What Helps Me Stay Motivated
I’ve made it my mission to write at least posts each week between the two places where I’m writing these days. I’m also working on the first draft of a new novel, all while working full-time, and parenting. It’s a lot sometimes, and unfortunately, it leads to burnout and writer’s block quickly if I don’t stay on top of it. So I’ve had to learn to take some measures to avoid burnout and plow through that ever-looming threat that is creative block.
Free writing is a liberating exercise where you let your thoughts flow onto the page without worrying about grammar, structure, or coherence. Set a timer for 10–15 minutes, and just write whatever comes to mind. The goal here is to loosen up your creative muscles and rediscover the joy of putting words on paper. You never know, you might stumble upon some hidden gems that can help you break out of your slump!
This often gets me past that paralysis that comes from looking at a new page at the start of a project. Be it starting a new novel, blog post, or research article, starting is the hardest part, and free writing often helps combat that. If I’m already in the practice of writing words, it’s much easier to begin.
Sometimes all it takes to break through a writing slump is a little nudge in the right direction. Writing prompts can provide that much-needed spark to get your creative juices flowing. There are countless websites and apps that offer daily writing prompts to inspire and challenge you. Don’t be afraid to explore different genres or styles — sometimes stepping out of your comfort zone can reignite your passion for writing.
I love a good character-based or genre-based writing prompt, especially if they’re out of my comfort zone. As a fiction writer, I tend to stay in the realms of contemporary and realistic fiction. Any prompts that are science fiction, fantasy, or speculative in nature really push me out of my boundaries, and always help me settle back into my own writing style when I’m finished.
Join a Writing Group
There’s strength in numbers, and a writing group can be the perfect support system to help you overcome a writing slump. Sharing your work with others, receiving constructive feedback, and hearing about other writers’ experiences can provide motivation and inspiration. Plus, having a sense of accountability to your writing peers can help you stay committed to your writing goals.
A mind map is a visual representation of your thoughts, allowing you to explore and connect ideas in a non-linear way. If you’re stuck on a particular aspect of your story or project, grab a piece of paper and some colored pens or pencils, and start drawing your ideas. The process of visually organizing your thoughts can help you see new connections, generate fresh ideas, and get you out of that pesky writing slump.
I really love to put big ideas on post-it notes, so that they can be moved around. I’ll often play with plot and character development this way, so I can storyboard and visualize my pacing. Sometimes you just need to externalize your thoughts.
The Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method where you work in focused intervals (usually 25 minutes) followed by short breaks. This technique can help you maintain momentum, stay focused, and chip away at your writing project, even when you’re feeling uninspired. By breaking your writing session into manageable chunks, you’ll find it easier to overcome the paralysis of a writing slump.
Read, Read, Read
Sometimes, the best way to break out of a writing slump is to immerse yourself in the works of others. Reading books, articles, or blog posts can provide inspiration, expose you to new ideas, and remind you why you fell in love with writing in the first place. Plus, you might pick up some valuable writing tips and techniques along the way!
I often find myself revisiting Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott and Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury for inspirational writing advice, but you’ll need to read widely to really improve your writing and break out of a writing slump. Experience genres you don’t write, read authors whose views are different than yours. Experience the world through others, and let those experiences shape your writing.
Remember, creative block is a natural part of the writing process, and every writer faces it at some point. The key is to recognize when you’re in a slump and employ these tools and techniques to break free and reignite your passion for writing.
Have you tried any of these tools or techniques to overcome a writing slump? Or do you have other tips that have helped you get back on track? Share your experiences in the comments below — let’s support each other on this wild and wonderful writing journey. Happy writing, and here’s to conquering those slumps!
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