You’re staring at a blank page, obsessing. You’re a writer, but today, the computer screen is staring at you, blank and taunting. Today the words aren’t flowing. And it’s okay, because we’ve all been there. Writing is hard work, and some days are harder than others. The important thing is that when you’re down, when writing is hardest, you try to make it easier, you try to still get done what you need to get done. Today I’ve created a short list of things you can do to pull yourself out of a creative slump. They aren’t necessarily the first things you’d think of-writing exercises and prompts-though those can be helpful too. These suggestions are about truly getting in touch with your inner self, the deep part of you that does the writing.
Without further ado, let’s begin:
1. Meditate Take a few deep breaths and still your mind. Focus first on your breathing and then on nothing at all. You’d be surprised the strange things your inner mind says to you if you really listen-and if it’s outside stress that’s getting you down, meditation will do wonders for your peace of mind. Don’t just follow this advice when you’re having trouble writing-try to meditate at least once a week. Make it part of your self care routine. You can use incense or candles or whatever helps you meditate. Make sure you keep pen and paper on hand so if you get a great story idea you can write it down right away.
2. Get Outside And I’m not just talking about your backyard. Go for a walk down the street, spend an hour sitting in the nearest park. Write down descriptions of the people you see, the sounds you hear. Focus on the descriptions while you’re there, and when you get home, see if you can find a story in it.
3. Research Research something you’re interested in. If you have something specific to write about, look for information related to your theme, maybe even read a short story or two that have similar ideas. If you don’t, then research whatever catches your interest, whether that be science, history, other cultures, other languages or even the behaviour of zebras during mating season. Keep your mind open to ideas and note interesting facts. Even if you don’t make a full story out of it, you might make part of one, and the information might be useful later. For fantasy writers, I highly suggest researching an unfamiliar mythology.
4. Observe Watch the people around you. Listen to the people around you. Notice what they say, how they act, their odd behaviours. You can write them down, but I find when it’s people I know, I remember these details. Little things that a person says which hint at the deeper issues-comments about their appearance, fishing for compliments, mentioning an ex in passing who’s more important to them than they let on-the kinds of things which let you into a person’s psyche. You can learn a lot about characterization by studying people-and they can give you some weird ideas.
5. Explore Not physically-though I’m sure on your adventures there will be some of that-but mentally. Go to see a musical or a play. Go to see a new movie. Look for interesting events that are new to you-events where you can see and learn new things. Study a new form of dance. Adventure, explore, and live your life without fear; dare to experience things others wouldn’t, and you’re sure to find something to write about.
It’s okay if you don’t write anything one day-but you have to keep living life and looking for inspiration every day. You have to always be thinking about your craft. And you have to do everything in your power to get yourself out of the slump.
How do you get out of your writing slumps?