As an author who has had a few things published, I get asked lots of questions, and being someone who was once asking lots of questions myself, I try my very best to answer each and every one. Problem is, I still feel like I have no authority to do so. I love writing, truly, its my happy place, but who am I to offer advise when I still feel like I'm blagging it? (don't tell my publisher though).
I still don't know what an adjective is, and when a reader tell me about a wonderful metaphor I have spun, 9 times out of 10, I'm not entirely sure what they mean.
It often leaves me wondering, how am I writing when I know so much less than most about writing, and the only answer I can come up with, is I don't seem to get writers block. The words just, come. Realising this, I think I might be able to offer my first piece of advice on writing that doesn't feel fraudulent. So, here we go: My 3 top tips to beat writers block. Are you ready? (deep breath Darren!)
1. YOUR FIRST DRAFT, OR ANY DRAFT, DOES NOT HAVE TO BE PERFECT
This might be slightly controversial, but I don't believe perfection exists. Not in the arts. We can strive for it, we should strive for it, but it doesn't exist. we might come close, but, its never a set thing, its fluid, always moving and unable to hold. So, get the idea of you WIP being perfect out of your head. It won't be, and thats ok. I have many things from my first books which I know I would do differently, and I apply that learning to my next thing, again, trying to find perfection, knowing it won't, but I do know i'll still be trying when I'm 106 and seeing on my slippers. If something isn't working, keep going, write on, get to the end, and once there, you can fix things. Don't get it right, get it written!
2. Apply the 'What If'.
Your working on a chapter, or a scene, and you get stuck. You know what you want to try and do, but the words don't come. Don't try and force it, but instead allow yourself to see it from a different perspective. Apply the What if. You could ask, what if another character walked into scene, or what if this scene was being told through someone else's point of view. There are a million what if's and therefore a million different ways to continue writing and get around the problem. You might not use any of it, I have a folder with around 300,000 unused words. Some say my 300,000 words have been wasted, I disagree, I many not have used them, but I have managed to finish the story I've wanted to tell because of them.
Now, on to number 3. This is the best piece of advice I will probably ever give in my entire life. Probably?
3 . Finish the session mid sentence.
It's such a small thing, but when I discovered this, it completely changed things for me. Specifically that moment when I sit down and open my laptop. I used to dread it, wondering how I would get into the zone, (i know you all know that feeling.). Sometimes I would stare at the screen for an hour and produce nothing, or give up and jump on twitter. Then, one day, I was so pissed off, I closed my laptop mid sentence, and the very next time i opened it, (when i got over myself), i read from where I had my tantrum, and then I had to finish the thought. I discovered I zoned straight back into the right headspace because I had to finish that one small line. Try it, it was a game changer for me.
Thats it's, my three tips. don't try to be perfect, if stuck ask what if and finish mid sen...
(See what I did there?)
I hope this helps, I really do. Next week, i'll be blogging some exciting news, so i'll see you there.
Happy writing, happy reading.