Every writer falls into a funk at some point in their career. Maybe it’s rare for you, or perhaps it’s a daily occurrence. Either way, to get our writing mojo back, it helps to get a little jump start. Here are some tips and ideas that can help you get those writing juices flowing again.
- Take a break – Sometimes, you need to put the pen (or keyboard) down and relax. Don’t stress about writing. Give yourself a much-deserved break so you can come back fresh. Just be sure to come back.
- Set a consistent time to write – Create a schedule to carve out daily or weekly writing time and stick to it. Even if your writing time consists of staring at the wall, this is your time to create. Don’t let anyone interrupt it.
- Write consistently (even a little) – Set a minimum word goal for your writing time. It doesn’t have to be a lot. In fact, the smaller the goal, the better. Once you start, your brain will often keep going, and you’ll blow past your benchmark. When you’re blocked, even a paragraph can feel triumphant.
- Write flash fiction or a short story – If you’re working on a novel or multiple-thousand-word piece, take a break from that to write something shorter. Use this side-story to get your creative juices flowing.
- Write a story outside your preferred genre – Do something different. Make your short story totally outside of your typical genre. This can help you get a feel for different types of writing that you can incorporate into your own.
- Write a letter – You know, the old-fashioned way. Write a love letter to your significant other, Twitter crush, editor of your local newspaper, your children, your parents, or to a historical figure. Doesn’t matter what it’s about; just write.
- Join a writer’s group – A writer’s group can be a great way to get needed encouragement and receive support and understanding for your plight. They can also help reignite your creative juices.
- Start a Journal – Write in it daily. Doesn’t have to be multiple pages; Even a paragraph a day can spur ideas to help you push through the dry spell.
- Take plot/story notes while watching a movie – This is my favorite form of “research!” Dissect dialogue choices, plot devices, and think about how you would describe scenes on the page. You can even steal plot points you think the writers missed. This “research” works better if it’s a movie or show you’ve seen before, but any will do. Plus, you’re watching a movie and calling it research. I call that a win.
- Re-read a novel you loved – Take the same concept as above but apply it to the novel as you read. Read it, enjoy it, learn from it.
- Read a crappy (traditionally published) book – Sometimes, it’s easier to learn what to do by seeing what not to do. This is how I learned to see my passive voice, by noticing it in others first. A crappy novel can be a great way to see some of the mistakes you make. But it can also provide the encouragement you need to keep going. After all, “if they can do it…” so can you!
- Rewrite someone else’s short story and make it better – Skip past the hard work of creating something from nothing and get your creative juices flowing by improving something already written. Plus, you get to see how different your result is from theirs.
- Dust off an old story of your own and improve it – Take something that you did several years ago and see what you can do to make it better. Push yourself.
- Take up writer’s prompts – Daily writer’s prompts can help keep your writing skills sharp even if you’re stuck on plot/execution details on your book
- Read a book outside your preferred genre – Get outside of your comfort zone and read something you typically wouldn’t. Use this as an opportunity to learn some new writing skills.
- Write more character backstories – If you’re like me, you’ve done your character development for all your primary characters. Do the same for your secondary characters. You never know if this will spark new ideas on how to use them.
- Write the end of your book – If you’re stuck in the middle, write the end. You don’t have to be married to it, but it keeps you in your story and making progress. And if not the end, jump to another scene you know you need but haven’t written yet.
Writer’s block can be a pain, but there are many ways you can try to jumpstart your creativity. Try any or all of the above to see what works. It’s easy to get sidetracked, but if you want your story told, it’s up to you to push through and tell it. The world will be better of if you do.