Writers block doesn't bother me anymore. I've mentioned that on this blog several times. I've figured out some preventative measures that have really helped me get past it. The two things that do get me are:
- I'm Tired
- Mental Health
I struggle with depression and anxiety and I'm human so I get tired. These I feel like are due more to lack of motivation than "writers block," but I have come up with some systems to help with them too, so I'll break this post into two parts.
Writers Block Preventative Measures:
1.) Plan Out Your Story - Many writers contract writers block when they write themselves into a corner. Planning ahead and at least doing a bare bones outline can really help keep you on track. Making character profiles and doing some pre-writing worldbuilding is very helpful too.
2.) Have a Brainstorm Buddy Handy - Sometimes you encounter problems you didn't expect to come your way so talking them out to a brainstorm buddy can help you get your way out of a kink then you're back to writing again.
3.) Set Goals that Work for You and Your Schedule - Writers block can be intimidation. Don't schedule more than you can handle. Give yourself daily or weekly goals that work for you.
4.) Factor in Breaks - Writers block can also be burnout. I've written myself into the ground and then felt so burnt out I couldn't write hardly anything for months. Make sure to factor in breaks like take Sunday or the weekend off or even factor in longer breaks like a week or two.
5.) You are not Ruled by Inspiration - Waiting for inspiration can become a crutch. Instead of you ruling the muse the muse can rule you. Don't wait for inspiration. Sometimes don't even go chasing inspiration with a net and dart gun. Just go for it. If you rely on "writing when you're inspired," you're never going to get anything done.
6.) Writing is a Job - I want writing to be my career, so I think of it like a job. You can't take off from a job willy nilly. You have to take it seriously and get your work done. I'm paid to write for a magazine. It's a job. I'm not a paid novelist but I'm aiming to be and that means it's a job and meeting deadlines. Keeping that in mind really helps propel me forward.
How I Cope with Lack of Motivation:
Tired - When I've had a busy last few weeks, I do not want to write or edit or do anything productive really, but I still want to keep on track with my story goals.
1.) Just Do a Little Bit - When I'm really worn out, I just tell myself to do a little bit even if that means just write 250 words and edit two pages. Doing a little is better than doing nothing.
2.) Time Myself - When I want to get done more than a little bit I like to set a timer to write for ten minutes or tell myself I'm going to write for a half an hour. Often I'll get into it and end up writing more than I thought I would.
Mental Health - Depression and anxiety can be a big hindrance to my writing. When they act up I often have trouble concentrating or even having the desire to write.
1) Push Through - Sometimes I can shake the feelings that come with depression and anxiety, self motivate myself by repeating in my mind "I can do this," and get so wrapped up in writing I forget about them.
2.) Step Away and Do Something that I Enjoy - Other times pushing through doesn't work and the more I try to write the worse of a time I'm having. Thus I give myself a thirty minute to an hour break. I take a walk, play some video games, watch a few episodes of anime, or draw until the depressive and anxious feelings pass then I go back to writing.
3.) Take a Break for a Few Days - Sometimes when my mental health gets really bad I have to fess up and take off a few days usually the weekend plus one more day then I'm back and feeling better. I had to do this in April.
Conclusion - Writers block doesn't have to be the death of your writing life. There are ways to move past it. Same with lack of motivation whether you're in good or ill mental health. You can still write despite the obstacles in your life.
How do you deal with writers block? Do you take any of these preventative measures? Do you have anything to add to the list of preventative measures?
You may also like:
The Book of Encouragement
How to Be a Proper Brainstorm Buddy
What Being an Editor for a Website has Taught Me
What Being a Social Media Manager for a Magazine Has Taught Me
What Being a Staff Writer has Taught Me