How to solve ~~writers block~~

Today I am going to talk about some things you can try if you feel like you can’t write.

1) Put your draft on your kindle/print it out, and read it all the way though as a book. Ignore grammar and spelling and just LIVE in your world. Make notes of ideas as you go along.

2) Find some books & films with a similar style to your book, and watch them as a fan. Make notes of the things you LOVE about them & analyse why – why did you choose to write this story? Go back to the roots of your reading self and add more of those things you love to your book

3) Do a deep dive in your characters & write some fanfiction about them. Ignore your plot, ignore your world. Take your characters & just write a scene where they’re hanging out together. Make them fight. Make them kiss. Make them banter. Just get to know them & have fun with it. You might not use the scenes, but keep them at the end of your manuscript anyway. There might be a time in the future where you find a scene they’ll be perfect in. And if not, it will be great for making you ENJOY writing again, if you’re lost.

4) Expand your world. Choose a question from this long list that is somehow tangentially related to your story (e.g. if you’re writing a dystopian where they need to overthrow the government, decide how a political election would work in your world).

5) Make a moodboard or playlist or drawing. Pick out the features you think a future reader will like the most. Add more of them. Try and see your writing from the perspective of your biggest fan.

6) Skip ahead. If you’re stuck, there’s no reason to force yourself to finish a scene before you move on. Write the ones you’ve had in your head that you’re excited to write. Any word count is progress, even if by the time you fill in the gaps it needs rewriting completely

7) Brainstorm new scenes. Don’t try and write them! Just make a list of snippets of dialogue, creepy/funny/tense moments that could bring a scene to life, endearing character traits for side characters, good names.

8) Write something in a different format. If you can’t make progress with prose, write a diary entry, letter, script, social media, text conversation, TV show, fic. It will flex your brain and add something refreshing to the manuscript – it might even give you ideas for new plots

This list has mainly been for MYSELF, because I have to finish this book and I am having the worst time getting my brain in gear. When it’s your job, you have to write even when you don’t want to. These things all help me just DO IT.

Published by Lauren James

Lauren James was born in 1992, and has a Masters degree from the University of Nottingham, UK, where she studied Chemistry and Physics. She is the twice Carnegie-nominated British Young Adult author of The Loneliest Girl in the Universe, The Quiet at the End of the World and The Next Together series, as well as the dyslexia-friendly novella The Starlight Watchmaker and serialised online novel An Unauthorised Fan Treatise. Her upcoming release is The Reckless Afterlife of Harriet Stoker. She started writing during secondary school English classes, because she couldn’t stop thinking about a couple who kept falling in love throughout history. She sold the rights to the novel when she was 21, whilst she was still at university. Her books have sold over fifty thousand copies in the UK alone, and been translated into five languages worldwide. Her writing has been described as ‘gripping romantic sci-fi’ by the Wall Street Journal and ‘a strange, witty, compulsively unpredictable read which blows most of its new YA-suspense brethren out of the water’ by Entertainment Weekly. The Last Beginning was named one of the best LGBT-inclusive works for young adults by the Independent. Lauren is a passionate advocate of STEM further education, and all of her books feature female scientists in prominent roles. The Loneliest Girl in the Universe was inspired by a Physics calculation she was assigned at university. The Quiet at the End of the World considers the legacy and evolution of the human race into the far future. Lauren lives in the West Midlands and is an Arts Council grant recipient.  She has written articles for numerous publications, including the GuardianBuzzfeed, Den of GeekThe Toast, and the Children’s Writers and Artist’s Yearbook 2020. She teaches creative writing for Coventry University, WriteMentor, and Writing West Midlands, providing creative writing courses to children through the Spark Young Writers programme.

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