Coming up with an idea for a story is the easy part. I’ve done it countless times while doing the dishes, vacuuming the floor, or even folding laundry. I don’t know how many times I’ve lost myself to my daydreams while planning a potential story–I’ve been writing since I was twelve and my process hadn’t changed in decades. But one thing that has changed is this:
Writing can be quite a chore!
Honestly, I envy the people who are writing machines! They remind me of the energizer bunny; they keep going and going and going. Frankly, that isn’t me. Now, don’t confuse that with an inability to write! I am a writing pro (toot toot!) and it is my calling. However those who are able to produce an endless supply of creativity and push out manuscript after manuscript in such a short amount of time makes me incredibly jealous! I know I’m not alone in the world and I’ve read countless blogs to overcome my own writer’s block, but sometimes I haven’t found anything worthwhile to help me.
So instead, I’ve put forth a system that has done the trick for me. This took years of practice to perfect (because I’m such a perfectionist), so I’m really excited to share it with you! But before we even get into how to properly deal with writer’s block, we first need to understand why it happens.
One thing you have to remember is that coming down with writer’s block or even procrastinating doesn’t make you any less of a writer! Lacking the motivation to tackle your next (or current) writing project is nothing to be shameful of either.
In fact it’s completely normal!
Let’s first dive into some of the reason’s why writer’s block happens…
I’m going to start with the number one thing that affects me.
Now, a lot of people probably won’t agree with that being number one, but for me, it is. Combined with stress and other life factors, exhaustion is a monster! It’s known for inhibiting your thought process, causing hallucinations, migraines, lowering your immune system, and other very dangerous factors. So, it’s no wonder that this plays a part in procrastination and writer’s block.
Typically if you find yourself exhausted, writing is the last thing you should be doing! Go get some sleep! There’s nothing wrong with taking a few days away from your beloved project if it means allowing your mind to rest and recuperate!
Exhaustion can do crazy things to your mind and if you don’t believe me, you should check out this neat little blog called Romper! Their blog post 7 Things that Happen to Your Brain When Your Exhausted explains how fatigue takes a direct toll on your mind and has helped me to overcome my own writer’s block.
2. Lack of Structure
I don’t know how much I can stress this… Building a book is similar to building a house! You HAVE to start with the foundation–a structure! Without the supports, you have nothing but a pile of bricks, or in this case an empty book! If you take a moment to think about it, try to determine whether your book has a proper foundation. Do you know how to build one?
The best way to go about it is by building an outline. They can be tedious, but trust me, they’re well worth the painstaking process! With every project I take on, my first step always involves an outline. It’s the basis for which I attempt to build my books or the books for my clients. Think of it as a guideline.
Here’s how I build mine…
- Determine who is/are my MCs (main characters).
- Are my MCs the protagonist or antagonist?
- Create a descriptive background for them.
- Add on SCs (supporting/side/secondary characters) – compile a list with a briefly noted background and how they relate to the story.
- Note specific scenes/turning points in the book
- Come up with the Conflict(s)
- Build the book around the conflict. Detail the Plot! Separate into needed sections (I.E. How They Meet, Conflict Part One, Plot Headway, Conflict Part 2, Resolution to Conflict, Epilogue/Ending to Book)
- Write my starting Blurb (I like to call them the Story Blurb Foundation – I revise at the end of the book)
- Write my book following the guidelines/goals I’ve set for myself.
Writing can be incredibly difficult without some kind of structure. Everyone will have something different that helps them. What I’ve listed above helps me to maintain focus and remind me where I should be at and what point to which I should end the story. I highly recommend exploring your options, experimenting with different techniques, and finding what helps you before taking anything on.
3. There’s No Reward or Personal Meaning
Unfortunately, this is a fact of life. You are bound to run into something that offers little to no reward, or simply it has no personal meaning to you. In other words, you become bored and subsequently you lose interest which affects inspiration and motivation. Not to mention the constant reminder that completing a manuscript to the fullest is time consuming and a delicate and intricate process that can be quite frustrating.
It’s best to always remind yourself of this: completing a manuscript is an achievable feat!
There are many who aren’t able to boast that they’ve done that. It takes time, patience, creativity, and a tremendous amount of passion to pull it off. Also, to avoid the doubts and the boredom, setting goals and milestones for yourself is the best method of treatment. It has a greater reward, a likelier sense of accomplishment, and showcases progress!
4. Expectations are too High
Is it entirely possible that you’re expectations are set a little too high? Don’t get offended! I’m guilty of this!
There have been quite a few times where I’ve backed myself into a corner because I expect too much of myself or of the project. It’s not something I’m sure you’re keen on hearing and if you’re like me, you definitely don’t like it! Being prepared and ready is my bread and butter. I love feeling accomplished and like I have everything in place. Finding out the opposite is a drastic mood killer and honestly makes me want to throw the towel in.
There’s nothing wrong with having high expectations, just make sure they’re realistic. All you need to learn is how to adjust accordingly and know your limits.
Do any of these sound familiar to you? Perhaps something else prevents you from writing. If so, comment down below with your own story! Don’t forget to keep an eye out for 4 Stupidly Easy Steps to Beating Back Writer’s Block to learn how to prevent it from happening in the future.