Have you ever wanted to create a story?
Are you already in the midst of writing that classic tale?
If so, then you’ve unfortunately found yourself stuck on the corner of Writer’s Block here and there. To get yourself back on Story Ave., check out these useful tips to start driving that plot again!
Research, Research, ResearchAnd then do some more research.
Yes, digging into the subject matter of what you’re writing about will open up other avenues of thought
that you may have never considered. This will give your story so much depth that you will be proud of, and your audience will definitely appreciate. The knowledge acquired from discovering more about your character’s job, your plot’s setting, or your story’s genre/time will amaze you and others. Consider your genre and take a look at other pieces of work that fall under the same as yours.
What are the particulars of your protagonist’s daily life? Their lives at home and at work are pertinent so how much do you really know about his or her world at home? Do they have a spouse or kids? If so, do you have one or the other or both? If your character lives a life extremely different than your own, then you have to know as much as possible about that lifestyle so that your characters are believable. The timeline also plays a vital part in our stories. Maybe it’s a historical piece or a disaster film script. What a character says or does in the 1800’s won’t be all the same as one that lives in the 1990’s.
Then, when we look at snow and droughts, our ideas widen even further. Winter weather being such a drastic difference from summer will influence your story and characters. But in certain instances, this can overlooked. Say that your story takes place in Alaska or in a spaceship, then the seasons may not be vital. It all depends on the situations that you desire for your scenes, themes, and story.
Where does your story take place? Maybe it’s the suburbs of Houston, Texas. Or in the hood of Norfolk, Virginia. Does it have extreme weather or terrain like the deserts of the Sahara or the mountains of the Himalayas? These are obviously important factors that affect your plot and characters and can create dilemmas for them and you.
Also, see what other writers did right but also see what some did wrong and question why. Why did it succeed or fail in its execution? Discovering the answers will redirect your attention to your own writing and bring about revelations that you may have never found out without interrogating others.
Where are you when you do your writing?
Your workspace plays an important role in your craft. Would you rather write at your desk at home or outside in the rain? Although the latter may sound fun to a select few and be a story unto itself, most of us would like to be in a comfortable location where we can let the ideas flow.
Being organized can make you a more effective writer. Personally, I tend to be a blend of chaos and order. I can work well in a clean space just as well as a room that looks like a jungle of paper and pens. Whatever works the best for you will be the optimal route.
Sometimes we also need to change our environment from the one we use every day. This can switch up the mood we are currently experiencing in our present world. Suppose you need to compliment the scene you are writing, which is a somber setting, by changing the brightened room you sit in and closing the curtains. You can now better feel your character’s mood and the actions or place you are creating with a clearer understanding. Even contrasting your surroundings with the emotions of your scene or role-players can affect the outcome of your work. Experiment and find out what works for you.
Take a break
Sometimes we grind so hard that we overexert ourselves in the attempt of finishing up before a deadline or feeling an urge to complete a section before bedtime. This can be counterproductive as we are only human and need to replenish our bodies, minds, and souls with life outside of the world we are creating.
We have responsibilities that exist in our homes and our communities that also need to be respected. Subconsciously, these tasks can pull at our psyches, and we wonder why we’ve reached a standstill in our imaginative pursuits. Maybe it’s chores like washing clothes, mowing the lawn, or cleaning our car of those empty bottles of Ice drinks and wrappings of Reese’s in the floor of the passenger. Ok, that last one is me, but yeah, you get the drift.
Speaking of food aka snacks, there’s been numerous times in which I’ve found my stomach growling, believing I can ignore it for long durations because the task at hand is more important. Sometimes I’m successful, but other times it simply has prolonged the process and the goal that I’m trying to obtain. Our minds are affected by hunger which can certainly distract us from our creative ability. Get a snack or go eat that meal that you’ve put off for an extended period of time.
Whether physical, mental, or spiritual, exercising can strengthen your creativity, making your work better and freeing you from the constraints of writer’s block.
Doing push-ups, lifting weights, or simply going on a brisk walk, getting your adrenaline pumping really is worth the effort. The blood pumping through your veins excites the mind and loosens up any clogs that may exist in your artistic engine.
Are you down for some to word search puzzles, crosswords, or video games? These forms of entertainment can be both relaxing and challenging while releasing certain chemicals in our brains that we may take for granted. And who knows? Maybe one of your favorite games or even an unfamiliar one holds a clue to the story that you are writing!
Get in tune with God. No matter your religion, having a belief in a higher power is helpful in so many ways. You come to realize that not everything revolves around you and that you play an important role just like the characters that you have created. But do not mistake my advice as a necessity for your own personal beliefs. No matter whether you are Christian or Muslim, atheist or agnostic, if you can find your center, you can find your answers!
Listen to Music
Music can create a mood that many other things pale in comparison to when truly judged. When we think about movies and their soundtracks, it can give many of us nostalgia, sending our thoughts back to moments in the past that are attached to the songs. Without even hearing the melodies, many of you are experiencing this as you read these words.
That’s the power of music.
Think about your characters and what types of music they enjoy. Afterwards, pick the genre they would like the most and listen to some artists from that field. This can give you a better idea of the people that you’ve created for your story.
This can also enhance your scenes as you can envision the music that plays during particular sections of your own story. A scene where a man touches a woman’s hand can be romantic with the right tunes, but it can also be suspenseful if the music changes its mood. Musicians know this when they play the same melody in a major scale compared to playing it in a minor scale, changing the feel from hopeful to despair.
