Too many ideas? Too few? Blank page syndrome (hair-tearing optional)? Mojo gone AWOL? Sometimes even Jack London’s otherwise sound idea of ‘going after inspiration with a club’ doesn’t even get the words flowing!
While there is a lot of valid advice out there on how to beat writer’s block on a project, we can also get stuck in a creative quagmire. To drag ourselves out of there and get that hunger for storytelling back, a writer’s detox in 5 easy steps can help cleanse the mind. Here goes:
1) Ask yourself the crucial question
You’ll kick yourself, it’s simple … That crucial question?
“What do you really want to write?”
Sit back, close your eyes, or rifle through your notes, and clear your mind until you can pinpoint exactly what project really gets your heart racing. Screenplay, novel, short story, poem, anything goes. Just shelve everything else until numero uno is done. Got the idea? Hold on to it! Here’s what you do next, coming in at number 2. MORE: The 1 Sentence That Will Kill Your Story DEAD
2) Detox your mind
Something is holding you back. Self-doubt, fear of running out of ideas, harsh critique (or any critique at all) – tell those suckers to leave you alone. Make a list, naming the enemy, and then BURN it.
3) Declutter your workspace
You could easily write your masterpiece, if only … you had space for notes, mood-board, reference books etc? Then clear the desk of all the junk, or move to the kitchen table, the floor, whatever gives you the feeling of a clean, clear working space. MORE: 10 Quick Tips To Get You Inspired
4) Be nice to yourself
A shiny new project deserves a treat. A new pen that begs to be used, a pretty notebook, a scented candle if that floats your boat and fits into your budget– anything that makes the writing joyful!
5) Feed your senses in the REAL world
Ideas, and characters are everywhere. Go to the cinema, the theatre, a museum, an art gallery. Any place where you will be surrounded by inspiration. Take it in, file it away for use in your heart’s project. MORE: The Habits Of Successful Writers
While this sounds simple (and it is), consider it as part of your prep. Notes and research are invaluable tools, but getting into the right mindset when you battle with blank pages, a relentless inner critic and the rollercoaster of elation and despair is just as crucial if you want to make it all the way to the finish line and stay sane.
And now stop reading for goodness’ sake. Go and write!
BIO: Carmen Radtke is a screenwriter and novelist. Her debut novel is The Case of the Missing Bride (Bloodhound Books), an historical mystery set on a ship en route from Australia to Canada. She also writes under the pen name Caron Albright. A Matter of Love and Death will be published on 29 November by Bombshell Books. Follow Carmen on Twitter: @CarmenRadtke1.