photo by Ales Krivec

We’ve all been there.

We’ve come up with an idea that we love – maybe it’s a character, maybe it’s an aesthetic board, maybe we even have the basic story premise. But plot? I don’t know her.

This happens to me all the time, and it’s my least favorite part of writing. Thankfully as the sun has started to come back in the Midwest I’ve felt more motivated, and my plotters block is starting to disappear.

That said, I still see other writers talking about this.

So here are a few of my tried-and-true methods to get past these hurdles. Some are easy, some aren’t. But these have all worked for me at least once in the past.

Pinterest is Your Best Friend

I love Pinterest. Arguably, creating Pinterest boards is my favorite part of writing.

Browsing through aesthetic pictures or building boards can jog your thinking. You might see that one image that clicks and then you’ve got key plot points.

Personally, my favorite search is something like “[insert almost anything] + Aesthetic” and there’s a ton of pictures out there for you.

It also has a ton of prompts and inspirational quotes that help me a lot with character feeling and development.

Switch Formats

I used to be very anti-handwriting. Mostly because my handwriting is nearly illegible.

It was typing or bust for me… until I got a story idea and had nothing around but a pen and a couple of loose pages.

As I was writing down my ideas I noticed how easily the story was coming to me, and how easy it was to focus on it. I had written down half the plot before I finally stopped writing. Based on past experience, that would have taken me months to come up with, focus on, and type out.

If you can’t help but stare blankly at your laptop or notebook, switch the format. Type, handwrite, or try an audio recording (that one can be a lot of fun). Even switching from my computer to my phone has the same affect sometimes.

Not to mention leaving the electronics behind provides a lot less distractions, if you tend to be a distracted writer.

My favorite notebooks come from Stella Bookish Art on Redbubble if you’re interested. Etsy also has a ton of fun options!

Take a step back

This is so hard!

This is my second-least-favorite piece of advice. Sometimes I just want to write but I can’t because I have no ideas. But as much as I hate it, taking a break works.

If you do take a short break, I’d recommend doing some of these things:

+ Taking a walk or doing pilates. When I start moving and just relax that’s when my ideas really come – and I feel better physically because I’ve gotten moving.

+ Watch \ read something new in the same genre.

+ Switch up your writing playlist \ look for new songs to add to it.

Just Write

Now this is my least favorite method. It’s only ever worked for me once, but since it has worked I included it.

If you have anything – a character, an opening scene, a feeling, a setting – run with it. Write something that might not have anything to do with anything.

Describe a setting and the people who are there. If you have a snippet of conversation in mind, write it down. Drafting doesn’t have to be in chronological order.

What are your favorite ways to get rid of plotters block?

Bonus question: are you more of a pantser or a plotter? I’m a hardcore plotter, though I wasn’t always.

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