Writer’s Block and the Importance of Staying Motivated

As most writers will know, in order to produce the perfect piece of work, there are a number of elements that need to be aligned before you can really begin to create the tour de force you imagine in your head. I’ve lost count of the number of times I have sat down with the intention of producing something solid and wonderful. I have the time, I have the brainpower – so why is nothing coming out like it should?

Writer’s block is something that has always plagued the writing profession. It can drive you mad, and sometimes gets worse and worse, like a dam of some sort is preventing the words from flowing. So how do we get around this? Obviously what works for one, won’t work for another, but I’ve always found that the best place to start is to step away from writing for a short while. If you’re not feeling it, you’re not feeling it, so why waste the time and words on something you know you won’t be able to do anything with?

Have a sit down, read something inspirational, have a cup of tea, go outside! I always love walking in the woods behind my house. Getting back to nature never fails to calm my busy head. Another thing I like to do is just get out there and do ‘stuff’. See friends, go places, have an adventure, experience feelings that will make you want to write. Sometimes it feels like the last thing you want to do when there’s work to be done, but you’ll only have to go back to it later if you feel the work isn’t up to scratch.

Often I’ll find a book, a song, or a movie – anything that makes me want to start creating again. Sometimes it’s words, other times an image or a moody, blue sort of atmosphere that causes an idea to leap into my mind. Some of the ideas I’ve liked the most have actually begun as dreams I’ve had. This isn’t uncommon, so if it happens to you, grab a pen and paper and write it down before it slips away! Something small can be the key to unlocking a rush of creativity, and as a writer, it’s important to be aware of that. Protect the little things – the memories and the experiences that make you feel something that gives you that excited stirring inside.

One of the best ways to progress is to take all of those words and all of the imagery that you’d like to include in your work and put them together in a big, arty collage. It feels great to be creative in different ways, and the task of producing something that’s beautiful, colourful and visual can be very soothing. It’ll do wonders for an uninspired mind. It’s a nice way to take your mind off the task of writing if it’s becoming wearisome, and can also help give order to your thoughts and fit things together. I used to dislike planning out my writing ideas, and sometimes it isn’t always necessary, but when writer’s block strikes, I’ve found it’s a good idea to remind yourself what it is you are trying to create in the first place. Things can often get lost beneath the pressure we put upon ourselves. A mood board is a great way to relieve this pressure and rediscover the enjoyment of writing.

Another one that I’m really not that good at myself, is to be patient. I’m usually one of those who rushes into things head on, then gets frustrated when it doesn’t pan out the way I imagined. I’m making a great effort these days to take my time and avoid negative feelings like anxiety and disparagement of my work. It only makes things worse, so even though it may seem like an overused cliché, focus on the positives!

Taking care of yourself is important also, so take breaks. Eat right and get enough sleep. Time away from your writing is time to grow and develop your ideas. Plus, as I wrote earlier, many great ideas will show up in dreams. If that’s not an excuse to get some rest, I don’t know what is! The human brain works in funny ways, and mental health is more important than anything. Feed it and nurture it, then reap the rewards.

Having said all of this, it’s important to try and maintain some kind of structure if you want to be a productive writer. Give yourself some targets and goals to achieve. If you note these down and try sticking to them, you may find that you fall into a routine that allows you to make some progress. Of course, I don’t like to make my own structure too rigid, as I don’t believe writing (at least good quality writing) is something that can be timed and planned too seriously. Inspiration can strike at any moment, and it’s your job to make sure you capture this feeling and channel it into something wonderful that will lead to more.

If you really take the time to find inspiration, hopefully you will find that it brings about a better quality of work for you. As a writer, you will know what you need to be creative. I need beautiful music without words, a tidy room, soft light, a head full of imagery and a page full of engaging words that I feel really distil what I’m looking for into a whole idea. What do you need? Please share your thoughts and ideas – I’d love to hear them!

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Christina Crook
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