When I found myself holed up at home with my husband and our nine-year-old and twelve-year-old daughters, homeschooling through the COVID-19 Pandemic, simultaneously teaching my 165 students from my laptop, I needed a creative outlet to ease my anxiety.
Having already written a creative writing workbook focusing on older teens and adults last summer, it only seemed fitting for me to write another book geared towards my own children and students’ age group. Engrossed day and night in getting all my preteens and teens through that unsettling era in our lives, I dove headfirst into creating Come Write with Me: POETRY Workbook & Journal (For Tweens & Young Teens).
The result is a standards-based, creative writing book filled with poetic knowledge and practices. This workbook and journal is an ALL-IN-ONE place to pour one’s thoughts and feelings into using prompts, guided practice, fill-in-the-blanks, structured poetry exercises, and more. Only on AMAZON, this softcover book makes a great gift for teachers, students, creative writers, poets, homeschoolers, and friends.
If you’re stopping by to pay a gander to what I’ve got to say about writer’s block, welcome! I recently went through a two-year stint between the last novel I wrote and the recent how-to book on writing poetry, Come Write with Me: POETRY Workbook & Journal (For Teens & Adults), I just published that came about using some unconventional techniques to snap me out of my slump. I hope you get something out of this post that others haven’t offered yet.
First, I’ll start by listing some of the conventional techniques that help during different stages of battling a creative writing struggle. I have practiced these strategies for years and have found them useful during the perils of writing a 100k word count manuscript. They’re catered to keeping going rather than recovering from an episode (like my 2-year bout) of total flat-lining on a third novel that I have everything–I mean outline, character write-ups, synopsis, blurb, research galore, cover, and more–everything for.
I’ve used all of these techniques to prepare to write, as well as during the writing process. They’re tried and true for minor bumps in the road to completing a manuscript.
Tip #1: READ
Read in the genre you are writing.(This is an anti writer’s block tip not a declaration to only read in your genre. You’re trying to jump start a stutter in your current writing project, not grow your writing style, in which I would totally cheer you on to read all the genres.)
Reading what you
write will get your head back in the game by:
~ Refreshing your
memory of what your genre’s expectations are concerning plot points
~ Remind you of the
tone a character’s voice should sound like in your genre
~ Get you out of your
own story in your head long enough to give your brain a deep breath to jump
back in refreshed
Tip # 2: MOVE
Get up, get out, and
What I mean by moving
~ Changing your
physical location from the place you always write
~ If you sit at a desk, wheel your bootie to another room and invest in a TV tray (since lugging a desk might not be as much fun). Try a room with a view, too, or better yet, go outside to write.
~ If you hang out in a
coffee shop, go saturate yourself by osmosis in a library
~ If you kick back in
a recliner (like me), go stand at the kitchen counter (*This one works like a
charm for me when I’m doing a quick edit on something and need all the good
words to come to me in order to tighten and turn up the Technicolor on my style.)
Tip # 3: SPEAK
Tell your story to
~ Speak into an app on
your phone, play it back as many times as you need to in order to pick up where
you left off
~ Tell the story to
yourself then go back and transcribe it
~ Use this strategy to
edit your whole novel when you’re done. I did with one book. Best revision
Tip # 4: WRITE
I know you’re
thinking, uh, that’s the point, I’m not writing, so how can I wr…
~ Research something
you need for your novel and take notes
~ Hand-write a scene;
it stimulates a different part of your brain than typing does and might spawn
~ Add some drawings (even if you’re a stick figure kind of artist) like mapping out a blueprint of a room you were having trouble describing, then start labeling, then add some phrases, and in no time, you’ll be crafting scenes
Listen to music, but
NOT your favorite emotionally charged songs that used to always help you get in
the mood but are somehow letting you down now. You’ve probably already tried
that, and it didn’t change much, which is why you’re Googling writer’s block
tips right now. The following technique broke my writer’s block once and for
~ Go to YouTube and
type in SOLFEGGIO MUSIC FOR CREATIVITY
~ You’ll find a
plethora of some pleasant-sounding and maybe even some annoying musical
configurations that will straight-up mess with your brainwaves and rewire you
to create words.
Whether you’re into mind, body, and soul or not, all things
have a vibration. It’s a scientific fact. Our brains are programmed to respond
to the vibrations (sounds—music) of all things. When you listen to certain
frequencies, you’re brain does a little organized dance. We’re not talking
emotional resonance; however, your emotions can certainly be upended by some
tones. We’re talking about getting your left brain and your right brain to play
ping pong with the help of some headphones and a few songs that you can listen
to before or during the writing process.
