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 is the twice Carnegie-nominated British author of many Young Adult novels, including Green Rising, The Reckless Afterlife of Harriet Stoker and The Loneliest Girl in the Universe. She is a RLF Royal Fellow, freelance editor and screenwriter. Lauren is the founder of the Climate Fiction Writers League, and on the board of the Authors & Illustrators Sustainability Working Group through the Society of Authors. Her books have sold over a hundred thousand copies worldwide and been translated into six languages. The Quiet at the End of the World was shortlisted for the YA Book Prize and STEAM Children’s Book Award. Her other novels include The Next Together series, the dyslexia-friendly novella series The Watchmaker and the Duke and serialised online novel An Unauthorised Fan Treatise. She was born in 1992, and has a Masters degree from the University of Nottingham, where she studied Chemistry and Physics. Lauren is a passionate advocate of STEM further education, and many of her books feature female scientists in prominent roles. She sold the rights to her first novel when she was 21, whilst she was still at university. 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. Lauren lives in the West Midlands and is an Arts Council grant recipient. She has written articles for numerous publications, including the Guardian, Buzzfeed, Den of Geek, The Toast, and the Children’s Writers and Artist’s Yearbook 2022. She has taught creative writing for Coventry University, WriteMentor, and Writing West Midlands.

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