Even for us writers that have a vivid imagination, writer’s block is a seemingly common and universal occurence at times. There are times I’ve fallen under its dreaded spell and instead of writing that piece of fiction I was wanting to write, or instead of writing that brilliant bit of social commentary that I know I’m capable of, I end up writing about writer’s block. An odd topic, for sure, but on occasion it gets the creative juices flowing and next thing I know something that started out as a factual piece about simply drawing a blank turns into something like a journal entry written by a fictitious writer; although sometimes it turns into something completely different from anything I could have imagined it would end up being.
That’s exactly what inspired me to write this article, having no clue what to write, and as I sit here typing this, I can’t help but wonder if there may be a way to chisel this wretched writer’s block into a beautiful sculpture of words. I do believe there is, but what method, or methods, must one use as chisels to go from this blank, featureless mental stone into a written bust? In these next few paragraphs I will be listing 4 methods that I believe may work, feel free to try out any and/or all methods I come up with to find which one works best for you, or use them to devise your own method.
1. Spacial, or visual, inspiration. If you have a place that you find to be highly inspiring, go there. Whether it be simply a room in your home, or a place outside, sometimes being somewhere that we find exquisite beauty can be just enough to kickstart what could be a brilliant story. If your place of inspiration is outside and, by chance, the weather may be too cold or hot to take such an inspiring journey, one can always travel there mentally by recalling memories of the place, or remembering what it looked like, what the smells were, how the breeze felt – attempting to recall every detail that you can. If it is a place you have never been to, imagine what it may be like. I find it helps me to visit a place similar to the setting of the story, if possible. If physically visiting a place isn’t possible, and you find imagining the place to be difficult or impossible, that moves us on to our next method.
2. A picture is worth a thousand words. Sometimes what may serve as an inspiration is somewhere far away, so we can’t just pack up our pad and pen, or laptop, and go there. A great example of a place such as this would be the cosmos. I doubt any of us could walk through the doors at NASA and ask to go to the moon for inspiration. In cases like these, I believe a picture, or many pictures, may serve as equal an inspiration. Next time you have trouble thinking of something to write, flip through your photo albums, or search images online pertaining to whatever subject or place you would like your story to center around, and you’re sure to find a photo or drawing that may inspire you. What if you have difficulty finding an image that fulfills your need for inspiration?
3. The musical muse. Even if you find a space, picture or series of pictures that inspire you, sometimes these methods may not work. At times such as this, I turn to music. From my experience, different styles of music tend to inspire different styles of writing. Try finding music that has a similar sound or feel to it as the story you are wanting to write. If you are attempting to write a story that takes place in Victorian England, try listening to classical music composed in, or inspired by, the Victorian Era. Whatever the atmosphere of your story, you are bound to find music with a similar mood.
And last, but not least.
4. Don’t try too hard. Sometimes when we are sitting at our desks trying to come up with something to write about, a potential problem we could be facing is that of trying too hard. I’ve always been one to believe that a good story, or good article, isn’t one that the writer has spent hours on end trying to think of a way to write it, but one that has simply popped into his or her mind. There may even be times when we come up with a few sentences or paragraphs and the creative flow comes to a screeching halt. When this happens, take a break from it, whether it be for a few hours, a few days, or even a few weeks.
While writer’s block can truly be devastating at times for the more passionate among us – those of us who feel that we must write – there is no greater feeling than chiseling it away whether through any of the above methods or other, perhaps more conventional, methods. If you are an aspiring writer, or perhaps merely dabbling in the linguistic arts, do not let that dreaded block put you off of your dreams. There is no greater sin in writing than not finishing a piece, even if you don’t think it’s worth publishing, you will feel better having completed it and months, or even years, after, you might return to it with a fresh perspective and turn it into a masterpiece, or a better masterpiece than it was already.