Writer's block. It is the bane of every writer's existence. Whether writer's block stops you in your tracks completely or just turns your writing into something that feels meandering and disjointed, it can seriously derail your progress. Everyone hits rough patches with their writing, but there are some ways to try to jump start your writing.
- Just Keep Writing -
This advice can seem counterintuitive, but it is the only thing that can really help. If you are having trouble with your writing, don't quit! Even if everything you are churning out feels like utter garbage, eventually you will find your way back to something more coherent. The logic here is simple: your writing can't improve if you stop writing.
- Pick a New Plot Structure -
If you are having trouble writing, it might be the case that something in your story just isn't working. Sometimes switching up your plots and adding something new can spark your writing inspiration. You can try to restructure your existing plot or add a new twist or secondary plot line. If figuring out where to go next is your problem, trying out some new plot ideas could help you.
- Add a New Character -
If you are struggling to write a certain character, try introducing some new ones or focusing on peripheral characters instead. You may find that the narrator you selected isn't actually the best one for your story. You could also up the tension and the stakes by adding in a new villain, a foe disguised as a friend, or an anti-hero. Follow your antagonist's storyline for a while, go off on some tangents. It doesn't all have to make it into your final draft, just explore your characters and see what works.
- Take a Lesson From Fanfiction -
If you are familiar with fanfiction, you will be familiar with the concept of alternate universes (AUs). Story not working the way you want it to? Set it in space, set it during the Civil War, make it a 1930s noir, put some zombies in it, swap your main characters' genders; just find a way to switch things up so they feel interesting and fresh again. Obviously, this won't work in all cases and you may be far enough along that you don't want to switch the story up, but it is worth a shot if you are early on in your writing process.
- Get Some Inspiration -
Find some new inspiration for your story. Whether that means that you go create a moodboard on Pinterest for your work in progress, or make a playlist of writing music on Spotify, go find some way to get yourself inspired again.
- Get Outside -
Even though you shouldn't give up on your writing, sitting in front of a blinking cursor for too long just might drive you crazy. Get outside and go for a run, meet up with friends for dinner, just get away from your writing desk for a little while. Hopefully a little time away will allow you to come back with a fresh set of eyes.
These tips are just a few of the things that I've tried to help snap me out of a writing slump. They might not work for everyone, but I think the first tip is the most important. You can't give up. Just keep writing, even when it feels like it isn't going well, even when it feels like you are stuck.