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  • Cait Marie

Adventures in Writing: How to Avoid Writer's Block

When I tell people I never struggle with writer’s block, they immediately ask how that’s possible. If in person, this question is usually accompanied by a look of doubt or pure astonishment.

There are so many authors who talk about it being natural—that we all get stuck and should just push through. And I agree to some extent, but I’m here to give alternatives to “just pushing through.”

As always, please remember that everyone has their own ways of writing. What works for me might not work for you. These are just some tricks that have helped me along the way.

“Nothing makes me want to work on my fantasy books more than scrolling through pictures of castles and forests and sword-fighting characters while listening to playlists full of epic movie scores.”

I’m a firm believer in writing when feeling inspired. The words come more naturally, and it doesn’t seem quite like work. For me, one of the most important tools when writing is music. Now, I know many say they need complete quiet to write, and that’s fine. But I’m still going to recommend creating a playlist to go with your book or series. Here’s why…

Music stirs emotions. It influences moods. So, even if you can’t listen to it while writing, you can have it on at other times. Play it in your car on the way to work or while cleaning the house. Blare it while you’re in the shower—because we all know that’s when our best ideas hit.

By listening to the songs you associate with your story, even if you’re not actively thinking about it, your subconscious will be working through some of those issues and places you’re getting stuck.

Another thing I love to do is create a Pinterest board for my book or series. This is especially good for speculative fiction. Nothing makes me want to work on my fantasy books more than scrolling through pictures of castles and forests and sword-fighting characters while listening to playlists full of epic movie scores.

I’m also an artist. I enjoy creating pages in my bullet journal, making book covers and character art, and doing other digital art. So, if I’m feeling unmotivated or stuck, I do something like this (with the playlist on) to take a break. Because yes, I say I don’t get writer’s block, but there are still times when I just don’t want to write.

By working on something else creative, that area of your brain is still processing. You might just figure out that tricky plot twist while painting or knitting!

I’m a firm believer in allowing yourself to step away when needed. Get your mind off of the task at hand. Personally, this is why I like to work on more than one story at a time. If I’m not feeling the fantasy, I can hop over to the lighter contemporary romance.

I’m absolutely a mood writer, and the key for me is to just go with it. Some days, I wake up with this urgent need to write a scene in the fourth book of a series when the first isn’t even done. That’s okay! Unless I have to work, I let myself take the time to write it immediately for two reasons. The first is that I’m afraid I’ll forget the little details playing in my mind—that I’ll lose the specific inspiration. The second is that I know I’ll just keep thinking about it, being distracted from everything else I need to do, until I get it down.

I also let myself skip around in my books. If I’m feeling inspired to write the big finale, I do it. Don’t fight the inspiration. Let yourself break away from the “norm” and write what comes to you when it comes to you.

Want some examples? You can check out the playlist for my upcoming YA dystopian fantasy, Secret Guard, here and the Pinterest board for the whole series here.

Not everything on my playlist or on the Pinterest board is accurate to the story. A lot is added just because it goes with the vibe of the book.

Changing your scenery can also help. Weather permitting, I love to take my laptop outside to write. It’s a nice way to change things up, and the sunshine does wonders for my depression that can sometimes lead to not wanting to write. It also helps because many of my fantasy books are nature oriented.

So, if you’re stuck, I highly recommend trying something new. Sit somewhere else, play some music, or even watch a movie in a similar genre. Get those creative juices flowing, and don’t be afraid to go with it.

Inspiration is all around us. You just have to be willing to look for it sometimes and let it in.
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