My guide to beating writers block is to empty out all of the ideas you have, even the bad ones you know for certain are bad. A lot of times I found myself stuck because the only ideas that lingered in my head were the bad ones and I couldn’t see past them or find a new train of thought to get to the mindset that I needed to continue.
What I chose to do, and I still use this technique today, is to write out all of the bad ideas. Maybe choose to write them in a separate document or a piece of paper but get them down and out of your head so your mind is free of them and you know that they are there wrote out if you ever need to look back over them if you find key points from them in the future.
After that is done, you may find it easier to let new ideas breed and come to life.
For me personally, I went through this problem at the beginning of one of my novels. I knew what direction I wanted to take in the story but the only ideas I had for characters and the narrative took the story in a different direction and I could not visualize what I had to change and what I had to get rid of in order for my true vision to come to the surface. My mind was already set on the path that a few bad ideas had strung me down. Luckily for me, I eventually broke out of that mindset and found the point in the story from which I needed to return to in order to take that fork in the road. It meant deleting a lot of content, some of which I considered good writing as well as some witty dialogue but it was a sacrifice I needed to make.
The other kind of writers block we encounter is the complete block, where we cannot come up with any new ideas whatsoever. Here is what I find works.
1. Take a break, relax
You might read this all the time. Giving your mind a break from all of the creative thinking may help with any stress you may have with writers block. It may sound frustrating, you might want to get pen to paper right now, you know you have it in you, but trust me, forced ideas are almost never any good and you may encounter tunnel vision where you start following a story up to the end of the first act before you reflect on it and consider it rubbish. I am guilty of this.
2. Get inspired
Go read a new book that has caught your eye. Or you know that film you’ve been itching to watch? Well, tonight is the night. Inspiration can come from anywhere and it’s important to stay inspired, always try and generate new ideas and new perspectives or else your stories and your characters may end up all coming out very similar. Inspiration can also light a fire under you and before you know it, you have a whole string of new ideas, maybe even some you might have previously been against. Always try and keep an open mind to what may at first not seem a good fit for you personally. Stepping out of that comfort zone may result in reward.
If you can’t find it in yourself at the time to better your story, do the next best thing and better yourself. Upgrade your vocabulary, look into possible competitions you might want to enter, learn the latest trends in formatting, genres and even look at ideas for what will be your book cover.
4. Set-up marketing
One thing you can never do too early is putting in motion your plan to market your book, whether you have or get a publisher or decide to self-publish. Go build yourself a website, engage and network on social media with like-minded people and start to grow a following. Seek out local locations that would be ideal for a future book launch and get quotes for venue hire as well as additional items such as food and drink. Other promotional tools might involve getting business cards printed along with posters and or banners for that book launch.
Another great thing to do as an outlet for your writing is to blog. The subject matter of your blog is up to you. It may or may not revolve around writing, it could be about sport, your town or city, animals etc.
It is a different kind of creative writing as opposed to what you are trying to achieve with a story. It might help getting those creative juices flowing again and you might even try getting your frustrations
out within your blog.