Tired of looking at a blank screen? Your fingers are on the keyboard but refuse to move? Aggravating, isn’t it? I’ve been there. In fact, I think it’s fair to say ALL writers, at some time or another, have been there and done that.
The first thing I like to do in the morning is ask God to inspire my heart, soul, and mind with His words. That, however, doesn’t make me immune to writer’s block.
We all write differently. Some writers plot their novel ahead of time. They outline scenes and chapters before they begin the task of putting words on paper–or computer. Pantsers, like me, write by the seat of their pants.
I begin with a one-liner in my head, fifteen to twenty words that tell me what the story’s about. I don’t know how I’m going to go from my opening line to The End, but as long as the words keep flowing, I watch it take shape while my fingers do their fancy dance on the keyboard. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? Not always.
What happens when the inspiration you asked for just isn’t there? Is God saying “Take a break? It’ll come.”
I like to ask six basic questions. Who did what? How did they do it? When, where, and why? As I answer each one, I watch the scene unfold in my mind’s eyes. It may take a while, but I eventually get there.
Here’s the one-liner for my first novel, Stella’s Plea (don’t worry, no spoiler): Story of a deaf three-year-old child who disappears, and her mother’s struggle to find her. Before I began, I knew the end. Whether or not she’d be found. Dead or alive.
There were times words flowed so well, I couldn’t type fast enough. Other times, my mind was as blank as the screen in front of me. Even asking all the above questions didn’t help. What could I do?
I had two options. I could sit there and wait for something to pop in my mind. That could take a while. OR, I could walk away. Even though I wanted to write but couldn’t come up with anything. Oftentimes, it worked.
Now, that’s what I do. Not for long, mind you. I do a few stretches and walk around. I might go to the kitchen to refill my glass of water, or maybe walk down to the ‘man cave’ to see what hubby’s watching on TV. Why not start supper listening to the music in the background?
No matter what, though, before I sit at the computer, I love to start with prayer. That’s where my inspiration comes from. He might enlighten me through something I see when I walk past the window. What I hear on the radio, or see on TV? That inspiration might be what I need to go back and pick up where I left off. Until He says something, I stay away.
How do you stop writer’s block? Where do you get your inspiration? Leave a comment below.