When Writing Is Difficult

Do you find writing harder at certain times of the year? One advantage to the winter evenings is they encourage staying indoors. The thought of staying in to write appeals a lot when the weather has been rotten! (I write this in the week of Storm Gareth).

When writing is difficult and your mind seems completely blank, give yourself a break.  Pixabay image.
It can be harder to write during the summer months when it is easy to want to be outdoors and away from the desk. P.G. Wodehouse’s maxim of “applying the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair” is good advice to follow here.

Give yourself the time to dream, the courage to keep going, be open to being inspired by others.  Pixabay image

When writing is difficult, what can you do to overcome that?

I’d say firstly be easy on yourself. I don’t believe in writer’s block. I do believe there are days when the words just don’t flow so well. I see that as a normal part of being human! We’re not machines. There are bound to be days when the prose or poetry flows and other days when they don’t. There is no point in beating yourself up for this. It is a temporary glitch. If the words came easily once, they will do so again.

Sometimes the words don't flow, they leak out slowly!  Pixabay image
 What can be useful in annoying times like that is to make notes. Have a brainstorming session on any subject. Allow yourself to free write away from your normal material. Let yourself write “just” for fun. This is for you only.  Enjoy it! (It can feel like playing truant. It’s what I like about this). The great thing is you can return to these notes later and hopefully find sparks of inspiration for stories, articles or what have you. This kind of writing is never wasted.

Brainstorming is useful (and fun!).  Use it to take the pressure off yourself.  Pixabay image
 Another useful tip is to increase your reading, in terms of how much you do and in varying what genres you read. Reading feeds the mind. Maybe in the difficult times, your imagination needs some TLC. What better than to feed it a wide range of stories?

Remember there is no such thing as the perfect first draft!  Pixabay image
 I’d also recommend reading non-fiction as that too can spark ideas for stories. One of my favourite Discworld novels by Terry Pratchett is Raising Steam which shows how the locomotive came to Ankh-Morpork. What historical or scientific discoveries could you use to inspire your stories?

There are few writers who haven't experienced this feeling.  Pixabay image.
Vary the length of stories that you read too from the short to the epic sagas. What makes you love these stories? What is it about the characters that draws you in? How can you apply that to your own creations?

If you are working on a long project and you are getting bogged down (and frankly it would be amazing if you didn’t at times), can you work on shorter pieces to give yourself a mental break sometimes?
Give yourself time to read and feed your own imagination.  Pixabay image.
It’s also helpful to remind yourself why you wanted to write in the first place. For me, it’s all about the love of playing with words. Going back to first principles here can and does give my imagination a much needed boost at times.

Happy writing (and reading!).