(Another blog will be coming soon about how I am using
solfeggio music to manage my anxiety!)
I highly recommend binaural beats and iso tones in the music
you choose, which I find ignites maximum creativity for me. If you’ve never
listened to any solfeggio music before be warned, you might feel like you’re
floating, but you might also feel like you’re on a boat floating on a turbulent
sea. Ease into it, if you need to. This music literally effects your
Some of my favorite
Solfeggio musical pieces that helped me with my writer’s block are:
~ Splendid when I listen before I write—eyes closed,
measured breathing, mindful of my whole story—then I go into silent mode and
I’ll do another post eventually where I make a longer list
and gut out the other tips, focusing specifically on solfeggio music. If you
don’t subscribe to me yet, you’ll find the link at the bottom of the page. In
the meantime, happy hunting on what works for you. Please let me know what else
you find out there that helps get your creative juices flowing. I’d love to try
it! I hope these tips I’ve shared are useful to you, and I wish you all the
best on your journey as a writer.
~Brooke E. Wayne
My Current Works on AMAZON: (My latest, the how-to Poetry writing book, will arrive before Christmas if you order in the next few days! It’s under $10 and makes a great gift for that teen, adult, teacher, homeschooler, or friend you know who loves to write creatively! Or maybe you just want one for yourself. Shh.)
I did a thing–a big thing. I broke a two-year stint of
writer’s block. As a romantic comedy novelist, I had hit a brick wall with my
emotional connection to letting the words flow. Sure, I’d managed to prepare to
write during that gargantuan span of time, but it was all busy work.
With multiple outlines for novels done and a plan in place
to wrap up one series then start two more, I was all set. All my characters
were holding their breath waiting … and waiting. I even had a partial
manuscript—we’re talking 20k words—suspended in limbo like fruit cocktail in a Jell-O
mold. What I just needed was my life to permit me to write unencumbered. I had
endless notes, lines, scenes, even oodles of research done, but the words were
trapped inside me bound by chaos, also known as, severe anxiety.
Writing has always been a balm to my soul, but during this
awful stretch of hell on earth, it was like having someone offer me cheesecake
when I have the stomach flu. I didn’t want to write even though it would be
wonderful. I couldn’t let my lighthearted romantic stories become associated
with the daily stress I was wrestling with due to circumstances in my life that
were (and still are) beyond my control.
I tried all the typical writerly techniques and even some
atypical ones to get back into the groove of writing despite my anxiety (which
I’m still battling), and they helped me just enough for me to heed my friend’s advice
on getting back to the basics with what I know. So, determined to tap into my
teaching skills, I pulled up my big-girl pants, parked my bootie in a hotel
room (long, hot story) and over the summer, I penned a How-To book.
Yes, I smashed my writer’s block with a How-To book. It’s worth repeating twice, because, even as I write this, I can’t believe it. I freaking can’t believe I’m sitting here typing this with yet another publication on Amazon! Is it ironic that I wrote a book about how to write in order to break my writer’s block? I’ll be writing a Part 2 blog on the techniques I used to bring myself to the threshold of writing this new book soon, I promise.
I’m a teacher by trade. I’ve got worksheets galore that I’ve created, as well as a full-blown smarty pants attitude that goes well with writing instructional materials. I crafted Come Write with Me: POETRY Workbook & Journal (For Teens & Adults) Vol 1 like I was sipping coffee and hanging with my invisible student. It was the best two months of anxiety-riddled fun I’d ever had with my imagination. As a result, the workbook is full of chatty ramblings, advice, quips, some of my gushy poetry, and I even loaded it with several QR codes that link to my blog with posts of additional content and exercises. Overall, this workbook & journal is sweet!
It took two months of writing everyday to accomplish this monumental feat in my life. I’m proud of the product. I’m proud of myself. I’ll be writing another blog about the techniques I used to bring me to the point that this workbook spilled out of me freely. It’ll be worth the read if you are or have ever been ‘stuck’ like me. Are you a writer? Does poetry matter to you? Would you like to learn how to write creatively starting with something simple like a poem? Are you a seasoned writer wishing to polish up on some poetic devices that you can tuck neatly into your work? I know the perfect book for you … come write with me.