creating magic ! So what are you waiting for, bring out that wand and let’s start creating!