Every writer gets in a funk. The moment where moving your story line forward and writing the next chapter suddenly feels like mobilizing a war. Words dry up, dialogue blows away in the wind, and you’re absolutely stuck.
So how can you get out of this funk? How can you battle the writers block, break through the barricade of resistance, and get those fingers revved up once again?
If your imagination-Jeep is stuck in a muddy pit of stickyness, check out these 5 Quick Ways to Get out of a Writers Funk!
1. Play In the Musical Sandbox
Few thing inspire more in life than stories and songs do. So if your story is stuck, why not turn to the power of song? (Maybe it’s just me, but I find that positive lyrics and catchy, upbeat music can flip a funky mood around faster than anything!)
Why not take it one step further than just jamming out with your jute-box? I challenge you to choose a song and try this fun writing exercise! If you’re stuck, take one of the songs below, and create a short story out of it!
You can either use your original, stubborn characters who are currently not cooperating with you, and place them in a different setting entirely, OR you can brainstorm some new characters and see what transpires!
The only rule, is that your writing exercise has to be based off one of the songs in this list! (Which song did you choose? Comment below and let me know!)
(If you choose this one you are my new favorite person! Hahaha…)
2. Take Your Characters out for a Walk
Sometimes, a girl just needs to get out of the house! And so do her characters. If your characters get stubborn and stop talking to each other, maybe it’s time to step outdoors. Walking (rain or shine!) is always refreshing and inspiring.
But why not imagine that your characters are out walking with you? Ask them questions. (In your head, mind you. You don’t want your neighbors to think you’re just walking around talking to thin air. But then again, you are an author…so they probably already know you’re crazy! ;))
Think of some questions, and dig down deeper, getting to know them better, asking them about their goals, dreams, the current situation they’re in, and where they want to be in the future! If you want your characters to feel real to your readers, they have to feel real to you. Here are some fun questions to consider for each character…
-What is your biggest dream?
-Who is your favorite person in the story? (Besides you!)
-What would be the worst thing that could possibly happen to you? (Mwahahaha! Authors, be careful with this one. Remember, killing off characters isn’t nearly as fun for your readers as it is for you.)
-If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
-If you were a breakfast cereal, which one would you be and why?
3. Make Your Rough Draft as Rough as It Gets
Sometimes, you just have to make your rough draft as ROUGH as you can possibly make it! Your first draft is all about getting your raw, initial thoughts down paper. It’s easy to stress about sentence structure, descriptive paragraphs, and snappy dialogue, but if you’re truly stuck, it’s time to go back to scribbling down whatever pops into that lovely little head of yours.
Sometimes, when I’m stalled out on a scene, I close my eyes and imagine I’m standing in the room/field/escape-pod (wherever the setting happens to be) and develop as much information as possible. That’s when the rough draft gets a little crazy. My first drafts, sometimes, look a little something like this…
Ugly red Jeep. Pealing paint. Chipping off like paint on fingernails. Broken headlight. Dull light. Squeaky window wipers. Gripping steering wheel with white knuckles. Irritated. Stressed out. Anxious and trying to push through the mud. GRRR, GO. Junk won’t run.
“Yikes.” You might be thinking, “That’s not even a coherent paragraph! That’s just a bunch of jumbled up thoughts!”
Sometimes, in order to get things moving, you have to quit worrying about your words and focus truly on the elements of the story that you want to capture. I would then move on and write some dialogue. Or even just a rough outline of what I want the dialogue to feel like. Short, rude, arguing couple. Snapping at each other. Crying baby in the back. Major stress scene.
Later, once the engine is running and I’ve got things moving in my mind, I can go back and edit these areas, transforming the rough rough draft into the beautiful masterpiece that it shall someday be!
Remember: your rough draft is as terrible as your book will ever get! Things can only improve from here on out!
4. Pray Over Your Characters
It’s my personal belief that one of the single most powerful things you can do when writing a story, is to pray over it! It might sound silly, but I ask the Lord for direction with each new story. “Lord, what do You desire for this character? What does their future look like? What is his or her weakness, and what areas do you want them to grow? What can I do in the story now, to prepare them for their lives in the future?”
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been stuck, took a break, prayed over the plot then when I come back a few days (or a few weeks) later, I watch in amazement as everything falls into place!
I believe that God wants to be involved with our storytelling! If we invite Him to live, move, breathe and have His way in our stories, I believe He will do just that!
5. Stop. Drop. And Dance Party.
Dance it out.
Turn up the tunes, set down your pen, and dance like nobody’s watching!
As authors, it’s easy to overthink, over-analyze, and think until our brains turn into fried chicken! But we HAVE to take breaks.
Inspiration strikes at the most carefree and enjoyable moments. Not when you’re laboring like one of Snow White’s Seven Dwarfs in a diamond mind. I’m all about “Hi, Ho, Hi, Ho, It’s off to Work We Go!” but every successful author, dreamer, and entrepreneur knows that rest is required to keep going!
So give yourself a break, and do something you enjoy! Be it journaling, playing guitar, or walking on the beach. Give your mind an opportunity to do something entirely different for several hours, and see what happens!
And remember, if all else fails: STOP. DROP. AND DANCE PARTY!
Question: What do you do when you’re stuck in a writers funk? Comment below!