Wednesday, March 25, 2015

4 Creative Ways to Beat Writer's Block

Alexis Ulrich
            A common bit of advice given to writers is that in order to improve, you should try to write something every day. Oftentimes, that’s easier said than done. Whether you’re writing a blog, a short story, an essay, or something else, your environment is often full of distractions. Maybe you’re distracted by the Internet, maybe you’ve been staring at a blank document for twenty minutes. Maybe you’re just letting your mind wander. No matter what’s stopping you, getting started is the hardest part. My personal experience has told me that sometimes, you just have to break the mold a bit to get started. If nothing’s coming to you for your current project, take a break from the norm for a few minutes and try pushing the limits of your skill to see what you can do.
1.         Write outside your genre: Do you normally write nonfiction? Try writing a short story. Do you write slice of life novels? Try your hand at fantasy. Have you never written a poem? Give it a try. No matter what you normally write, find out what your comfort zone is and push at its edges to write something you’ve never written much of. Practicing by trying something novel can sometimes keep you focused better, in addition to expanding your horizons as to what you can do.
2.         Write something completely insane: Not everything you write has to be shared. Another way to push boundaries is to come up with the wildest idea you can think of and stretch your imagination to its limits.  After all, one of the best ways to relieve the stress of feeling stuck is to let down your boundaries and make yourself laugh a bit.
3.         Write fanfiction: Fanfiction isn’t just a pastime for teenagers, it’s a genuine way to practice your writing skills with a story you already love as a platform. Take your favorite fictional characters as you know them and put them in a new setting. Not that into fiction? Write a nonfiction parody. Have fun with it, as it’s a great low-pressure way to exercise your creativity when you’re feeling stuck.
4.         Likewise, mess with your own work: If you get stuck in the middle of a piece, go to a separate space and stay on that task, but incorporate some of that wild, mind-wandering creativity into your project. Of course you might not want to keep that in your final draft, but if you let yourself go off on a tangent while keeping the subject matter in mind, you can get all the benefits of my previous suggestions without taking your mind too far off task!
Even if you want to write a bit every day, sometimes you just aren’t feeling it. But if you push your own limits and write outside the box, you can still exercise those writing skills. Take a break from thinking about one thing and try some fun, low-pressure writing activities. You may find that when you get back on task, the ideas flow much more easily.

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