The focus of this series of tips is primarily directed toward helping novelists and memoirists with overcoming writers block, but some of the ideas can be used for non-fiction and any other form of writing as well. As someone who spends a large portion of my time writing (as a blogger and novelist) I have battled the frustration of overcoming writers block often enough to know how important it is to have tricks for shimmying through the block — over, under, around, in disguise, whatever it takes.
Now, when I really need to be, and set my mind to it, I am quite productive. In 2014, I completed two full-length novels, blogged regularly on this website, started a blog on a second website, and I often write content for clients who hire me to develop their own websites and blogs.
But there are times when all creative people, even the most productive ones, find themselves frozen.
So I’m beginning a series of blog posts in which I will share a few fun tips and tricks that I use myself to overcome writer’s block.
Tip #1) Live with your character 24/7
What I mean by this is… don’t think of your character as someone you only encounter when you are writing. The truth is that on a spiritual level your character is as real as you are, a living, breathing psychic entity, and often an archetype.
If you don’t treat your character as real, she will not come alive for you and tell you her story. So how do you make her real and “live with her 24/7”?
Often, one of the ways I begin is by finding pictures that can represent my character. In my mind, I have an idea of what she looks like, but when I find an image online or in a magazine (the source doesn’t matter), I have a visual image and then she comes alive as a real person even more.
You need to know her name, both first and last name, possibly even her middle initial, and nickname. As you study her image, you will naturally begin to ask questions. Sometimes I do a dialogue with my character in my journal.
In the novel I am currently writing, How to Be a Warrior-Goddess, my main character’s name is Catherine N. Black. Her nickname is Cat. So I will often address her in my journal, saying something like “Speak to me, Cat.” Then I wait. When my hand begins moving across the page, that is Cat speaking to me.
Or sometimes I will write a letter to her, addressing it, “Dear Cat,” and share my deepest thoughts and feelings with her. The more I treat her like a real person, the more alive she becomes, and the more willing she is to open up and tell me her story.
Gradually she becomes me and I become her, so that she is no longer outside of me. I embody her.
While it’s true that Cat is my “imaginary friend,” just remember, as a writer, it’s good to have imaginary friends. Breathe life into them and embody them. This is the magic of creating. If your characters can become living, breathing entities for you, they will become real for your readers as well.