Whether you’re freezing up at that damn blinking cursor or the characters in your Work In Progress have simply fizzled out and lost their allure, here are a few ways to shake your funk and get those creative juices flowing again.
1. Write in a different environment
I have a really bad habit of always sitting in the same spot on the corner of my futon with my computer on my lap. While this usually works for me, one day I switched it up and whipped out my 2,000 word-a-day quota in record time for me. You might argue that perhaps I was feeling particularly creative that day, but I really think that day’s creativity was sparked by sitting in a different location. But you don’t have to take my word for it – simply try it! Even if you still don’t leave the house (hermit! …Okay, I’m totally a hermit, too!), just try writing in a different location – outside on the deck or at the dining room table. Anyplace new will do!
2. Go for a walk
Okay. I know. So overdone. “Need some inspiration? Go for a walk!” …But hear me out here. Don’t just go for a walk. Bring a notepad along with you and take note of the things around you. If you’re stuck figuring out what’s next for your Work In Progress, mentally bring along one of your characters. What would he/she think of this walk? Would they talk? Would they be silent? Would they be pissed that you’re out walking? Complain about the weather? Bitch about their feet hurting? I bet they didn’t wear sensible shoes for this walk, did they?
If you’re experiencing overall writer’s block and don’t have any characters yet, this is your opportunity to make one. You don’t have to keep this character around or do anything with them ever again. You’re simply getting your creative juices flowing with this exercise. On your walk, find a house that catches your eye. Notice its front yard: has it been perfectly mown or is it unkempt with random toys in the yard? Are there curtains on the windows? Blinds that are broken here and there? Who do you think lives there? What’s their name? Why do they live in this city? Do they like it here? Using just the visual of the house, try to come up with answers to these questions… but, maybe keep walking because you might start looking like a creepy stalker if you keep staring at that house.
3. Go to the library
The library is a wonderful place to find inspiration! Besides the wonderful treasure of books a library offers, it also tends to have a plethora of, ahem, interesting characters. (And hey, you’re not excluded from that group since you’re sitting in the library!) Find a good spot where you can sit and watch people without being too obvious. Pay attention to the people around you. Notice the harried mom with her three small children – so wonderful that she wrangles her kids to come to the library and introduce them to books! Or is she really just getting out of the house so the hitman she hired can eliminate her husband while she has an alibi in the librarian who will definitely remember her screaming children?
Not all is always as it seems. Take your time coming up with the most outrageous character backstories possible. No matter how crazy or out there your library characters are, it doesn’t matter because no one will judge you on them! You might even stumble across a character who mentally follows you home and allows you to write their story.
These are just a few ways to shake your muse loose of its funk. What other suggestions do you have? What works for you? How do you move past writer’s block?