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Anonymous said: Hello! I used to read a lot (really, a lot), and to start writing a lot of stories. Nowadays, I'm stuck. It became really difficult for me to finish the books I started and I abandoned every story I had in my mind. It makes me really unhappy, because I really need stories in my life, I need my mind to keep active and it's like my head is dry. Can you help me? Thank you so much, really.
Blocks and periods of time where we just fall off the reading and writing wagon happen sometimes. The first key is not to beat yourself up about it. Know that it is natural and sometimes happens for concrete reasons, and sometimes no reason at all.
Getting yourself out of these funks can take some work, but if you’re dedicated to getting things done, you can do it. It sometimes may seem like you’re sucking the joy out of it when you’re just starting to get back into it, but eventually you’ll find your groove again.
For writing, try these suggestions:
- Use writing prompts. Take characters you have in unfinished stories and use the prompts to put them in different scenarios. Don’t worry about writing a complete story, just exercise your brain to get used to your characters again and the story should follow.
- Do some world building exercises. Explore a part of your story you haven’t yet. Write about a different location in your world, or a different character in the same setting who is unrelated to the rest of your characters.
- Set aside fifteen minutes a day to work on a story. No matter how much of a slog it seems at first, just do it. Write. It could all be crap at first, but you’ll soon fall back into the story just by sticking with it, and you can always fix the crap parts in editing. Sometimes you just need to finish something to get you working on stories again.
For reading, try these tips:
- Audiobooks. Sometimes listening to a story rather than reading it can help you get back into things.
- Read in a new place. Find a park or a library or a cafe somewhere new to read. If people noise distracts you, try a library to start or use your headphones and a white noise app or music.
- Set aside fifteen minutes a day to read. Start with short stories and/or an anthology, so you complete stories in 1-2 sittings. Again, sometimes just pushing yourself for a few minutes a day can help get you back into the habit more naturally over time.
Also, in both cases, don’t be afraid to give a story a chance for a few days and move on to something else if it’s not working. Explore something new and different that you wouldn’t usually read or write. Give it a week. Even if you don’t like it, the exercise of it may lead you to new ideas for your current projects or lead you back to the kind of stories you do like reading.
Hope these help!