How Do I Overcome Writer’s Block?

Notice, I don’t say “how to overcome.” That is because I think it’s personal, super personal. We have different stresses, anxieties, and road blocks in our lives that can cause writer’s block. Overcoming it can be just as unique. I’ll present my solutions that I have found to work for me, but I encourage you to try the same! You never know!

When I was in middle school, my mother gave me a literal writer’s block.

block

Yes, I have the maturity of a hamster. I love my fox cup and Hello Kitty mouse pad!

Behold! I didn’t have the heart to open it, and a pen came with it that has been long lost. All puns aside, there are several things one can attempt to conquer writer’s block.

#1 Accept It

I feel that sometimes it’s the acceptance of writer’s block itself that can help one overcome it. This may sound silly, but if you accept something it’s easier to move on from it. There are many psychological studies supporting this method and well, what’s it gonna hurt to say, “Yes. I have writer’s block and it’s okay!” Sometimes you really need a break. Take a week off from writing. Heck, allowing yourself to take a day off from it can work. The key is to not feel bad about taking that needed time. That being said, it’s important not to let it become habit.

#2 Power Through It

Write anyway! Even if it’s nothing on your current project. Getting the juices flowing on a short story can help rekindle the old flame of your epic novel. I’ve had so many times that I wrote anyway and thought the entire time, “This is crap. This is awful. I shouldn’t even bother because come edit this is all coming out.” I would go back and reread and it would be amazing. Surprisingly so, because I had the distinct memory of hating it. I had serious dread in the pit of my stomach because I knew how much work that section needed. Turns out it didn’t. Some of my best stuff has come out when I was forcing myself to push through, thinking negatively the entire time. So, write anyway! You never know.

#3 Detail Your Outline

If you’ve been following me for a while you’ll know what a nut I am for outlines. I cannot say how many times having an outline kept my word count up. Writer’s block comes in varying degrees and styles for me. Which is why I have various ways of dealing with it. Sometimes it would be a creative block. Back when I pantsed my novels this was awful. I would be in the mood to write but I couldn’t compose a single sentence because I had nowhere to go with it. We have our creative spurts, or, I do! I’ll have days where I can’t type or write fast enough to get all of my ideas down. It’s almost like a creative bank that you withdraw from when you need inspiration. I have index cards on my desk and if I get an idea I’ll write it down on that index card and put it in a folder. Well, when you plan and outline on your creative days, it’s easy to refer to on your less stellar days. If you’re facing a writer’s block, sometimes it’s best to follow an outline to guide you through the motions until you warm up to it.

#4 Non-Writing Productivity

Plot! Draw some backgrounds or floor plans. Work on other aspects of your novel besides the actual writing. Get excited about your characters by filling out worksheets. Start drawing a map of their neighborhood. Work out the ventilation system on their spaceship. If you can get excited about your story from the other aspects of world building and planning, you’ll be excited to dive back in and get to writing.

#5 Physical Activity

Sometimes my best plotting was done on a treadmill, no joke. Take your dog for a walk or clean the house. Whilst scrubbing the bathtub, why not work out how the intergalactic alliance settles disputes? Maybe while vacuuming you can figure out a new futuristic carpet that wouldn’t require such a task! Or is that just wishful thinking on my part? Either way! Sometimes doing a productive physical activity can not only help you clear your mind, but make you feel good for getting something done, even if it wasn’t writing.

#6 Clean Your Work Area

If my desk is too cluttered, so is my mind. And yet! At other times I thrive in the chaos. If you’re having trouble staying focused, look at your environment. Is there a stack of unopened mail nagging at you? Need to clear away that dinner plate from last night? Give your area a little breather and clean that sucker off. In addition to cleaning up your area, why not rearrange it? Have that desk face a window, or if it’s too distracting, the wall! XD Change it up now and then. Tell yourself as you dust off your monitor you’re dusting off your writer’s block. 

#7 Is It Even Writing Related?

As mentioned in the beginning of this blog, the causes of your writer’s block can vary. This includes stresses with work or family that aren’t even related to writing. If you’re too busy worrying about having money to pay the rent it can make for a hard time. Sit for a moment, take a deep breathe, and focus. Is something bothering you? Can you do anything about it in the exact moment in time you’re trying to write? If you can, then take care of it. You’ll feel better and can concentrate on your writing afterward. If you can’t do anything, then let it go. Work on your writing and allow yourself to escape a little. I’m a worrier and I know this from experience. It is definitely easier said than done, but sometimes escapism (in healthy doses) can help relieve some of that tension building up in other aspects of your life.

