Don’t you just hate writers block, whether its writing an email, a blog post or the latest chapter in your novel… umm, where was I? Oh yes, here are some ideas to help keep your creativity and the words flowing.
I’m currently trying to write a novel and it’s going very slowly. Every time I sit down in front of my laptop to write the next chapter I scroll down to the bottom of the document and then stare at the flashing cursor, waiting for the words to start flowing across the screen. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen and I end up slamming the laptop closed in frustration.
I have realised I am making it difficult for myself. Here are a few ideas that I have learnt to make things easier that I thought I would share with you.
I have a lot of random thoughts when I am out and about and a lot of these ideas seem really cool at the time, but when I try to remember what that idea was a few hours later there are always bits that I can’t quite remember, or remember incorrectly. That cool idea is now a load of rubbish. An easy way of preventing this is to carry a notepad and pen around with you. This will allow you to write ideas down as soon as you think of them, storing them for use later.
The issue with carrying a notepad, constantly scribbling things down, is that you either look a bit like a policeman or just a bit of a weirdo.
Strangely, in this day and age, it is perfectly acceptable to be constantly staring at your mobile phone when you are out and about. There are lots of notes apps available with some great features, the most useful of these I have found is syncing between devices. There is the aptly named ‘Notes’ app in iPhone, iPad and Apple Macs that allows you to write notes and share them with your other devices. This app also lets you create new notes and title them as you want.
Personally, I am an Android phone and Chromebook user, as well as occasional use of iPad. There is a great app from Google called Google Keep. This app lets you create notes of different types, such as text and lists, and automatically syncs with your Google account, making it device independent.
Another option is one note from Microsoft. There are many apps that are starting to integrate with One Note. Windows users should check this app out. Chances are you have had it for years but never even opened it up. This handy app synchronises using your Microsoft account.
Sometimes its not easy to stop and write down your ideas. An alternative is to use a voice recorder and say your idea out loud. You can use an old-school dictaphone to do this, but again, you are probably already carrying your mobile around with you. Try searching app stores for voice recorder apps and I think you will be surprised how many apps there are. If you are a Windows Phone user then you can make use of Cortana, Microsoft’s personal assistant, that will help you take notes and set reminders.
Why not go the whole hog and buy a smartwatch. These normally have microphones in them, allowing you to speak directly into your phone to make a note, without taking your note out of your pocket.
A general bit of advice again. You might look a bit strange talking to your wrist or saying strange plot lines into your phone.
Create a schedule
This is one that I have found useful in the past, I just have trouble sticking to it. Try and set aside a specific time and place where you can concentrate on your writing. Even if it is half an hour a week, you know that you will be writing at that time, allowing you to prepare and organise your thoughts in your head (or paper and voice memos) so that you can make the most of your writing time.
Creating a schedule gives you something to look forward to for the times you are not able to write (assuming you enjoy writing).
Personally, I would try and concentrate on producing quality writing, rather than worrying about how many words you can write in your writing time. I have previously spent half an hour of my time moving paragraphs around and restructuring my writing and feel that I have accomplished more than if I had spent the time writing new content.
## Being in the right mood
Some people are the complete opposite and find sticking to a schedule more oppressive and pressurising. If this is the case, then try and think about the times that you have been most productive and try and replicate these conditions.
At generate conference last year I saw a talk by Denise Jacobs who pointed out that you are not always in the right mood to be creative. When you get to work you are expected to log in and start being creative, but it doesn’t work like that. There were some great ideas to get you in the right mood for being creative, such as watching comedy and trying to relax. It’s all about brain waves.
I don’t want to make this sound more complicated than it needs to be, so just try and make yourself feel relaxed and comfortable, then chances are you will be in a more creative mood.
Use other people
Well, using is not really what I am trying to say, more like gaining inspiration. I find doing some research online or reading books can help trigger ideas. Your brain works in mysterious ways and sometimes not thinking about what you want to think about allows your brain to work on a problem sub-consciously.
Another good tool is to share some hypothetical ideas with others to see what they think. Bouncing ideas around can help you define an idea, as well as rule out bad ideas. This helps you focus on what you are trying to achieve, as well as preventing you having to delete an unwanted plot line halfway through writing it when you realise it won’t work.
Tagged with writing