Writer’s block is not the boss of you!
Writer’s block is when your mind seizes up and it feels like no ideas are going to come out of it ever again. The characters fall silent. No time passes in the world you’ve created. No new words come to the page. You’re completely dried up.
It’s one of the worst feelings for a writer! But it’s not incurable. You’ll find your ideas again!
The question is, how do you inspire them to come back?
Transcription is an unconventional but very handy tool for writers. It brings abstract and colorful language down to the position of mere words. It captures real life and contains it on the page.
You can use it to your advantage to get out of your own head, to see past the imaginary people and places you’re dealing with, and get back to writing the words that make them real!
How can something so commonplace be so frustrating? (Photo by Angelina Litvin)
Consider how you sound vs. how you read
Most of us have a pretty good idea about how we speak. We know what phrases we use most often, how our accent sounds, etc. But what would we sound like if we were characters in a novel?
Try running your own words through a transcription service. Riff for five minutes on any random topic, then read over the transcription. Are you surprised at how you come across? Would your characters sound any different if they were speaking aloud?
So often, we consider our own words as just abstract ideas in our head. But the truth is that our speech can be captured in paragraphs and punctuation, just like any imaginary character or personality.
By starting with your own voice, you may be able to see past your own language blocks. It’s all about getting back to the business of writing!
“Correct” someone’s words
Most people (especially if they’re fictional) speak imperfectly, but it’s often hard to detect unless their speech is right in front of us.
Instead of writing something fresh, try recording something spoken aloud by you or a friend. Once it is transcribed, read over what you said as if you were a proofreader.
Keep your own emotion or attachment to the words out of it as much as possible. What do these words sound like when separated from the person? How would you change them if you wanted to give the character a different “feel”?
Writer’s block is frustrating, but temporary. (Photo by Kinga Cichewicz)
Recognize the words behind other media
When was the last time you watched a movie with the subtitles turned on? So often we forget about the actual words underlying media and works of art. It all seems to come out of nowhere, or spring straight out of the creator’s mind!
The next time you’re taking in any kind of audio or visual experience, be it a movie, a tour, or even a song, look for the words that accompany it. Read the movie’s script. Get a transcript of the audio tour when you visit a museum. Take in the lyrics of a song as you listen to it.
The words behind art are just as valuable as the art itself. They’re just as much a part of it as any other aspect. Remind yourself of this, and your own words may follow.