Writer’s block can get f****d. I’m a firm believer that if it didn’t exist, I’d be a multiple award-winning New York Times best-selling author by now. I’d probably be in my holiday cabin by the lake right now, smoking a cigar and working on my 150th highly-anticipated novel.
Sadly, I suffer from this debilitating illness on the regular — even when faced with a seemingly straightforward task like a witty email sign-off or Facebook status. Writer’s block is a thing even for writers, you guys. Lucky I hate cigars anyway.
I discovered this exercise in my creative writing class at uni, and have loved it ever since. Free writing is so simple, my one-year-old Italian Greyhound, Vinnie could do it. It has two rules: start writing and don’t stop. Pick any topic you like and put that pen to paper (fingertips to keyboard) and begin. Much to your own disbelief, your hands will continue, sometimes for pages and pages and pages. At the end, you’ll be in a more creative headspace to tackle your original project.
Writing prompts are right up our alley; they’re creative, fun and prove just how wild you can be if you’re given a bit of freedom. They usually start with a suspenseful sentence, which you have to finish off. Here’s two I’ve attempted this week, taken from The Write Stuff by The Taconic Writers:
You enter the funeral home and join the line of solemn mourners. Nodding to those near you as the line moves forward, you shake hands with several. As you near the casket, you realise you are at the memorial service for the wrong person. What next?
Your new neighbour hangs laundry out to dry on a clothesline. Although she seems to live alone, she hangs out many articles of children’s clothing. What do you imagine is going on next door?
Weird? Yes. Effective? Also yes. Find more writing prompts here.
Whenever I’ve been staring at the blinking cursor for a little longer than socially acceptable, I find something to read. Preferably, it’s something that aligns with what I’m trying to write: a fashion article? I’ll grab a magazine. A blog? I’ll head to a blog that always makes me think / LOL. I spend at least 10 minutes reading to get myself in character, before returning to my project and letting loose.
We’ve got loads of writing games, exercises, tips and how-tos. Visit our blog to stay on the train!
If you need more advice, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We love to talk.