Studying a creative writing course can be really demanding and take the fun out of it. The demand for creativity can drain you and it feels like you have no original ideas.
That feeling doesn’t bode well when your university course depends on it. But a creative slump doesn’t last forever.
Studying an English and Creative Writing course for three years meant I had my fair share of creative slumps. Yet, somehow, I managed to get out of them every time. That doesn’t mean they weren’t incredibly frustrating and didn’t take their time. Now I’m on the other side, I’ve got a few tips to help those starting out.
Take a Break
It might seem counter-productive, but stepping back from the project at hand is actually really helpful. Staring at the same bit of white paper will just keep stressing you out, getting you more infuriated and less likely to write anything, let alone anything good.
Go for a walk, make a cup of tea and watch your comfort show, or rant down the phone to your friend. If you have the time, put it away from the night and come back the next day. Time away means a fresh pair of eyes and fresh ideas. The smallest, strangest things can inspire you out of a creative writing slump, but they won’t come if you’re mindlessly watching a blinking cursor.
‘I don’t know what to write…’
Blank screens are very uninspiring, so getting something, anything down on paper, can be the beginning of getting you out of a creative writing slump. One of my lecturers suggested this idea, and it does actually work. Grab a pen, hover over the keys and write ‘I don’t know what to write,’ continually until something pops into your head.
It sounds ridiculous, I know, but more often than not it inspires something original. Even if it’s just the beginnings of an idea or something that really needs fleshing out, it’s the start of something.
Turning to Tumblr
When most people think of Tumblr, they think of a place for fandoms to come together to share edits, stories and photos. But, if you know where to look, it’s a lot more than that. Just search for some writing prompts and countless ideas will pop out.
They might not work exactly for your project, but you’ll definitely stumble upon something that you hadn’t thought of before. Give it a little tweak and hey presto, you’ve got yourself a great idea.
An Alternative You
Deadlines and coursework mean that your day probably hasn’t been that interesting. But what if it had been? A trick that I picked up was to write about your day, but change a couple of decisions you made.
Change where you went, what you said, even something as simple as what you ate. It might not amount to something amazing but it will get you out of that creative writing slump. You can go really wild with it, or keep it realistic. All that matters is that you’re writing something original.