Most writers have a few tricks for dealing with writer’s block. Unless a solution requires sitting down and doing some writing, it doesn’t work. The only real solution for writer’s block is to start writing. Anything will do, but journaling is one of the easiest solutions.
Journaling into writing
The basic idea behind journaling is to just get writing anything. Even if you just spend an hour writing garbage or the same sentence over and over, you’ve killed inertia.
This is stream of consciousness writing. You can wander through all kinds of topics, some related to your writing and others not. Just sitting at the keyboard and typing away can put you into a writing mood so you can abandon the journal. Sometimes that doesn’t happen. There’s another way to get some useful writing done on days like this.
Journaling into article writing
This is a more useful type of journaling. Write about the subjects you wish you were writing as articles or for your book. Since there’s no script and no expected audience, you can write anything. Contradict yourself. Wander off topic. Ramble on about things you know wouldn’t sell.
Once you are free from the invisible audience that exists when you are writing something you intend to publish, a freedom comes into your writing that lets you write more. Out of the ink shedding can come the start of some good articles or chapters.
Journaling into short stories
I find the most effective way for me to break writer’s block is writing fiction that nobody is going to see. Whatever mood I’m in is probably not a writing mood or I’d be writing whatever projects I have on the go. Writing fiction is a way to imagine some entertaining reality instead of working on writing.
Pick a character or story to match your mood and make up a story. The great thing about short stories is you don’t need to plan much, or at all for that matter. Writing it in your journal makes it even less important to follow a plan. You can wander from topic to topic and place to place. Talking about rambling seems to be making this a ramble. Maybe an example will help.
Jeb didn’t mean to kill the monkey dog boy, but just scare him. Someone had switch the ammo in his shotgun to from rock salt to buckshot. He hid in the bushes to see if anyone would come to see what the noise was. Took a pull from his pint. And waiting is boring. He hid in the bushes and nursed his pint for 20 minutes before deciding nobody was going to come check out the shot. He went over to the body. The guy was dead all right. But, it wasn’t a teenager. It was Ranger McFuddyduddy. “Damn! Someone gonna know where he at. I gotta git him outta here now”, he said to the trees. Now Jeb wasn’t any weakling, except when it came to alcohol. He’d worked the farm since he was old enough to walk and then the hamster factory after went to work in the logging mill after farming went bad. He hoisted the ranger up onto his back and trudged bac. He grabbed the ranger by the back of his collar and dragged him over to the helicopter.
Well, you get the idea. Even if nothing like a short story comes out of the effort, it’s practice at writing first drafts. You don’t need to correct anything. If you don’t like a sentence or idea, type something else, just like any first draft writing.
My own journaling used to look mostly like technical writing until I realized I could take it somewhere useful with these tricks. Now my journal warm up first thing in the morning often results in a new article.
Article by Ivan Izo.