You’ve been looking forward to writing all day. You settle into your chair and what happens? Internet browsing. After an hour of Facebook and commenting on blogs that have gone viral, you realize what you’ve done and desperately turn off the internet. As you stare at the page on your screen, you get tired and think that maybe if you take a quick nap then you’ll have the energy to write. Realizing that this is a bad idea because last time you slept too long, you put on some music…and now you’re hungry.
Well, guess what? Even if you down a whole sandwich and a bag of sweets, you’ll just want to go on a walk after that. The truth is that these are all signs that writer’s block has built up a dam that’s stuffing up your creativity.
As a writer, you know what the “writing flow” feels like. It’s a current of creativity rushing through you. When you’re not working on your novel, you’re thinking about it. Your story and your characters feel real. You keep a notebook and jot down notes whenever you can. This “writing flow” is the essential drive you need to finish your story with a heartfelt “The end.”
That’s why it’s so important to get back your “writing flow.” You must find a way to unstop the dam that’s getting in the way of meeting your goals. It’s time to get on your hands and knees and start pulling out the branches one stick at a time.
Stick #1: Do you know where your story is going next?
If not, this is the time to conduct a question/ answer session. Determine where you are in your story and where you want it to go. Write down possible plot holes. Here are sample questions to ask and answer: How does Jane fall in love with Jon? What does Jon do to make Jane angry? What keepsake will Jon give Jane? How do their gadgets work? What clues lead up to the mystery? What does Jane’s garden look like?
Stick #2: If you know where your story is going, does it interest you?
If you are bored, that is a sign to switch things up. Write down other possible scenarios (none of which you have to keep)—this could be a good brainstorming session. Maybe you need to get to know your characters better to know their motives? Cast your characters with your favorite actors.
Stick #3: If your story does interest you, do you feel too overwhelmed to write it?
Get rid of your inner editor and free write. It doesn’t matter if you don’t get the first draft perfect. Remember that once you have the rough draft down on paper, you can build your story around it and make it more brilliant later on.
Stick #4: If you don’t feel overwhelmed, are your basic needs being met?
Remember that writing is a job. You wouldn’t go to your work without breakfast or taking a lunch. You’d take breaks and keep your priorities straight. Don’t forget the importance of balancing your life or your writing will suffer.