Eight Ways to Beat Writer’s Block by Laurel Osterkamp
Let’s welcome back Laurel Osterkamp as she shares with us “Eight Ways to Beat Writer’s Block.” Enjoy!
We’ve all been there–the excitement of beginning a novel and the questions that come with it.
- What kind of story do I want to tell?
- Who are the characters who will inhabit my novel?
- What obstacles will my protagonist need to overcome?
It’s a rush when your mind comes alive with ideas. And it’s easy to start jotting down whatever pops into your head, including character descriptions, plot points, and even dialogue.
As you begin your novel, there’s a strong sense of excitement and purpose.
But sometimes, as you continue to write your novel, the words might begin to dry up, and the incredibly frustrating sensation of writer’s block might creep in.
How do you push through and beat this feeling of stagnation?
The answer depends on who you are and what works best for you. There are lots of ways to beat writer’s block, so let’s explore a few.
You might want to try freewriting first thing, before you begin writing material that you’ll actually want to keep.
Some authors use freewriting as a warmup, and for ten minutes they just ramble their thoughts onto the page.
No need to keep your freewrites or even to read them; the idea is if you get the junk out of your head first, then the good stuff will follow.
2. Warm Up With A Writing Prompt
This follows the same philosophy as freewriting, but it’s a little more structured.
Follow a prompt and write something purely for fun, just to get your creative juices flowing.
This website has some great prompts – one for every day of the year.
3. Look For Inspiration In Unexpected Places
Talk to a neighbor you don’t know very well, dive into a new hobby, or research a strange topic that’s unrelated to the book you’re writing: any of these things could all lead to new ideas and perspectives.
If you’re stuck in the same rut, it might help to find new sources of inspiration to inject life into the story.
Take A Break
It might sound counterintuitive, but sometimes the best way to overcome writer’s block is to just step away from the writing for a bit.
Doing something completely unrelated to your novel could help to clear your mind, like going for a walk, calling a friend, cooking a meal, watching a movie, etc.
When you return, you might have new ideas on how to move forward.
This is my personal favorite remedy to cure writer’s block.
I suggest reading a novel that is similar to the one you want to write.
This can provide inspiration and motivation, and give you fresh ideas to get your thoughts down on the page.
Seeing another author’s successful end product can help light the path to get there yourself.
My work space is nothing if not cluttered, but occasionally, I become convinced that I can’t write another word until I tidy up.
Cleaning up might give you a sense of starting again, and could help you move forward.
Most writers listen to music while writing. But if you’re in a rut, try putting on something new.
I like to create my own playlists for each novel I write, and I pick songs with similar emotional levels or topics to my novel.
Like, if my novel was a musical, the characters could sing what’s on my playlist.
If you’ve created your playlist and it’s playing and you’re still blocked, perhaps it’s time to add new songs to the list. Luckily, with Prime Music and Spotify, that’s easy to do.
8. Remind Yourself That You’re Human
Writing a novel is a long and difficult process, and it’s important to remember that even the best authors experience writer’s block.
It can be disheartening, but the writer should never give up and keep pushing forward.
Hang in there, and feel good about the fact that you’re writing a novel in the first place.
It’s possible to move past writer’s block, and to once again feel energized and inspired.
Remember, there will be ups and downs, good days and bad, and every writer gets blocked occasionally.
Keep going, and you’ll be well on your way to creating something amazing!
About the Author
Laurel Osterkamp is from Minneapolis, where she teaches and writes like it’s going out of style. Her short fiction has been featured in Tangled Locks Literary Journal, Bright Flash Literary Journal, and Metawoker Lit, among other places. Her latest novel Favorite Daughters was recently released by Black Rose Writing. (Click here to see the novel on Amazon.)