Until Next Time…

I hope some of these tips I use can help you. Everyone is different and so our solutions will be too, but you never know! Nothing is going to be bulletproof, but we sure can try. I would love to hear what others do for their writer’s block (if you’re so inclined) in the comments. And as usual, I have to say Dragon Bloode: Covet is out on ebook and free (until July 17th) with a coupon from Smashwords! Coupon Code: ZT57S

Advertisements

World Building Part 8: Floor Plans & Architecture

worldbuildban

Aha! I knew there were subjects I forgot. I imagine this series will continue and expand for years to come. I actually remembered floor plans when talking with Mary about some other aspects of world building and it hit me like a freight train. It was painful. XD

I also want to post a quick reminder that my novel Dragon Bloode: Covet is going to be released on June 17th on SmashwordsAmazon, and most ebook retailers. For a free copy from Smashwords, use coupon code ZT57S. I also was sure to post some excerpts from the book for your entertainment. Well, I hope entertainment. Anyway, moving on!

floor-plans

Just as you would use maps to keep track of location and for the sake of consistency, floor plans serve the same purpose on a smaller scale. You don’t want to say a door is across from the couch in chapter 1 and that same door magically moves to next to the couch in chapter 7. You don’t need to go into the same detail that an architect would, but the more the better. It’s very beneficial to have floor plans before you even begin writing, as you can determine the most organic ways your characters would move about and interact with items in the room.

#1 Start With Your Settings

Write down all of the settings in your book including the ones outside. You can map out the layout of an estate as much as you can a bedroom. Go down your list. Stop at each place and think of it in your mind. Think of the scene that takes place in the setting. Is it really the way the furniture would be? Is there a window there? Can’t have natural sunlight in a room without windows. Think of each place and make notes on any important features or those that are mentioned directly in your story.

#2 Study Real Floor Plans

As mentioned above, these don’t have to be professional grade schematics. That being said, it’s still a good idea to look at real ones. Above, I have a random floor plan I pulled off from google image search, but you can still tell it’s professionally done compared to any that I have. Also, keep in mind engineering. There are still laws of physics, even in fictional lands. Now, of course, there’s always the option of explaining away an impossible engineering feat with magic or with some other (un)natural intervention. If your story is a sci-fi that takes place on a ship in the outer rings of Saturn, you’ll definitely need a floor plan. Ships don’t waste any space! Another aspect that can greatly influence your structures is culture. Look at the different wonders of the world as an example. Is your culture grandiose? Wealthy? Wanting to show their power? Look to European cathedrals or pyramids of Egypt!

#3 Rough Sketch

Whether you want to approach all of these at once, or do a room at a time from start to finish, is entirely up to you. I have made all of my floor plans for my current story, so I’ll make a fake one for this blog post (who knows, maybe I’ll use it later). I’m going to do a teenager’s bedroom to keep it small. First, determine the size of the room you’re doing. Is it a cavernous throne room? A kid’s room? A workplace? Then think of the shape. Is it circular? A square? Rectangle? Remember, rough sketches are easy to change! Play with the shapes and sizes if you’re not sure.

FP_01

As you’ll see, I also made a note for a unit of measurement. That is a big room! Next, determine where your windows and doors will be. Use simple lines perpendicular to the wall to mark windows, and a line swinging outward or inward for a door.

FP_02

I added a door, three windows, and a closet door. Pretty basic!

#4 Furniture+Details

FP_03

All right! I’ve added a desk with a chair in the corner, three bookshelves (apparently this fictional person takes after me), a bed, a nightstand, a beanbag chair in the corner, and shelving in her closet. That’s moderately detailed! I guess she sleeps in a king sized bed, look at that compared to the 20 feet! Scale is another detail to look out for. You can’t have a 20 foot bed next to a five foot desk, but as it stands in a rough sketch scale is fine. You get the main idea.

From this point on, the floor plan is usable. You can go in and color everything and add as much detail as you like or clean it up in a graphics program and print it off for your binder. Another thing to mention might be to add the timeline to it. Does the room change as this person gets older?

#5 Quick Outdoor Rough Sketch

Suuuuuuuper rough, but you get the idea.

FP_04

#6 Tips

Remember, if you do both outside and inside floor plans you must have the building shapes be consistent. If you have a manor house that is rectangular outside but an oval when inside, that wouldn’t work.

Don’t forget landscaping! It might not seem important, until you have a character using it for cover or to hide your villain after they’ve committed a horrible crime.

In addition to floor plans themselves, don’t neglect writing in details such as what the buildings and surfaces are made of. Are there marble floors? Carpeting? Consistency!

Mark the directions of north, south, east, and west on your floor plans. If your window faces north, your character can’t watch the setting sun.

If you find yourself intimidated by so much detail, ripple outward. Start with the room and go from there. Design outward and build on.

It might seem obvious, but be sure to clearly label each floor plan. Also, if you do a building with several floors, remember to label which level you’re on. Remember, on higher levels, you need support for your structures. That means columns, load bearing walls, etc.

If you have verandas or balconies without a supportive structure beneath them, they will over time have a lean. Floors without a good foundation will sink in.

Until Next Time

I’m sure I’ll think of thirty things I forgot to add, that’s always the case. However, this should be enough to get you started. I don’t have anymore world building ideas for now, but hey, you never know. Either way, see you next week!

More From Mishka’s World Building Series

World Building Part 1: Basics
World Building Part 2: Religion
World Building Part 3: Nation Creation
World Building Part 4: Government
World Building Part 5: Calendar
World Building Part 6: Map Making
World Building Part 7: Culture

 

Added 10/24/2016 World Building Part 9: Creatures

Added 11/21/2016 World Building Part 10: Science!

Added 12/12/2016 World Building Part 11: Medicine

Added 01/09/2016 World Building Part 12: Names