What to Write? Overcoming Creative Writer’s Block

by Kayla McKnight

Creating writing is a form of expression; it can ignite our imagination. But what can be done when writer’s block drains the ideas from your head? First, you need to open yourself up to exploration. Next, try new things. Finally, discover your style of writing. These three concepts have helped me both as a writer and to overcome creative writer’s block.

Exploring is the initial step to being original. For me, it allows ideas to spark that I can then use for my writing. When writer’s block invades my head, it spreads like a virus and destroys any bursts of creativity. So what is my strategy to solving this problem? For starters, I tend to browse the Internet for ideas: Facebook, Pinterest, and even random cat videos on YouTube.  If this doesn’t work, I go for a walk and observe the nature and people around me. I make sure to capture any details or sketch possible ideas that spark my interest. For me, this builds a background to my story. Then, as a writer, I like to experience new things to change in my perspective. For example, I read a new book, listen to a new song, or eat something different. These new experiences fuel the ideas in my brain that allow me to add dimensions to any character or plot I think of.

When formulating a protagonist for a story, it is best to understand how his or her personality will develop on  the page. By experimenting, I am able to place myself into the shoes of the person I wish to create. The idea of branching out of my comfort zone gives me the opportunity to become someone else and develop their story through this process. Once I have created my character, I develop the style I want to use to portray my creative piece.

I compare the idea of unearthing my writing style to watching a two minute trailer to a movie: I can’t develop a writing style in one shot, I have to test a few and see for myself which one works for me. After I found my style, I realized I could essentially paint pictures with words. I managed to find similar works that emit the form of writing I wanted to produce. To illustrate, I read poems and short stories where the author creates their scene with the use of describing color and the major senses. This is the way I’ve started to visualize my writing; I have this blank page become a canvas and I use my pen as the paintbrush. I mimic similar styles and use them as a template for my own work. Ultimately, I discover my voice along the way.

After all this exploration, new experiences, and studying of writing styles, I have begun mastering the ultimate goal of creative writing. By unearthing myself, I can learn to create different types of stories. I now understand what I like and I draw inspiration from the world around me. The hardest part of writer’s block is figuring out what to do next. But sometimes after I take the chance to step back, I can uncover my voice again and write with no filter. These techniques help set my imagination on fire, allowing me to burn words through the page and turn the issue of writer’s block into a pile of ash.

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