For the past few years I’ve experienced a huge writer’s block; an excruciating experience that I’m sure has befallen many aspiring bloggers and writers. It started when several stories I was working on a few years ago accidentally got wiped from my laptop, and despite my sister and I trying to retrieve them, we had no luck. Although none of these stories were even close to be considered readable yet, this was still a frustrating situation which led me to become too unmotivated to begin anything new. Since then, I’ve written little bits here and there, but nothing that I’ve yet felt passionate about pursuing.
Until now. I’ve had an idea for a novel floating about in my head for a while now, but have struggled to begin writing it. After my first ever blog post the other day however, I began writing – and lo and behold, I managed to squeeze out over 1000 words of this new story. Now that may not seem like a lot to some people, but for someone who has not written more than a few sentences of fiction for years, this was a miracle. Now I thought I’d share a few ideas that may have contributed to this sudden burst of creativity, and an escape from the dreaded writer’s block!
1. Stephen King’s Novel On Writing: I finished reading this a few weeks ago, and it is amazing. King provides many useful tips for ‘good’ writing in this novel, drawing from his own feedback from editors, publishing companies and other writers. The book also acts as an autobiography of his writing life; taking us on a journey from his first short story publications in local magazines, to publishing his first novel Carrie, and finally up until the writing process of On Writing. He even includes a short first draft of fiction at the end, before showing us the editorial process with all his annotations. King also recommends that aspiring writers read The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr and E. B. White, (also a very useful book, but not as much of an entertaining read)! On Writing therefore was an inspirational book for me, and got me itching to get back into writing straight away. A highly recommended read.
2. Read a guilty pleasure/something fun: As a current undergraduate English Literature student, I read a wide variety of books, many of which are often a challenge, and not something that I would usually read by choice. Over the last few years, I’ve been attempting to work my way through many classic works of literature, most of which I do enjoy. I often do get a bit bogged down with reading, as I’m required to read so much for my course, that it often takes time away from reading something fun. Now that it’s the summer however, I am planning to read a few guilty pleasures, or more enjoyable books. I’m currently reading the first book in the Game of Thrones series, having been an avid fan of the television series for a few years. This is a perfect example of an enjoyable read for me, as I don’t often read many books of the fantasy genre. Sometimes therefore, it’s nice to just relax and read something pleasurable, and a bit different to previous reads, to get the creative cogs moving again.
3. When you find something you feel passionate about, take advantage of it straight away: I recently watched Murdered by My Boyfriend, and was reduced to both anger and tears. This motivated me to reach for my laptop immediately after and write a blog post, something that I’ve never done. There have been so many times when I’ve felt strongly about something and felt that I could write an entire essay on the subject, but then I let it slide and forget about it before writing anything down. By the time I remember it again, it feels too late to step back into the shoes of that moment, where emotions were at a high. It is essential therefore to write down these ideas as soon as they appear.
4. Have a good cry! This is a bit of a silly suggestion, but it weirdly helped me yesterday when I started working on my novel idea. I was feel guilty about having an unproductive day, and was generally just feeling overwhelmed by everything. I had a little cry with my dad however, complaining that I wasn’t good at anything and about how I never write anymore, and next thing I know, I’m writing! Which leads to my final point:
5. Cut yourself some slack: I’m sure many of you feel the same as I do sometimes, and you beat yourself up because you’ve not done everything you’d set out to do that day, or you’ve perhaps had months of unproductive activity. Whatever the situation, you need to just forgive yourself and stop beating yourself up about it. Instead, sometimes you need to just accept that the day hasn’t gone so well, but that there will always be inspiring days around the corner!