Sooner or later, you’re going to hit a wall. You’ll know it’s happened when you find yourself staring at a blank computer screen, hands motionless on the keyboard, trying to decide between collapsing on your face and hurling your laptop on the floor.
Everyone hits a creative wall now and again. Don’t worry; it’s all a part of the writing process. The important thing is to figure out how to keep your head and get through the wall. Here are some tips to help you along the way:
CHANGE YOUR ENVIRONMENT
Though it can feel wrong in the moment, don’t be afraid to take some time away from your writing project. Changing your environment, even for an hour or two, can give your brain a chance to refresh itself.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Surfing the internet or engaging in a Netflix binge doesn’t count!
You need to do something to reinvigorate your mind, not put it to sleep. Go for a walk, rake some leaves, go fix that leaky faucet that’s been driving you nuts. Do something productive with your mind. Often, you’ll find that this can prime the pump of your creativity.
JUMP AROUND A BIT
Though this suggestion will come across as heresy for the strictly chronological writer, don’t be afraid to jump around a bit in your writing project. Let’s say you’re really stuck in chapter three of that novel you’re working on.
Who’s to say you can’t work on chapter seven?
Assuming you have the main gist of your story worked out in your mind, you should feel free to work on whichever section you’re feeling inspiration for. Don’t spin your wheels trying to work through a particularly sticky chapter that you’re coming up blank on; branch out. You may just find that the answers your looking for in chapter two reveal themselves in chapter nine!
Finally, when all else fails, you can fall back on good old-fashioned writing mechanics. When you get to the point of complete creative exhaustion, where you can’t come up with a single idea for any part of your story, now is the time to plunge into writing mechanics.
Flesh out a description, tighten up a section of dialogue, comb through for typos. It really doesn’t matter what area of your story you focus on, the important thing is that you write. Maybe cleaning up a few paragraphs is all you have in you for the day.
Don’t pressure yourself with time limits, page number, or wordcount. Just spend time in your story. Sometimes it can be worthwhile to take some time and read through what you’ve already written. Maybe something will spark; some idea you had forgotten about, some concept for a scene you can suddenly visualize.
The worst thing you can do is stop writing. Your brain is like a writing machine. You would be amazed how fast it begins to rust. You don’t have to crank out ten thousand words a day. Remember: three well written sentences beat out three mediocre pages any day of the week. The most important thing is that you write.
In the end, the key thing to remember is that everyone hits the wall at some point. Don’t fear it; see it as a challenge, a chance to push yourself to be the best writer you can be. When you can find it in yourself to break through the wall, your story will take a new lease on life.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jonathan VARS is a Christian fiction writer from New England, and founder of the writing website voltampsreactive.com. His latest novel “Like Melvin” is currently available on Amazon and Google Books. In addition to writing, Jonathan enjoys running, painting, and trying not to freeze to death in the winter.
Connect with him at www.voltampsreactive.com.