Camp NaNoWriMo is an exciting time, but it can feel a bit intimidating to tackle a creative project head-on. Today, NaNoWriMo participant Jarrick DeWaine Exum offers some helpful tips for those of us struggling with writer’s block:
People seem to think that we writers are always
endowed with the gift of creating something out of a simple idea. And many readers
seem to think that it always come naturally, that the author must be blessed with the talent, right?
Now that we’re in mid-July, some of you writers out there may have discovered that it’s not so easy as it seemed when you started that project of yours (whether it’s editing a
recent piece that you took a break from or starting something new).
Oh sure, one moment you’re flying high and putting down every single idea
that forms in your mind. From the get-go, you never want the flow of
ideas to end. And then… you hit the wall.
The dreaded wall of writer’s block.
Sadly, people, you will not be alone. All writers go through the phase of not
finding the right idea at times, even yours truly. Sometimes, it’s only for a day or
two. Sometimes, it takes weeks to overcome. All the same, we all go through that
dreaded dry spell. But fear not, writer! There are some ways to find that inner
spark to get over that nasty slump so that you can get back to business. In fact,
there are simple tasks you can do every single day!
Here are some of the many ways
to beat the block:
Take a walk.
It’s the ultimate cure-all. Plus you’ll make sure that you’re
getting your exercise in. Self-care for the body is important, after all.
Listen to music.
Grab your earphones or speaker and turn up the music loud. Although, if you’re in a public place like a library, best to keep it to yourself.
Do some housework.
It works for me at times, whether washing some
clothes, sweeping, vacuuming, dusting, etc. Not only will you be doing something completely different, but a clean workspace may help you find your ideas more easily.
Do yard work.
Ditto: hedge-trimming, lawn mowing, weed-pulling,
Take a spa day.
Or a mini-spa day if you’re on a budget. Nothing beats a
shower or a soak in the tub to clear the mind and the body.
Run some errands.
Handle some bills, shop for groceries, etc. Get rid of some of the niggling things in the back of your mind that take up brain space when you’re trying to write.
Take a day to catch up on some shows.
Watching what other people have created can help boost your own creativity. Just don’t overdo it. You’re a writer, after all.
Focus on your main job.
If you, like many of us, have a career that’s not just writing, devote some time to your main job. Focusing on something else for a while may remind you why you love to write.
The list can go on and on, but the most important thing to remember is that
you’re not superhuman.
Everyone has a dry spell at times when working on a
project. And even when it seems like you can’t go on any further and you want to
give up, remember to take it one chapter (or paragraph) at a time, and one day at a
time. That’s all you can do, at this point.
So, what are you going to do to beat the wall? Sing? Dance to some crazy
song that’s stuck in your head? Sniff a candle? Visit your loved ones and friends?
Treat yourself to a dinner or a movie? The possibilities are endless. Take time for
And then, get back into the game of writing. We’re artists in the literary
sense of the word, after all!
Bitten by the literary bug at age twelve, Jarrick DeWaine Exum never fully
took writing seriously until 2012 when he self-published his first poetry collection
“Sonata City” through Amazon KDP. Six years later, he began working on “A
Nerd among Heroes,” the first book of his superhero teen fiction series. “After
that, for his first NaNoWriMo debut, he published the sequel “Nerd of Fire, Rebel
of Ice.” He lives in a small town near Macon, Georgia where he is planning to
work on book three of the series for NaNoWriMo #2 in November.
You can find Jarrick through Facebook (Jarrick DeWaine Exum), Twitter
(Jarrick_Exum) or Instagram (iamtherealjarrickexum) and Tumblr
(jarrickdexum1991). He also has a WordPress weblog regarding his superhero