So, you've decided to be an author or enjoy writing, or have no idea where to start. You place your paper on your chosen workstation and pick up your pen hovering over the page, or you switch your computer onto your software that you're going to use to write. And, there you sit - blank page screaming at you, taunting you with its...blankness. It dares you to write something, yet just as blank as it is, so is your mind. Despite thinking as deep as you can, nothing comes to the forefront. Now what? There can be nothing more daunting than trying to force ideas to come and remain having none - especially if you have a deadline to make or that you just want to start a project or begin writing.
Here are my top tips to beat the dreaded writers block:
Use a bullet journal or notepad to make notes wherever you are - that way you'll have them to give you prompts when you start writing
Do things to relax you - the block can come from trying too hard or putting too much pressure on yourself
Be aware of the little things - inspiration comes from every aspect of our lives. Even the tiniest event can be created into a massive montage. Such as the way your pen clicks could be turned into how annoying Fred finds it when Clara does this every science lesson and when he asks her to stop, she then begins to stalk him because no one tells Clara what to do.... Or how your neighbours cat sits on your lawn and just stares at your house every morning could evolve into how Mr Tibbs believes your house is haunted and waits everyday to see the ghost as he thinks it belongs to his old master...
Use music to inspire. Whether your a heavy metal fan or classical music lover, listen to its rhythms and to how it makes you feel. Write from the heart - use your emotions to write a compelling bit of prose about things that your feel, this will create more believable characters.
Write from your heart - as above. If you write characters that come from real, raw emotions, they'll be more believable. You will also find it easier giving them a voice and they will develop into their own characters easier too.
Plan - don't just start writing and hope for the best. Plan your work, develop a strong outline that you're happy with that flows and also makes sense.
Read a lot - read lots of good books to help you know what works well for audiences, but also read loads of bad books. These will give you a good idea on how to not go about writing a novel or prose.
Have some snacks handy - but only treat yourself after writing a certain amount. I often do this and decide to write 500 words before I treat myself.
Give yourself a target word count - have a daily word count to meet. This can start of really small with a single sentence. My daily wordcount is around 2000. But, this has taken me years of practice to get to this point.
Know your characters. If you're stuck with the actual writing part, how about exploring your characters? For the story to work, the characters need to be believable; what they like, who they like, favourite colour, what makes them feel scared and anything else that creates a whole person/creature/monster.
Know the world you're creating. Okay, so this might be more for those who are writing in the sci-fi/fantasy genre, but even in the real world, this is still important. For example; if your story is based in 1940s New York, and you write about everybody owning a car that is a Tesla, then unless there is a time warp or alternate universe, this isn't going to be realistic (they produced their first car in 2008).
Don't start writing your novel from the beginning - start with what your want to write about. The great thing about typing it is it can be deleted or rearranged easier than if written, however, typing doesn't suit everyone. The beginning of a novel can be very daunting, but if you know that there is going to be a giant alien consuming all the log burners in the world as a way of maintaining its own energy resources, then start writing the bit that gets your blood pumping or excited. Don't write the beginning until you feel confidence in starting it as this can be the hardest part to get right.
Develop your knowledge. If you're writing about the history of witches, then make sure you do your research. This applies even if its fiction. Whilst writing from your imagination is great, if it's totally beyond the realm of physics, the readers will find it difficult to keep up.
Set a timer and see how much you can write within that time, regardless of how short it is. So, if you set it for ten minutes and it takes you ten minutes to write a sentence, step away from your work and reward yourself for succeeding. Then, the next time, plan to write two sentences in that time and increase it gradually.
Have fun! Writing for pleasure is meant to be precisely that. If you're getting stressed, then your brain will have a tougher time trying to come up with amazing ideas. Remember, it takes time and effort to become good at something, so make yourself a brew and chill.
P.s. Know that writers block isn't real and you'll find that the ideas flow easier.
And, there you have the tips that have kept me going throughout writing Zero-Dark: Origins and are keeping me going through book 2, Zero-Dark: Insurrection.
Happy writing, stay safe,