I won’t pretend that I never experience it now but it’s definitely…different than what it used to be. When I look at what’s changed in the way I work there are three main things that stand out:
Routine: By this I don’t mean time-tabling writing sessions or anything like that. Life is messy and hectic and (to begin with at least) you’ll probably see writing as more of a hobby. This often means it takes second fiddle to other priorities.
However, there is an element of routine that you can develop for those times you do steal an hour or two for writing.
Here’s mine: cup of tea, bar of chocolate, playlist of music that matches tone of writing (e.g. I recently wrote a science fiction book for adults and listened exclusively to Sci-Fi soundtracks).
The more I write with my tea, chocolate, music accompaniment, the more I associate my routine with writing. It’s now my go-to means of getting into writing mode.
Simple rewards: This one could tie to your writing routine (e.g. like me, you could choose to only eat your favourite chocolate bar while you’re writing). However, your reward can be any small thing that means something to you.
The important thing is that the reward becomes intricately associated with writing for you. It needs to be easily replicated, exclusive to those times you set aside for writing, and you need the will power to not partake at any other time.
There’s also a chance it could fit in with the third tip.
Read/watch something unfamiliar: If you always watch/read the same genre (and especially if that happens to be the same genre you write in) then it can be really refreshing to step away from that after a writing sessions (or during breaks).
I’m a huge fantasy/sci-fi fan and these are my chosen genres to write in. However, I’ve experienced really satisfying changes to my writing through watching/reading horror, drama, thriller, comedy, and mystery.
Playing around with different genres is a great way of keeping your writing fresh and interesting for you as a writer. If you’re bored with what you’re writing then your readers don’t stand a chance.
That’s about it. I’m sure you’ll still have days where you ask the creative part of your brain for something golden and it just sits there handing you lumps of dirt. All the same, I get far less of those days now and these three things have definitely helped with that.
I hope you found these tips useful. Let us know in the comments if you have some hints of your own for dealing with the dreaded block.
As always, thanks for reading, all the best, John