Writer’s block: fact of life poetically bemoaned and practically hidden. Spun in the right light, it sounds like a Greek tragedy. In reality, it feels more like shopping for super-deodorant after catching a whiff of your own pits. It isn’t fun, and it isn’t glamorous. Fortunately, it isn’t forever, either, and there are some weird ways to break it.
Once a shameful secret guarded by a few, it’s now public knowledge that comic sans can save novels. Most of us work with default fonts in our word processors because they’re easy and familiar. Calibri and Times New Roman look tidy and official. While that’s great news for printing, your subconscious may take it the wrong way. If you struggle to write a first draft because it feels like it should be the only one, that each word should be perfect before it appears behind the cursor, it may be time to make the ultimate sacrifice and switch up your font. None of us want to do it. But sometimes painful sacrifices are necessary. And remember – you’re not alone.
Write from a Different Character’s POV
Sometimes, there’s a practical reason for writer’s block. Your head may be trying to explain to your heart that a certain character dynamic, plot line, or setting choice just isn’t working out. A clever way to escape your own preconceived ideas about your story is to swap the POV. Find another character and try telling the story from their point of view. Is it working? Is it not? Maybe you needed a new main character. Maybe the side characters can reveal the flaw in the system. Either way, you win.
Wear Different Clothes (or None)
Your brain works in concert with the rest of your body. New ideas come from sensory input, and your physical needs drive your sense of drama. Lots of writers have preferred loungewear. It feels comfy and lets them focus on other things. But when the brain refuses to focus, even in sweats and a threadbare t-shirt, it’s time to change things up. This could mean wearing heels and an uncomfortable dress while perched in front of the laptop screen. Naked writing is also a thing. It’s attributed to many famous authors’ habits, including Hemmingway’s. What you wear or do not wear is ultimately up to you.
Work from the Bed or Floor
If you usually work at a desk, don’t. Get out of your environment and go somewhere else, preferably somewhere boring. That may mean writing in bed, where you’re relaxed. The floor is always open, too. Lying down with a notebook on the carpet or sitting with your back to a wall and laptop under your fingers can give a new perspective. Other places work, too, but most people have a bed, and everyone can find a floor somewhere, so these options are always readily available.
This isn’t code for “Give up.” The brain is a tricky thing, and if yours is anything like mine, the thing it’s supposed to be doing is the last thing it wants to accomplish. When I’m writing for a client, I want to work on personal projects. When I’m working on personal projects, I suddenly want to brush my dog. Intentionally not writing makes the process more alluring. Officially banning yourself from writing for a set period of time, like a week, adds pressure to that desire. Even if you aren’t ready to attack your WIP’s main problem head on, you’ll likely be able to work on another section or another project.
Are you dealing with writer’s block? How have you beaten it in the past? Share your tips!