I have already written a series of articles about writer’s block: root causes and solutions, why you should avoid freewriting, if writing a lot daily is sustainable and why you should work on more than one novel at once. Today, I will introduce to you another technique, which will help you write even in times when you have nothing to say.
In general: should you force yourself to write when you have nothing to say?
Obviously – no. We should try to avoid trading quality for quantity. When you feel you can’t write, the most logical step to take is to start refueling. Read two short books in one evening, if you have to. Browse the internet for articles. Research what you were interested in.
However – if you have a deadline that you must meet (like NaNoWriMo or publishing contract!), and/or refueling doesn’t work the way it should – don’t fall in despair. There is a way to write even though you feel you have nothing to say.
Because in fact, it’s just a feeling. There is always something to say.
How do I know it? Because even though you can’t write, you probably still talk to other people. If you have something to stay when you talk, then you probably have something to write – you are just unaware of it.
So here is what you should do:
- Write a list of things that you have something to say about AND would like to talk about.
Why is it so important to want to talk about this? Cause you may have a lot of things to say about, let’s say, your major, but you may not necessarily want to talk about it right now. And this is the situation we will try to avoid at every cost.
Try to make it as long as possible. I would recommend 10 topics at least. And after you are done,
- Write a list of things that interest you in the current moment.
A good idea is to take a look at your hobbies and passions outside of writing. If you were locked in a library specializing in non-fiction, which topic would you be most interested in reading? Ask yourself, too: what do you want? Why is it so important? How would it feel to obtain it?
- Reread both lists – would any of the things you mentioned enrich your novel?
It’s highly unlikely you will be able to incorporate everything in the novel you are currently working on. However, you might be able to use some of those things to add to your current story or at least make it more interesting to yourself.
Sometimes you may need to write an auxiliary scene to be able to move on with the plot. Take it into consideration. If the word count jumps later when writing other scenes, you can simply remove the auxiliary one without much resentment.
I hope this helps.