“Break Writer’s Block to Reignite Your Creativity”
By Karin Beery
Nothing halts a writer’s creativity like an honest critique. I’ve been writing essays and articles for years, but I’m a newbie in the world of fiction. For almost two years I studied the craft, immersed myself in novels, went to writing conferences, and joined writer’s groups. Even though I know it takes years to get published, I thought I was different. As a full time wife with no kids there was nothing to distract me from pursuing my passion. Surely my accommodating schedule would produce faster results. I assumed that my ability to quickly produce a manuscript meant that I had quickly absorbed all of the information I needed to know.
I decided to “test the waters” and entered my manuscript in a contest for unpublished novelists. I expected above average scores, if not a place in the finals. When I got the results, however, my world crumbled. Not only didn’t I final, I wasn’t even close.
My drastic miscalculation crippled me. I couldn’t read or write anything. Books taunted me, and craft books frustrated me. I couldn’t barely look at a novel, much less open one. I tried to force the words onto the page, but they refused to come. For hours at a time I sat at my computer hoping for inspiration.
Nothing about writing appealed to me. I had critique-induced writer’s block. The stress of it effected every aspect of my life – I barely slept, rarely ate, and despised writing my non-fiction articles. I knew I had to do something, but I didn’t know how to beat the block. Instead, I focused on relieving the stress. That first step led to a series of steps that not only helped me relax, but eventually reignited my creativity.
- Step Back – My brain needed a break. Though I wanted to keep writing, I had to stop. I gave myself permission to turn off my computer and walk away. While it’s important to persevere and not simply wait on “the muse”, it’s also necessary to recognize when you need a break. It’s okay to step back…for a little while.
- Find a Distraction – I wasn’t ready to open a book, but I couldn’t abandon fiction. Instead, I turned to my next great love: movies. I can always turn off my brain and just enjoy a good movie. Figure out what that activity is in your life, whether it’s kayaking a swift river or staring at the clouds, and take some time to let your mind slow down.
- Remove the Mold – Though I was writing romantic comedies, I couldn’t watch them so I absorbed myself in action and mayhem: Iron Man 2, Robin Hood, and The A-Team. Don’t look for inspiration in your distraction, and don’t look for a distraction that will inspire you. Just let yourself relax and enjoy it!
- Day Dream – After some rest and relaxation, my mind was refreshed. It started conjuring up characters and laying out plots. I imagined sequels to other people’s stories and started formatting my own, but I didn’t write anything down. I just let me creativity flow.
- Get Back to Work – Don’t be afraid to walk away, but you have to go back. You can’t finish anything if you never start writing it.
After I’d had some time off, every novel beckoned me to flip back its cover. I saw a craft book and salivated. I couldn’t wait to start writing again.
I’m back on track again. I’m still studying fiction and will start writing soon. There’s always the chance that I’ll face another block, but I’m not worried about it. This time I have a plan, and a stack of DVDs nearby, just in case.
Karin Beery is a wife, sister, daughter, and friend. She’s worked on a ship, at a ski and golf resort, as a staffing specialist, and a substitute teacher. While she treasures her relationships and has enjoyed her work experiences, she felt that something was always missing.
She found it in 2007 when she sat down to write a novel, just to see if she could. Six weeks and 80,000 words later, Karin knew she could write one. The tricky part was getting it published.
Karin researched publishing, writing, agents, and editors, but the more she researched, the more she realized how little she knew. She wanted to learn more, but also wanted to keep writing while she learned.
Enter the Elk Rapids News – a small, weekly newspaper in need of a writer. Karin applied, and they hired her. Two years later she’s enjoying her freelance career as much as she enjoys writing her novels. Whether writing devotionals, how-to articles, or a feature story about a local hero, Karin composes each piece with the care at attention she gives to her novels. She’s realized that she doesn’t love writing just fiction – she loves writing.
Since Karin started freelancing, she’s had over one hundred articles published and has finished three full-length manuscripts. Karin is also an active member of the American Christian Writers’ Association and the American Christian Fictions Writers’ Association. Someday she hopes to modify her websiteto include two sections: Karin The Freelance Writer and Karin The Novelist.
Visit Karin online at www.karinbeery.com