When I was a kid I loved to make up stories, what kid doesn’t right? Then I started writing them down, and I never stopped. I’ve mainly only done short stories, and songs, but I have always wanted something more. I am currently working on my first novel, and the process is painstaking- to be honest. I have it all in my head so clearly, but as I get more and more pages down, I can’t seem to get it down on paper like I want it, move the story how I feel is necessary, or sometimes I just don’t feel the inspiration to write at all. Plain and simple.
In other words- I’ve been stuck on the same paragraph for about two weeks. So I am desperate. I WILL finish this novel, this year.
So, in hopes of a breakthrough, I have read probably 100 different articles on writing technique, practice, scene structure, ect. lately. Most of those articles said something to the affect of, “Stop overthinking, go somewhere and just write.” And I totally agree with that, but if you are me, or somewhat “A-Type” at all, you will probably have a hard time shutting that part of your brain off.
Mentioned in one of the many articles that I devoured, was a software called, Write or Die. I had no idea what it was really, so I did the obvious. Google. If you aren’t familiar with Write or Die, I will save you a Google search. It is a program that basically forces you to write at gun point. Okay, it may not actually threaten your life, but it definitely gives you an incentive to keep going. There are quite a few settings, but the one I found most effective for me was “Consequence Mode”. You are given a time limit, a word count requirement, and a blank page. You can adjust the time and the word count to something that is reasonable for you, but I found that 500 words, in 15 minutes forced me to turn that non-creative, stick in the mud, part of my brain off and just write for my life.
What forces you to actually write within the time parameter, you may ask? First, when you stop typing for a couple of seconds, the entire screen begins to turn pink, then red, then crimson, until you begin typing again. As well as the menacing color change, your computer will start screeching at you until you get back at it. You can also opt to enable features that include; disabling the ability to backspace, disabling the ability to save unless you finish on time, and no backing out once you’ve started.
Personally, I chose to write a snippet of a scene that I have been envisioning for awhile. I know these key scenes for my novel, but I don’t always know exactly how my character is going to get there. I usually have to write the scene some, and then let them decide and see what feels right.
So I wrote my 500 words, and in the nick of time I may add. And they weren’t brilliant. Grammatical errors did abound. But that wall, that is the version of me that has a desk job and bills to pay, came down for a little bit. After that wall was down, I was able to return to my much more friendly word processor, and crank out about 1,000 good words. (Not that I won’t keep what I wrote, and tuck it away for tweaking and reworking later.) So if anything I have said sounds familiar to you, if you just need to get outside of yourself and write, this is an awesome tool. You can try it with limited options for free, but I am definitely going to be purchasing the full version very soon. After all, I do have a book to write.
I would love to hear how you get over writer’s block, and if there are any helpful tools that you have found. Thanks for reading!