When I first get a spark of an idea for a story, it’s wonderful. The characters are fantastic. The plot is flawless. I write in a frenzy, trying to get it all down. But when I look at it a few days later, suddenly this alien Cinderella story doesn’t sound so good. (Spoiler: I am not writing, nor do I plan to write, anything like this.) Every word I put down is an effort. Every scene I put down is a nightmare. And guess what? My perfect plot is full of holes.
And I find that, suddenly, I’m not inspired to write this story anymore.
What I do when I lack inspiration (usually) helps me, but I’m not a professional. I have never been published. Most of my writing efforts are feeble at best. But I’ve been writing for about three years and learned a few things along the way, including what helps me overcome writers’ block.
The most important thing I do is take a break. If I can’t write another word, then I can’t write another word – at least temporarily. And sometimes the best thing I can do is distance myself from my story. Sometimes my break will last a day, a week, or even a month.
And I generally use that break to:
Read. A lot. I read books that have positively nothing to do with my story and books that have everything to do with my story. Nonfiction, fiction, whatever works.
Write. A journal entry. A blog post. Random scribblings on a piece of paper. I’ve gotten to where I can’t not write, and sometimes it’ll spark my creativity.
Do things completely unrelated to writing or reading. Like English Country Dancing. Lots of it.
But sometimes, after taking a break, I still lack inspiration. Some things that I find help me are:
Try writing the story from another person’s perspective or another point of view. This has completely reinvigorated my stories before.
Write a scene from the middle of my story and think about just how my characters got there. This really works. For me, at least.
Go through magazines and clip pictures of people who look like your main characters. Weird, I know, but I actually do this.
And if all else fails… dark chocolate. Dark chocolate is always an answer.
I hope somewhere in my rambling there was something remotely useful! Hope everyone has a great weekend!