Sometimes, I think the most difficult part of being a writer is getting the mojo–the get up and go, the inspiration–to actually sit down and write. I don’t know how many times I’ve poured myself a soda, positioned myself nice and comfy, turned on the “mood” music for the next chapter or post, and then found myself simply staring at the screen. Don’t we all have that problem? The worst part is, you then forget what it was that you were doing! You see all the pretty bookmarks you’ve managed to collect over the years and think “Ooh, maybe I’ll just check on so-and-so place, my facebook, my email, this forum…” and before you know it, a couple of hours have passed and you still haven’t written a damn thing.
I still haven’t found that magic bullet to cure writer’s block. Many writers say you need to power through it, write through the block. While that does work, what makes you write the first word on the page? And the second? The third? Admittedly, once I begin, it doesn’t seem so daunting a task. I’ve surprised myself by what I can accomplish within a scant hour or two of writing. That doesn’t stop the blocks from coming.
So, other than powering through, what else do you do? I find taking a step back also helps. (I know, conflicting advice FTW, right? Power through, take a step back.) It helps to move away from the computer and go watch a movie that inspires, listen to music that tells a story, or just plain take a long car drive. I don’t know how many brilliant ideas have popped into my head while driving out to Bakersfield. The drive combined with music is the best inspiration for me. Gives me time to actually listen to the music, rather than use it as mere background filler while I’m writing.
I also find that it helps to keep a notebook near the bed. My ideas love to strike when I’m drifting into sleep–or sometimes my dreams give me ideas that get my mojo running again!
There’s no getting around the fact that there are just days when nothing wants to be written, but don’t waste the time you’re not using to write. Observe what happens around you, ask questions while watching movies or television like “What would have happened if she wasn’t saved at the last second?” Ask yourself what the story might have been like told from a different perspective. Alter the ending of the movie!
So power through, take a step back, get inspired. There are so many stories waiting to be told; you have only to look for them. Decide how you want to tell the story, choose your protagonist carefully. Nobody said a story written in the perspective of the murderer’s cat would be boring.