[Note from Frolic: We are so excited to have author Kate Bromley guest posting on the site today. She has some great advice for anyone dealing with writer’s block. Take it away, Kate!]
Before I wrote my second novel, writer’s block was a distant concept to me. I knew what it was, of course – I even featured it as a driving conflict in my debut novel – but I had never dealt with it personally. My first novel was a fun side project. I wrote when I could, I had no outline, and it was always more of a hobby than actual work. When I was lucky enough to land a two-book deal and then got started on my sophomore novel, I assumed my process would be the same. I mean, if I could write one book without major issue, surely, I could do it again. Right? Right?
Sorry, you can’t hear me, but I’m snickering at my own naiveté.
For anyone who hasn’t experienced writer’s block (you blessed bunch), let me describe it in a bit more detail. Without being too dramatic, writer’s block is a literary zombie apocalypse. Your own creative pit of despair. If writer’s block was your most recent Tinder match, you’d delete the app forever and toss your phone into the nearest body of water. Fine, maybe I’m being a touch dramatic. But the gist is, writer’s block is real, it’s tough, and if you’re a writer, chances are that you are going to encounter it at some point in your career. But before you pack up your laptop and head for the hills, let me reassure you, there is hope! Plenty of it. You can and will get through this, and these are the five steps that helped me along the way:
- Make a game plan. When I tried to write my second novel with zero prep work, I met nothing but dead ends. After three months, I about-faced and outlined like there was no tomorrow. I filled a notebook with character breakdowns, chapter breakdowns, plot webs, research, interviews – you name it, I organized it. I can’t reiterate how much easier it is to follow a path when it’s clearly mapped out. Sure, writing by the seat of your pants is great if you have the time, but if you’re under deadline and love to stress yourself out (hi, that’s me) then meticulous outlines can absolutely become your new best friends.
- Have realistic expectations. If you’re dealing with writer’s block, then it’s likely you’re already feeling borderline morbid. What you then don’t want to do is tell yourself, “Okay, today I’m going to write fifty pages, create gorgeous/thought-provoking content for Bookstagram, and start a blog,” all while dealing with daily responsibilities and drinking enough water. Set goals for yourself that are attainable. Maybe that means writing ten pages and engaging with readers on social media for twenty minutes. Maybe it means you write for a solid hour and then call it a day. What I’m saying is, if you set yourself up for consistent success, you’ll start to see writing as something you want to do, and that can be a gamechanger.
- Be patient. Both with yourself and with the Uber Eats delivery person, because who has time to cook when you’re wandering the cold, dark woods of writer’s block? Writing is hard work, so don’t be too hard on yourself if it takes a week, a month or even longer to find your way out of no man’s land. Try a new approach, write in your journal, clear your mind and remember that no one can tell your story like you can.
- Don’t isolate yourself. Everyone should surround themselves with positive people who lift them up, but this is especially important for writers who are in a creative rut. Firstly, they’ll make you smile and will pull you out of the echo chamber of negativity that’s currently residing in your mind. And secondly, you never know where adventures might lead. If you opt to leave your literary cave long enough for a night out with friends, maybe you’ll find the inspiration you were missing. Some people say writers are professional voyeurs. If that’s the case, then throw on your spy-gear and get to socializing – who knows what stories are waiting.
- Try your best to stay positive. Because if you don’t laugh, you will cry. So much of what we experience is a matter of perception. If you choose to view writer’s block as an unbreakable spell, you might just stay under its wicked curse forever. But, if you decide to see writer’s block as involuntary yet interesting escape-room exercise, the sky’s the limit on what you’ll learn or how you’ll improve your process moving forward.
So, just to recap, don’t lose hope, have the gumption to carry on and above all, go write that book!
About the Author:
KATE BROMLEY lives in New York City with her husband, son, and her somewhat excessive collection of romance novels (It’s not hoarding if it’s books, right?). She was a preschool teacher for seven years and is now focusing full-time on combining her two great passions – writing swoon-worthy love stories and making people laugh. Talk Bookish to Me is her first novel.
Talk Bookish to Me by Kate Bromley, out now!
Inspiration can come from the most unlikely—and inconvenient—sources.
Kara Sullivan’s life is full of love—albeit fictional. As a bestselling romance novelist and influential bookstagrammer, she’s fine with getting her happily-ever-after fix between the covers of a book.
But right now? Not only is Kara’s best friend getting married next week—which means big wedding stress—but the deadline for her next novel is looming, and she hasn’t written a single word. The last thing she needs is for her infuriating first love, Ryan Thompson, to suddenly appear in the wedding party. But Ryan’s unexpected arrival sparks a creative awakening in Kara that inspires the steamy historical romance she desperately needs to deliver.
With her wedding duties intensifying, her deadline getting closer by the second and her bills not paying themselves, Kara knows there’s only one way for her to finish her book and to give her characters the ever-after they deserve. But can she embrace the unlikely, ruggedly handsome muse—who pushes every one of her buttons—to save the wedding, her career and, just maybe, write her own happy ending?