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Forums » RP Discussion » Dealing With Writer's Block (A resource)

Mipps

So, it's been awhile since I did a write up for RP discussion. There are a lot of reasons why I have retracted a bit in the community that I certainly won't go into here.. But I felt this could be useful for everyone as loss of muse and writers block seems to be hitting the entire community.
It has definitely hit me. So, I did a ton of research to try and find ways to pull out of the funk. Ultimately,
I wrote this for a compendium workshop to better RP that I am making for my group. I wanted to open up this section to the full public because it helped me and seemed to help a couple of my friends realize what was blocking them.

DO feel free to comment, add to it, make suggestions or open up a dialogue of how you overcome muse loss and writers block. We are really all in this together and resources are incredibly important to help us grow as writings and conquer these creative blocks. As such, everyone has different perspectives that might resonate with people differently.

Disclaimer: I am not a professional in the medical or psychology field. I cannot possibly know the ins and outs of a player's life and thus this is written without those special considerations; Obviously, there are a lot of things going on in the world that may prevent some of these things, so do use at your discretion. I really recommend doing your own research or seeking professional advice if it is needed.

Dealing With Muse Loss & Writer’s Block
Losing the muse and faceing writers block is a common thing that just kills all ability to RP on a character or in general. It's probably more common that people lose the ability to write for a character before they face the full writer’s block. This generally occurs because: you are not playing the character within the design you worked hard to build; too much ‘bad stuff’ happened to your character in RP you struggle to recover from; your character doesn't fit the group or environment; you forced something that was ‘out of character’ of them to say or do; the intention of rp with that character never happened; the character isn't very popular, misunderstood or never gets RP - ever; the design had holes or was faulty in certain areas that for some reason every RP gets kicked in the nibbly bits; you legit have just played on this character too long and you need to set them aside and try something different or something more fresh.

These are all very valid reasons to face the loss of muse for a character, in some cases it's so severe the character needs to or ends up being retired; which is always heartbreaking and discouraging. If you are not careful and don't manage this it will spread like a disease and take you over into full and complete writer's blocks. Some last a few days, others have lasted years… with such a diagnosis writers block can be scary but there ARE ways to overcome it; I will warn that some of these might not sound too politically correct but at the end of the day as kind as you want to be, you need to take care of yourself.

Writer’s block: The truth is you CANNOT put your head in the sand to try to ‘wait it out’; this really only works if you are on a creativity drain or overwhelmed. If it lasts for more than a week you have to do something about it. You have to address it in some fashion depending on what your ailment is. This could be your character muse, your writing, lack of good partners, need of better plots, or it could be something completely unrelated like your space, work, stress, emotional wellbeing or world events. You cannot always control what's happening around you… but if you're waiting for your muse to come back, it's not going to without a little work. Lucky for you depending on what it is there are various ways to get back into the swing of things with a little time and effort.

