If I’ve learned anything in my 30 years of life (besides the fact that baking soda can clean anything), it’s that people believe that giving something a name gives it power. Why else don’t we say Voldemort? (By the way, did you read that JK Rowling said that the ‘t’ is actually silent in his name? Blasphemy!) So I won’t say *whispers* writer’s block.
What I will say is that sometimes, things just aren’t working. And this period of things not working can seem to go on for days. Or, um, weeks. Or longer? Maybe.
I don’t have an official scientific remedy for you – you can find plenty of advice other places on the Internet or at the library. But I do have three tricks I’ve started using when I’m stuck with my novel, and honestly? They work for me like gangbusters. (Can anyone explain to me exactly what that phrase means?)
1) The first things I do when I’m stuck in my novel writing or revisions? Start writing anything that’s not part of a novel. You don’t have to stop writing just because your novel isn’t flowing. I would actually advise against that. So open the notebook where you keep that wonderful poetry of yours. Or open a new Word document and start a short story. I know you’ve got some killer ideas for a little flash fiction. Compose a haiku, especially if you’ve never tried it before. Trying new things is great for your mind. Not only will you end up with new writing projects to build your platform, put in a portfolio, or just share with your friends, but something about moving to a different writing method (or even genre) helps to slowly and quietly unlock that closed door you keep beating against in your novel.
2) The second thing I do when I’m stuck? Switch to a different physical writing method. And by that, I mean write on paper if you normally use your laptop. Or jump over to the laptop if you’re a longhander. Or you could move to Word if you use Scrivener, and vice versa. You may not think this will help, and maybe it won’t for you, but ooh boy, I tried this on a whim a few weeks ago, and I was very pleased. When I was in my teens, I did all my writing in notebooks. At some point in the past few years, I moved over to my laptop for writing. I found myself majorly stuck over the summer, so I pulled out one of my notebooks for the heck of it, and the poetry started flowing. So did the dialogue for my novel, as well as a lot of short story ideas. Plus, it felt really nice to see my words in my own handwriting again. 🙂
3) The last thing you can try? Move your writing location. And how far you move it is up to you. I wrote almost my entire novel in my kitchen at our bar, and lately that spot feels tired to me. So I’ve started writing in bed, in the tub, and outside, and it feels fresher and fun again. You could also move outside the home, if you don’t normally write on the run. Check out a coffee shop, write at a friend’s house, or jot down some ideas in the car before running in for groceries.
These are three ways I’ve tricked myself lately into upping my writing output, but by no means is this an exhaustive list of hacks. Do you have any ideas for getting out a writing rut? How do you deal with getting stuck? Let me know, and have a wonderful week!