Equipping Writers for Success
The Writing Life
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by Jacob Myers
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While some see writer's block as a sign of true weakness, an indication of doubt, or a sign that the imagination is truly failing, the fact is that writer's block is not only common, but shows just how complicated and complex writing of all types, including fiction writing, can be. Here are some tips, tricks, and ideas to help break your writer's block. Not all of them will work for everyone. Pick and choose which ones to try, and see how effective they are for you. If one doesn't work, move onto the next.
1. Realize. Sometimes, as writers, we tend to drift into our stories more than we should. We tend to leave the real world and go to another. When writing, it's important to realize that you're only human, and while you may push and push to be the greatest fiction writer out there, the fact is that when we lose this sense of realization, our works suffer. Your imagination flags, and before you know it, there's a huge void of nothingness floating around in your brain. There are times when, as a writer, you have to step back and realize that things won't always go as planned. Make mistakes; they only make you a stronger writer. This just may get your brain out of a certain mindset and into one that allows you to explore and write.
2. Give yourself a break. Remember that nothing and no one is perfect. Your writing isn't perfect, you're not a perfect artist, nor is any other story or any other author. The point is that, as a writer, it's not rare to set goals that are too high. High standards are great to have, but when they are too high, writer's block can easily set in, as you're too focused on finding that one detail that seems like pure perfection. The goals and standards you have for yourself should be attainable. Out-of-reach goals are merely that: out of reach, stressful, and frustration-inducing. Cut yourself some slack. It really does help. 3. Bend your structure. The most important part of any piece of literature, especially fiction writing, is structure. Writers tend to stick to this structure, but they often stick to it a little bit too much. Just because your story needs strict structure doesn't mean that your ideas and imagination do as well. Restricting yourself too much can cut off your creative thinking. With so much structure, your imagination isn't able to run wild. Instead of creating your structure out of steel, turn it into rubber -- something flexible that allows you some leeway. Otherwise, you'll be stuck in a one-idea mindset.
4. Try freewriting. Freewriting allows you to take your mind off the project at hand and focus on something different. Stream-of-consciousness writing seems a bit weird to some writers, as we like to have structure and coherence, but sometimes writing something as it comes along gives our mind the freedom it needs. Freewriting is truly a gift to writers, as you'll think of many new things you'd otherwise never consider writing down. No matter whether you're stuck beginning a piece of work, trapped in the middle, or struggling to create a great ending, freewriting gives you the chance to think without any sort of boundaries or restrictions.
5. Think! Take some time alone, sit down, and just think. Think about the things that interest you. Think about a story or article that caught your mind recently. Think about things that always seem to catch your attention but that you don't give much thought to. Consider your past, or future events. Think about your secrets. When you think of all these things, write them down, write about them. The point is to think about something new so that you can take your mind off the project you have it set to. Minds need and enjoy freedom, and sometimes as a writer you have to give it that. Take some time and think about something other than your story, and before you know it, you'll think about the perfect idea that brings you back to your story again.
Try these suggestions, and see which ones help to break your
writer's block. Don't stress if your writer's block doesn't go away
as quickly as you'd like. Give yourself and your imagination some
time. Allow your expectations to settle, give your mind some rest,
and soon enough the writer's block will be a thing of the past.
This article may not be reprinted without the author's written permission.
Jacob Myers grew up in Indiana and has always loved writing. His childhood teachers challenged him to write new and creative stories, and he intends to go on writing far into his old age.