How to Defeat Writer’s Block
I wanted to have this published in the GWC E-Magazine, but it doesn't look like that's going to happen because it was supposed to come out at the beginning of this month. It looks like there was an unexpected hiatus for the magazine, and as you all know when I write something I always want to share it.
How to Defeat Writer’s Block
By: Kaylyn Gabbert
There are many ways to fight the dreaded writer’s block, and in last month’s Talk-It-Over with Carolyn Declue I touched base with a few that work for me. Writer’s block can take many forms: it can be lack of motivation, lack of ideas, or your emotions and life taking front seat to your writing. No matter what it is, it tends to drive you crazy. I say that because I run a group called Accountabilibuddies where many of the writers have told me a variation of these forms of writer’s block, and I’m not immune myself. Here are some of my tried and true methods of getting through me through writer’s block. Please note, not all of them will work with all personality types.
Work on multiple projects at a time: As many of you may or may not know, I often admit to working on eight stories now. That means I’m either always thinking about them on the back burner, researching for them, or actively writing for them. I do this so when I run out of ideas for one I can easily stay on the writing track. At least one of my MCs will talk to me at any given point. This not only works for me but also helps my co-author on one of our works.
Reread the whole story: If you want to go back to a specific story, but you still find you’re stuck on it, I find that rereading the entire thing shakes new ideas loose. If that doesn’t work don’t forget to look at the notes you also had for where you were headed next.
Renew your love in what inspires you: In the Talk-It-Over podcast, I briefly talked about this project I call my Inspiration Dossier. The best way to describe it is calling it a living scrapbook I started in 2014 of now eighteen subjects that keep me inspired. It started with Casts I Like (book, TV, and video game characters and their traits), People I Admire, Villains I Admire, and Authors I Admire. Now there are many other subjects, but the ones that get updated the most often are Assignments from my Past (daily questions from my many writing groups), Best Writing (stories that entertain me from documentaries, stories from indie writers such as yourselves with their permission, and more), Letters (letters and cards I’ve received from family, friends, and coworkers), and Best Memories (my favorite memories from my whole life with doodles). I told an Accountabilibuddy about this, and she was intrigued and thought about doing something like this for herself.
Work on something new: This doesn’t necessarily mean start a new story because we all know that’s dangerous territory as a writer. In times like this I’ll work on a poem, short story, review, or something for this magazine. Or maybe I’ll write a blog post to clear the mind of things I might not even know are holding me back from writing.
Reading: All writers need to read, but don’t force yourself to read something you don’t like. Note what you don’t like about that book and try not to do that in your writing. The same goes for writing you love in books you love reading. Try to see if you can mimic it in your own unique style. I’ve been doing something like that since I was a teen, and in some cases this got me some really good feedback when my professors at Full Sail University realized that’s where I got an idea.
Media: Does music, the internet, or TV inspire you? I will happily admit to my vices. All three of those are my holy trinity of inspiration.
I’m attached to music the most though which is good because that one can be almost always portable and doesn’t cost precious data. I have multiple music devices throughout my house, a giant stereo from my teen years I refuse to part with, and I just got a Bluetooth Turntable Player as an early birthday gift from my husband. Music inspires daydreams for me, and daydreams turn into scenes that are story foder.
Most people I’ve spoken to in general seem to turn their nose to the TV, but in my opinion, it really depends on what you watch and I usually find documentaries fascinating. I’ll write my own stuff while they’re on, and if a documentary’s story makes me go, “Wait, hold up.” I’ll go back and take notes on everything I just heard. Eventually that will end up in my Inspiration Dossier and possibly a book of mine. It may make for interesting research you never saw coming on a project, you never know. That’s happened in my novel writing, game writing, and writing for this magazine actually.
Last but not least, we all try to limit our time on the internet, and I fully understand because it is a time sink more often than not. The internet has definitely stolen more than its fair share of my time, and there’s a chance I let it, as we all do. But I also know the internet has given me a great group of writer friends I can rely on for help, advice, and inspiration. There are seven groups I’m very active in, five or six of them will inspire me with daily questions of all different kinds. The other group is a group that calls for tutors for creative writers from my alumni. I’ve made great, creative friends that way. The internet can help you and give you opportunities to help others. The opportunities I found through Facebook alone are my game writing job, helping others get hired there, found this magazine, helped people submit to this magazine, made friends that became family, and so much more. My favorite thing that the internet has given me is the opportunity to interview people to become inspiration behind characters in my books and stories and also give me an opportunity to do a podcast. That was a fear of mine before the opportunity presented itself.
Shake up your daily routine: With depression being one of my bigger forms of writer’s block, I sometimes don’t notice the problem for a week or two. When I finally do notice I take a day out of my office usually and just spend the day with my husband. We go for a long walk, talk, and sometimes we grab a meal. That always fixes things, and if that doesn’t there’s a chance my depression may actually be worse than either of us thought. If yours is also mental health related, and you know you need to check-in with a medical professional, please do. But just get out of your usual routine for a day, and see if that helps.
Those are all of the suggestions I have if you run into writer’s block. Please let me know if they work for you or if I missed any that really work for you that you think could work for others. I want to note that in number seven, if I do find out that my depression is worse than just shaking up my routine I do make sure to check in with my therapist and my psychiatrist, two different people. They’ll help me as needed from there.
If you want to hear our podcast session July 2021 Talk-It-Over Unfortunately there are currently technical issues with the Podbean link on the computer but not the phone.
Podbean then go look for Talk It Over on your phone