Hey everyone, it’s Kernook here, and today I’m back again writing another writer’s block post. I’ve already written one of these posts before, and you can find it here if you want to read it. You really should start there, but I’ll do a recap here as well.
Basically, in my last post I outlined three core principles for solving writers block. Here is just a very basic outline, and it only glosses over the topics I spoke of in detail.
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- #1 Respect your mental health. -This means that you should know where your mind is from a creative standpoint. Make sure you are doing your best to maintain the right kind of thinking for your writing style. If you can’t do that, maybe put your old projects aside and write something new to get the feelings out.
- #2 Redefine your methods. – This means you always should look at the fulfillment you get by writing. If you feel that your writing is no longer filling your needs as a person, you might change the way you go about crafting the written word.
- #3 Perfectionism is flat out stupid. – Nothing is perfect, and trying to force it to be that way isn’t something you should do when you’re still in your first or second draft. When all else fails, a good old fashioned write-and-toss may help.
As I stated in my last post, these suggestions are made for the hobbyist and creatively inclined. They’re not made for professional writers, though I suppose you may see some value in them too.
That being said, this is geared more for the fan fiction community, or someone who is just getting into writing and doesn’t know exactly what to do with an idea or a project that they want to start. If you’re one of these sorts of people, let’s move on to the meat and potatoes of this post.
What is a “drabble”, you might ask? Good question, and the answer is quite simple. Usually it is a very small fiction. If you’ve been around in the fan fiction world for a while, you’ve likely seen those fictions that are less than 800 or so words.
That’s a drabble. Yep, that’s it.
Now by definition, a drabble is usually about 100 words, but in the fan fiction world we take number counts very loosely. With some fan fictions easily becoming over one million words in total length, we tend to play fast and lose with the standard expected writing formula. So really, a drabble is just a really short story, and often times it’s not always fleshed out.
This is a great way to bust writer’s block. Pick one theme, one or two characters and one simple setting. Then get to it. Write that scene to its completion. That’s it. That’s a drabble, and most of them can stand on it’s own. If it can’t, that’s fine too, because now at least you have a jumping off point. Upload that sucker and get yourself some feedback. Then build off of it. Either with a few more small drabbles from the same universe to make an interconnected story, or with a longer length work.
Sometimes the best cure for writer’s block is just to get something out there in the first place, and drabbles help you do that.
#2 Find Sensory Input
Your personal experiences as a writer will shape how your work takes form. This is especially true if you don’t have much writing experience to go off of. It can be difficult to describe a particular feeling or flesh out the world that your characters live in.
If that’s the case for you, find the next best thing. All pieces of media come from a place of introspection to a degree. Learning to absorb the details around, you will help you to make your story fluid and interesting.
If you’re having trouble describing something, find a real world equivalent. For example, if you’re trying to describe a room in a house, or the way a character acts, then look around for your inspiration. Act out your scenes a little, as if you were the characters. Play them out in your head. If your character seems to shrug something off, you shrug too. Feel the way your shoulders lift. Feel the sort of breath you take within the confines of the scene as if you were the character.
Is the breath you take gentle or heavy? Do your shoulders sag a little as they fall? Do they hunch forward, or do they square back confidently? What are your lips doing? Are they placid, or frowning? Do your eyes close, or do they stay open?
Take notice of those small details, write those in. That way you can move on without lingering too long. Trust me, you don’t ever want to longer linger than you have to. It will only make the writer’s block worse in my opinion.
I cannot stress this enough, but perfection has no place in a first draft. Hell, it has no place in a second draft, either. If you’re a perfectionist, toss your idea onto the page and move on.
You will inevitably return to it later, like all writers do during the editing process. Sometimes just getting deeper into the scene you’re writing will help. Someone that really is all you need, then you’ll be able to go back and add more content later.
#3 Creative Drifting
So, you have no idea what to do. You’re just completely stuck to the point that words just aren’t going onto the page to save your soul. It’s agitating you to no end, and you’re just about flip your entire desk over in frusteration.
Don’t do that. Instead, go find yourself a voice recording app. A free one. There are so many to choose from, really. Either grab one on your cell phone, or a computer, it really doesn’t matter. Now, open that thing and talk into it. Yep, you read that write.
Just talk about your creativity. Talk about the world you want to build, the characters you want to write about, the setting. Make a mess, let the thoughts exist and mingle into something you can listen to later.
When you’re done, listen to it a few times. Occasionally that’s all you need. The talking will occasionally jump-start your innate creativity. If that didn’t work on its own, then listen to that recording and make a bullet point list of things you say that inspire you. Dig deeper into it, and focus your talents on that inspiration first and foremost. From there you should be able to write something, hopefully.
Ultimately, writers block is something that everyone will struggle with creatively at one point another. That’s a demon that just falls into line when writing anything, and often times there isn’t much a person can do but struggle through it. Writers block is a fluid thing. It will come and go and that’s just the way it is.
I find that playing to your strengths really helps a lot, but sometimes it just isn’t enough. When that happens, the best thing you can do is play with the actual writing conventions themselves. Toy with them, twist them around, and throw them all over the place. The written word is a powerful tool, but don’t let that stop you from truly enjoying the freedom of expression.
So what if you happen to have too many words, or maybe just not enough? So what if you can’t nail down that perfect moment? What if you can’t get a description of a scene just right? It doesn’t matter during writers block. These are all issues that help to contribute to writers block in the first place, and these are all things that can be overlooked during the initial phases of your creative journey as a writer.
There will come a time and a place to fix all of that. If it is meant to be fixed at all, it will be. Sometimes it’s just not, and allowing your initial ideas to merely exist as they are might give you more freedom as a writer.
It’s all hit and miss. We all throw things at the wall to see what sticks. Sometimes all of it does, and sometimes none of it does. That’s the nature of the beast. Work with it, not against it.
As I always say, let yourself love the creative process. Let yourself love writing for as imperfect, bombastic and grandiose as it can sometimes be. Clutter is part of the process, messes crumpled up wads of ideas will be cast aside more times than not. Don’t be bogged down by it, just embrace it.
If you can do that, the block will pass and words will eventually flow freely once more. Love is a powerful tool too, and few things are stronger than its power. As a hobbyist writer, you are your own master. the written language is your form of magic, and the page is the vessel upon which to place it. Allow yourself the flexibility to play with the craft, and simply just love it no matter what.
This has been Kernook of The Demented Ferrets, where stupidity is at its finest and level grinds are par for the course. I’ll see you next time.
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