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You're the Voice: Leah on the dreaded writer's block

Jul 15,2013
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File 15671As an aspiring writer I like to take inspiration from the world around me and interpret that inspiration into ideas and emotions and eventually, words. Whether they make it into a story, poem or post remains to be questioned, but hey, it’s the thought that counts! (I made you smile there. Don’t deny it J)

Lack of inspiration, or just lack of finding it, is called writers’ block and is the bane of every author’s life. Including mine, yours, and every other person who ever learned to draw and put together the symbols that make up our alphabet and our language. So how do you get past this obnoxious disease? What can you turn to for the inspiration that will set your brain and your fingers moving?

Number one priority for curing writer’s block is, of course, looking around yourself.  Inspiration can be found anywhere, in anything. I’m sitting in my kitchen right now, hitting keys on my laptop, and I’ve been sitting here for about three hours trying to think of what to write – which is where the inspiration for this post came from. Looking around though, I can see several ideas that only need a human mind to convert them into stories, like the old photograph of the builders sleeping on the foundations of what we now call the Empire State building.

File 15914  

What could I create with that? A history lesson, perhaps? Maybe I could talk about black-and-white reading, or people writing stories ‘on the line’ – far-fetched, but it still comes from that picture from so long ago. It’s possible, to say the least.

Talking to family and friends is another option. After asking them for ideas, studying the relationships between different people is an ideal source for inspiration for the types of relationships you want to create with fictional characters of your own. You could also watch public bickers in the schoolyard, confront your worse enemies (socialising with people who dislike literature), or even study strangers’ conversations - though not to the point that it becomes rude, of course.

And, of course, novels are a HUGE source of inspiration. Whether it’s the plot, the ideas, the characters, or the writing style, you’ll find that many of the books you read are inspired loosely from one or many other books and texts. For example, I had been reading a Terry Pratchett novel around the time my first blog was being written, which explains the snide comments and the abstract ideas employed in the text.  The trick is not to base your story too much around someone else’s – which can be quite hard. (That’s what fanfiction’s for, hey?)

So really, despite all vulgarities, it's actually pretty easy to overcome writer's block, as long as you keep your mind open and your brain thinking about seemingly random things that may become your next bestseller – or your next A+, whichever is appropriate.

What are your methods for curing writer’s block? What do you turn to for inspiration? 

- Leah

Jul 24,2013

@First commenter: Good AND good-ish, I think. Insightfulness is a brilliant skill, and socialising - eh, books are better.

*claps hand to mouth* Did I say that? No, I didn't say that... 

@Tim: Hehe, thanks, Tim!

@Ambivalence: Yeah, we have... I think. Well... maybe... perhaps...

@Daydreamer: Good aim :) You'll always come up with something at the end :)

Jul 21,2013

Nice comic. x) Hm, I usually don't get over writer's block, because I use it as an excuse to justify my laziness. :P If I really want to get over it, I just do. I start looking around for ideas. Quotes, pictures, movies, other stories etc. Anything to spark an idea in my mind. And then I daydream and I write. No matter how bad I think my story is, my aim is to start writing. And then improve from there. ^^

Jul 18,2013

Cute comic ♥ 100% relatable and helpful. I think around the first time I started writing creatively for ME, I ripped off the books I was reading too ^_^ I'd basically combine elements of a dozen stories I'd read, and make my own one up, and you think, naturally, you're only taking ideas from here and there so it's okay. But I kind of made all my pickings really Obvious, so it was just pathetic :P Of course, we've all come a long way from there, right? x)

While your advice is really sound and useful, I think my body is just opposed to Working to get over Writer's Block. Sometimes I wrack myself for ideas, and other times I just wait until inspiration comes walking. And slaps me in the face.

Jul 17,2013

Nice post, and this is totally the cure: " keep your mind open and your brain thinking about seemingly random things". Thank you!

Jul 15,2013
anonymous's picture

'Socialising with people who dislike literature'- I love this line! And I completely understand what you are saying, I spend a lot of my day analysing situations I come across and thinking about how I could use them in a novel. Do you think this way of viewing the world can lessen our experiences? Or do you think it only makes us more insightful? I tend to think that it has made me more insightful, but sometimes I would prefer to be stuck inside my own fantasy, and this can cause social problems! Loved your blog!

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