Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Tackling Writer's Block

by Deniz Bevan 

I’ve written a few blog posts before about overcoming writer’s block.

Sometimes it’s the result of a dearth of ideas, other times due to factors beyond our control.

One of the oft-suggested methods of overcoming a block is to repeat the same action every day.

I find it easier to write every day than to exercise every day!

The Maiden’s Tower, Istanbul
Still other times, it’s insecurity that gets to us. When every word sounds stupid and clichéd and nothing the characters say seems plausible or remotely exciting. A good cure for this is to go out and live life for a while. Step away from the page and interact with others. Do something fun and unexpected!

For those times when we can’t do that – faced with a deadline or the need to by-gum-get-things-done – I’ve got a few tips and tricks that have helped me:

Read poetry, especially something that’s written in a style completely unlike what you’re used to reading or writing. Penning a dark urban mystery? Read some Gerard Manley Hopkins. Creating a lyrical literary masterpiece? Browse some Bukowski. The contrast, and the turned-on-its-head way of looking at the world, tends to jump start creativity.

The ancient town of Ephesus
Research. Not in a long-term, leading-to-procrastination way, but in fits and starts. What’s the view from the castle at Naples? A two second Google image search. Can you use coltsfoot in stew? Another split-second search. Don‎’t get distracted by photos of the Italian countryside or delicious recipes. Search, find the answer, return to the manuscript. Done! Hopefully, that’ll satisfy any urge you might have had to click over to social media…

Lake Geneva shoreline
Plan for writing time. “Today I will write from 1 to 3 p.m.” Watch your writing time get eaten up by family, freelancing, chores, what have you. Get mad. Write anyway, even if you lose an hour’s sleep. Go away from your usual haunts and write somewhere new.

Browse images!

I love my Story Inspirations board

It’s useful for so many things:

--seeing the exact expression on a character’s face

--visualizing a location you haven’t had a chance to visit yet

--remembering to include details of colours and textures into descriptions!

--capturing the feel of a kiss (if you’re writing a romantic scene)

The Aegean Sea

It’s also useful for story prompts! Not sure how to wade into a scene? Pick a location or a pose or an object (yes, my latest pin is of a clawfoot bathtub!), slide a character into position, and begin to write!

What are your go-to methods for finding inspiration at the start of a writing session? 

Deniz Bevan - DARK MATTER: "One to Another"

Deniz Bevan has lived and worked in Turkey, and her non-fiction work, including travel articles, book reviews and personal essays, has most recently appeared in the trilingual (English, French, and Turkish) newspaper Bizim Anadolu. Her short story 'Where There's Life' was shortlisted for the Surrey (Canada) International Writers' Conference Storyteller's Award in 2013. Her contemporary romance, Summer Fire is out now with Carina Press. And there’s a playlist for that story, and many others, on her YouTube channel! And her Story Inspirations board on Pinterest features images of all her characters.

A firm believer in burning the candle at both ends, she is generally writing a new novel while editing another, and blogging about her reading and research adventures -- and sharing travel photos – weekly on her blog, The Girdle of Melian. Other days, she tries to stay off the web altogether, as she delves into the history, mystery, and romance of her characters’ lives.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Some great ideas. Just doing something different often helps me.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I love to browse images. I can get lost on Pinterest.

Cloudia said...

I like your tips. Thank you very much

Rajani Rehana said...

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Rajani Rehana said...

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Julie Ann Lozada said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Julie Ann Lozada said...

such a great post, it helps me a lot. You're right, we need to plan writing time.