Congratulations! As of today, you’re halfway through NaNoWriMo. How are you feeling at this point in the process?
On November 1, you began this project with enthusiasm and a solid resolve to hit your daily word-count goals. You felt inspired and empowered, knowing so many others were climbing this mountain with you.
But it’s November 15, and maybe you’re getting a little tired and bogged down. Maybe you’re even thinking about throwing in the towel. But don’t give up now! It may sound counter-intuitive, but one of the best ways to overcome writer’s block is to write. Encouraging those wheels to keep turning can give you the horsepower you need to get over that creativity curb. If you feel like the novel-writing truck has gone off the highway, here are some tricks to get your brain back on track.
Switch it up
If you’re writing on your computer, switch to pen and paper, or vice versa. Go to a different room to write. Change the style of music you’re listening to. Try anything to jar your brain out of its rut. Physically changing your environment can break your brain’s patterns and give you a new perspective.
It’s a classic because it works. Move away from your book and write about something completely different—something for your eyes only. Freewriting can keep your brain cells warmed up without requiring a readable finished piece. Write about anything that’s on your mind, including your writer’s block. Use simple language, and focus on feelings and senses instead of story and structure.
Limp through the rough patch
Keep working on your novel. You can come back to the parts you’re struggling with now and rework them later. Don’t worry about grammar or maintaining the level of brilliant creativity you’ve produced thus far; just get words on the page.
Do you know exactly what you want to write in the next chapter? Start on it now. You don’t have to write your book from beginning to end. If you can, try to outline the basic components of the part of the story you’re stuck on, then move on to the next chapter (or even the ending). Eventually, you’ll get that lightning bolt of inspiration to fill in the gaps.
Go easier on yourself
Maybe you’ve been dreaming about writing this book for a long time, and you want it to be your masterpiece—the project that plucks you from obscurity and changes your life forever. But that’s an awful lot of pressure to put on yourself. You are not defined by every word you put down on the page. The only way to become good enough to get noticed is to write, write, and write some more.
Allowing too much anxiety to creep into your work can be one of the quickest ways to halt your progress. Remember, rewriting is a thing. Editing is a thing. For now, just write.
What tips do you have for getting through writer's block? Leave us a note in the comments below!