This same thing can affect us in the world as we write, so if you want to write a scene with a happy feel, then listen to music that makes you want to dance in the streets without a care in the world. Conversely, if you want to feel mad, then put on that song that just pisses you off and makes you want to slap the nearest person available. (I recommend you don’t play it while you’re working beside your spouse, child, or mother. Just saying. You know, for legal purposes. Yours and mine. Now, back to our regularly scheduled program.)
So, take that energy from these songs and channel it into your scene, through your characters and see how it all comes together. You could really be shocked at the work that evolves from using music as a catalyst to break free from being stuck at a point in your story.
Experience Another Writer’s Story
There isn’t an exact blueprint to writing a story. Yes, there are some guidelines that we adhere to, but there is no detailed outline that we must obey. This truth has allowed an immeasurable number of stories to be told over the span of human history. And with so many tales being told over time, we are never short of resource material to study.
Go watch one of your favorite movies and think of why you enjoy it so much. Is it the perseverance and charisma of the lead character? Or maybe it takes place during a time of history that you find amazing? Maybe in a fantasy world with wizards and monsters? Could the dialogue be so great and natural that you find the conversations the highlight of the film? Considering these questions and ones like them can lead you to understand your desire to write, reigniting a flame that has dwindled from lack of inspiration.
Have you read a good book lately and certain parts stick with you long after you finish it? Something about the way the author intertwined theme with character really spoke to you and left you wondering about your own life? Great novels can leave an impression in our conscious and sub-conscious, pulling us to ask our own questions and answering them ourselves through our own writings.
There is much to be learned from those who have created works of art and those stories can bring about positive and negative responses to our own craft. Let this work for you and not against you. Don’t try to compare your work with those you love but do gather what was done properly that you thoroughly enjoyed.
Write Something Else
If you’re writing a novel, a short story, or even a full-length screenplay, taking the time to write something else can jolt you into reworking, revising, or reimaging your current work. Even changing the scene using a different character, setting, or time of day can open your mind to possibilities that you may not have seen otherwise.
If your write screenplays, then try your hand at penning a poem. Are you a songwriter? Then try your hand at writing a short story.
Football and basketball are both sports that are played by athletes. Although being physically capable are important to both, they actually use different muscles and techniques to be successful. The same can be said for writers.
We would use different aspects of our mind and creativity to write a play than we would use to write a novel. Switching up your chosen expertise for something along the same field can open up your imagination and ability to adapt.
Freeform is another technique to use as well. Basically, just begin writing anything that comes to mind and release all of your inhibitions. Just write whatever comes to mind, letting your pen flow or your fingers type. You may be amazed or disappointed in what you see when you’re done, but the purpose is to keep your mind energized and active.
There’s so much material that revolves and evolves in our everyday conversations. Talks about local and national news, movies and video games, relationships; all of these things contain useful bits of detail that can enhance your work. You know, the phrase “Art imitates life” is true and something that we see on a daily basis.
Connecting with others is not only good for our souls but good for our ingenuity. Our characters, our stories all encompass lives that we created in a universe of our own making. To a degree, writers act as Gods in the galaxies of our imaginations. But, alas, we are not Gods.
We’re all human, and writers deal with real life issues just like everyone else. No matter if you’re an amateur or if you’re an award-winning screenwriter, life happens. And sometimes it happens at an alarming rate. Depression is something we all deal with, and this state of mind can be minor or major. How we handle it is key to overcoming it.
If you feel as though you’re overwhelmed, find no shame in finding a therapist to talk about your problems. Even talking with friend, family member, co-worker or even a stranger can take a load off your shoulders, releasing personal burdens from your mind. But, of course, do what you feel the most comfortable with as your personal information has levels to it and your truth should only be revealed to those you trust will not abuse it.
Set Your Story and Characters Free
Sometimes us writers find ourselves at a roadblock and we try to force ourselves through it, increasing the problem in the process. We can believe that pushing our way pass will eventually lead us to salvation and sometimes that’s possible but often we discover that the path forward was blocked off for a reason. Maybe it’s a proverbial sinkhole that we can’t see or that a storm has knocked over trees down the road and we’re left feeling frustrated while also having tunnel vision.
There are times where we lose our guides and our direction. This is the point in our journey in which we must assess our own roles in our creations. We must get out of our own heads, get out of our own way and let the story and characters lead us. When we ask ourselves, “Would our antagonist do this, would our protagonist say that” and we force ourselves to say yes or no, then we have lost our way, deciding to shove our story into harsh terrain or worse, a dead-end. Countless hours are lost when we choose not to set our stories and our characters free. Let them roam and your quest to create that awesome tale locked inside of your mind will find its satisfying resolution.
Believe in Yourself
Think about it.
How hard will it be for someone else to believe in you if you don’t believe in yourself?
Yeah, that would be a tough task to handle.
We all deal with doubt in our lives, and we all deal with it in our own ways. But make no mistake, believing in yourself is a foundation to your own success. Fear of failure and doubt of ability is normal, just let it be a process and not a burden. And I know, it’s sometimes easier said than done. Nevertheless, instead of letting your concerns build into a giant of Attack on Titan proportions, allow it to be a distant co-worker that helps you complete your objective.
Imagine if Michael Jordan didn’t believe in himself. Ponder what would be if Stephen King stopped at his first novel and said, “Yeah, I’m not good enough for this.” What if Stevie Wonder decided that his handicap was a certain death knell in his musical career? Or if Marie Curie decided that she didn’t belong amongst other scientists?
You must believe in yourself and your talents. Educate yourself to become better. Work on your craft to become wiser. And write to become more of what you already are.