Every writer battles writer’s block at some point in their career and some battle it more than others. Here are three quick tips to help banish writer’s block.
Sketch Out Your Battle Plan
Some writers would make lousy builders. They’d gather some beams, a half dozen nails, and a hammer and erect their first wall. Before that task’s finished, they’ve run into problems.
The beams aren’t even lengths and they can’t measure them because they haven’t brought a tape measure to the building site. Not that they could cut them anyway, because – you guessed it – somehow they forgot to bring a saw. Next, they find the half dozen nails are only enough to hold a couple of beams together. What a horror! At least they can’t go wrong with their hammer.
Where I’m going with this metaphor is simple: Plan your writing before you begin. No builder would attempt to build a house without a plan. The plan doesn’t need to be so detailed it squishes creativity to a pulp; rather, a good plan liberates your writing.
Floating around in your head are the plot structures, archetypes, and tropes from the thousands or hundreds of thousands of stories you’ve read, watched, been told.
Sketching out your ideas creates awareness of how all these other stories influence you. Seeing these on paper allows you to make decisions – Is this really how you want to tell your story?
Outlining benefits you through providing direction – rather than wasting time thinking, you can put in double time writing.
Talk to the Hand
How much faster would you write if you could type at the speed you think?
Impossible, you shout. No, I do it every time I write.
The technique is simple: To write at the speed you think, think slower.
How do you do this? Say each word aloud as you type it.
It sounds so simple as to be ridiculous. Yet it works. My first BIW I wrote a 50,000-word draft of my memoir in that week.
Some days I topped 13,000 words a day.
The idea doesn’t look so silly now, does it?
Because you’ve practiced Tip 1, your brain isn’t preoccupied with where you’re going. You’ve already worked out your destination. Now you can focus on getting there.
Once you’re in the habit of typing as you speak, then speak a little faster and type a little faster to match.
BIC HOK TAM
The final tip is place your butt in a chair (keep your butt in that chair until you’ve met your target), your hands on the keyboard (keep your hands on the keyboard the whole time), and type away madly (keep typing regardless of what you think of the quality of your writing [of course, if you’re practicing Tip 2, you’ll only be thinking of one word each moment and won’t have time to worry about quality]).
Chant it like a mantra:
- BIC HOK TAM.
- BIC HOK TAM.
- BIC HOK TAM.
Your job as a writer is to take thoughts from your head, and like a telepath, zap them into the heads of your readers. Bludgeoning writer’s block to death makes this mission possible, sooner.
Kathy from Australia says
Thanks Daniel for this post, just the common sense advice I need to motivate me for this month’s BIW!