Writers’ block is every author’s worst nightmare, especially when there is a deadline looming overhead. It’s frightening to stare at a blank screen only to have it stare right back at you, with no words. After all, if you don’t feel thrilled about writing your own novel, why should your readers feel thrilled about reading it?
But while all writers have experienced this, do any of us know how to cure it? Probably not. But I am no ordinary writer; I am a cat, and therefore know all the things. Here’s my #kittywisdom on how to fight your way out of a writing slump and kick writers’ block in the you-know-where!
Watch a Related Show
Stuck on an action scene? Watch an action movie. Having a hard time picturing Victorian-Era Britain? Watch a British Victorian show. Trying to pick up some new details on an old revolution as research for your book? Watch a related documentary. It’s amazing how much easier it is to write about what you see, as opposed to only what you have heard, read, or imagined.
Read a Related Book
Watching TV isn’t for everyone, and doesn’t solve every problem. Sometimes you need the kind of research you can highlight and copy and paste pieces from for future reference. And sometimes, especially if you’re writing in another era or a new genre, it’s good to read related books to see how the experts have done it in the past and better decide how you can do it in the present.
Do Some Research
Whether by movies, books, or surveys, a little research goes a long way; thorough research will take your book even further. Don’t skimp on the fact-checking. Ask the experts. Follow up on their recommendations. The more familiar you are with a topic, and the more you know it inside out, the easier it is to write about it.
Tackle Some Editing
Few humans like to edit—until they’re procrastinating about writing. It is often much easier to revise something already written than it is to draw new words out of thin air. While it’s important not to get stuck in the editing cycle, if you can’t add new words, reviewing the old ones isn’t a bad idea.
Write Something Else
Writers’ block is often on a per-project basis. For instance, a writer could struggle with a novel for three weeks, but churn out ten articles for clients on an unrelated subject, and then three blog posts lamenting their current standstill. If one project won’t budge, find another. Just take care not to become that author who starts a thousand books, but finishes none.
Join a Writers’ Group
Writers’ groups exist online and off. My favorite online is #turtlewriters on Twitter, which is dedicated to slower writers, though speedy wordsmiths—like my mistress—are also more than welcome! Nothing beats meeting up in person though, and there are plenty of writing groups offering this opportunity, if you’re willing to give it a shot. Looking for somewhere to start? Try MeetUp!
For more tips on staying productive with your creative work, check out my human’s blog post, How to Stay Inspired & Keep on Creating.
About the Author
Shadow the PR Cat is the Goodwill Ambassador at Alexis Chateau PR, and head of the firm’s indie author division. His job includes tweeting, taking selfies, rolling in catnip, and advocating for animal rights and social equality. Follow his kitty adventures on Twitter as @ShadowThePRcat.