I have done my share of staring at the blank page, unable to write the very story I know I have inside me.
I have found some techniques to help and thought I’d share on my blog:
1. Don’t panic: Easier said than done. But worrying is only going to make that creative block, stronger. When I’m struggling, I put everything aside. I close my eyes and try to return to when I had the idea. Then I just write the idea. General idea.
Then I take a walk. I don’t dwell on the piece but rather, just let my mind noodle around the edges of the problem. It’s amazing what comes up. Take a nice warm shower: It’s absolutely magical how ideas will come to me when I’m in the shower.
2. Carry paper and pen always: I never know when the creative answer will appear, so I make sure I have paper and pen available AT ALL TIMES. Believe me when I say that I won’t even be thinking about my project as I’m in the supermarket, when it suddenly comes to me.
3. Work out of order: OMG – this is a project savior. When I have an idea for a story or a script, I start out writing scenes or notes that come to mind. Sometimes it’s just character notes. Sometimes a scene comes to mind. If I’m trying to plot out a full script, I break it down into a beat sheet and fill in what I think. A lot of time there are big gaps. But gaps can be filled in later. And the important part is that I’M WRITING – AND THERE IS NO MORE BLANK PAGE.
4. Research: When I’m stuck, I do some research…on whatever may possibly apply to this piece. If it’s a story from my own life, I may look at old photographs. Sometimes that helps me to remember and capture what I’m looking for. If it’s fictional, I try and research the setting for the story. Or more about the subject. Or look for an actor that could play my character. All these add up to little clues to spark my imagination and then I write.
5. Write every day: This is vital for me. I write every day. Could just be notes. Could be a part of a story. Could be plot beat sheets. But I write every day.