Things You Can Do To Prevent or fix Writer's Block:
  • Rotate your characters once every 1-3 months. As in, set your rps aside, put them on pause or find conclusions and rotate to a different character that's different that excites you and pour all your love into them and after 1-3 months, change to a different character or back to the other. This might seem hard to do at first, but it does bring a freshness back to a character when you take a break from them.
  • Cut back your RP count. If you have more than 5 threads open it can get overwhelming fast especially if you write more then 4 paragraphs per. Sometimes the overwhelm is what gets us. A smaller amount of RP can help even if you have periods of time ‘waiting’ for a reply; in this moment try doing other things like writing for yourself, improving your character profile ect.
  • If you are an alt-lover like me who has 10+ characters, try reducing to 1-3 characters being active at a time. If you are spread across too many different and conflicting personalities they will begin to bleed together. It can be hard to jump from character to character and write in their unique perspective if you are all over the place on ten different styles. This in itself can cause writer's block. Condensing down to just a small few can really help keep you focused.
  • Practice short term-goal writing. I know everyone wants to do ‘long term’ and you still can with ‘short term’ if you think of it more segmented like the acts of a theatre play or a tv show. Write with your partner an episode at a time with a goal in mind and end the rp at the goal. Then take a break (or rotate characters) before you begin the next episode. If you inchworm in segments it can help keep the roleplay more interesting, fresh and focused. It also gives the opportunity to pause at a good point for a while if you need to walk away.
  • Take a break from RP and your computer for 1-7 days and go do something else. Long walks outside, go shopping, go explore your area, connect with friends or family, do some hand crafting or art, play with your pets, drink some wine while cooking something new you've never tried before, do some gardening, watch a movie, binge a show that excites your imagination, play a video game, read a book, pick up a new hobby, take a road trip, go on vacation ect. It never fails, taking time not just away from your RPs but the computer entirely brings a freshness to the mind. Things involving fresh air and bare feet against dirt or grass are incredibly grounding and do more for you then you might realize.
  • Change environments (Laptops and phones only) - sometimes you just need to pick up and go some places else to write, like your living room, a cafe, patio ect. There are so many places now with wifi and with your phone you can create protected hotspots just about anywhere. So why not change some scenery to something new and fresh as it exhilarates the mind. I personally love going to coffee shops to write as its very comfortable for me with my favorite beverages and ‘calm’ yet busy atmosphere; I also did this a lot in college. I can't wait to be able to do this again when our COVID pandemic dies down.
  • Clean and decorate your space. I know it sounds like snake oil, but there is a lot of psychological backing behind how cleaning spaces you are frequently in ‘de clutters’ the mind and emotions. If you are trying to write but feel blocked, maybe it's because you feel suffocated by all the things on your desk or around you: a bad smell, too much dust, stagnant air, sauce solid on your keyboard… so take some time to clean your space, wipe it all down with cleaners, take out the trash, organize a little, open a window and let some fresh air in, use some incense/candles/essential oils/diffusers/scent sprays to freshen up the place after then sit down and see how you feel. Sometimes it's not just your space, sometimes your whole home is in the back of your mind and you just need to chore it up and take care of all of it. Sometimes hanging something on the wall can make the space feel smaller and suffocating or be just what you need to feel more at home. Hang something on bare walls and if you can (as some rentals don't allow), paint the room a color you can stand! Take down things that make the walls feel too cluttered or block… bring natural light into the room (or home in general) a happy space is a happy writer’s space.
  • Even if you are not taking a long break, take frequent breaks. Get a snack, make a refreshing drink, walk around a bit or go for a walk. If you don't want to go out but feel ‘stagnant’ press yourself to go out anyways; I usually never want to leave my home until I am out of my neighborhood, then I suddenly am glad I went out!
  • Write for yourself: That's right, RP with yourself. Sometimes if you want to circle back to ground zero and write something you intended, write a ‘journal entry’ for your character or a full on scene with NPCs or self introspection. It's extremely cathartic and you get to explore your character the way you truly want. Equally so, stop roleplaying other people’s plots and look for people to explore your own. It's ok to say that not everything is interesting. This is incredibly true for me as I enjoy writing dark-horror, so if I am caught up in a slice-of-life, friendly or romance… I get bored and feel stagnant. So, write something you love to write. It may seem difficult at first to get started, but just type it one sentence at a time and see what happens.
  • Build a new character! This doesn't always come easy, usually you need a good concept in your head. But honestly, you can also just pull up a character sheet and just start filling it out by using random generators. You might never actually build the profile or even use the character, but the process can be fun when you free yourself of strict ideas and limitations. Kinda like building a character in a video game like Sims! I did this once just for the fun of it, I made: Geli (Pronounced Jelly) the Satre who was cursed by a terrible(as in bad at spellcraft) witch to be human. Now he wanders the realm playing his lute mostly drunk enjoying human life and tells women that if they sleep with him, his curse will be lifted- Of course the curse changes every time to make himself sound more extravagant, It was a hilarious design I never intended to use (and never did) but was fun to make. I was also able to use him to explore different profile designs I later used in characters I actively roleplay with.
  • Write something completely different! You can swap genre or not, but get yourself out of your head and write a short story about a random person (character) and just see where the paper takes you. Sometimes we get so caught up on ideas or things to add to our current characters/stories; you can explore them in separate ways. So, explore them in some creative writing that has nothing to do with RP or current characters whatsoever!
  • Give your character some extra love. Go dazzle their profile with special BBC code and decoration images. Get a custom template built, commissions some art or even detail out some more information (My ultra character building template helps with this). Explore aspects of your character you haven't thought about yet. Sometimes in doing this you can rekindle a spark into that character.
  • Look through some resources and improve your writing. Sometimes you are doing fine, but you feel like your replies have been shit in both length and content. Sometimes our writing slacks off a bit and you need some new words or ways to express things. You can look up lists of words for writers, and really explore new ways to go about things. Refreshing your writing and exploring new ways to describe things in some light research can be what's needed to vibe with writing again.
  • Start a new plot with -different- conflict when what you are used to. Seek out a nemesis to have confrontation with. Sometimes all you need is an extra dab of spice to livin up the party. If you keep roleplaying the same thing over and over again, of course you are going to feel a loss in muse! The important element in here is to add verity that's different from what you normally do. Maybe you end up not liking it, maybe you suddenly find a new love for a genre you thought you wouldn't like. You won't know for sure until you try it!
  • Swap character types or genres; If you are always playing ordinary humans, try playing a supernatural. Visa versa, if you are always playing a super powerful supernatural, try playing an average human in that same kind of world. I learned the hard way that if your character is overly powerful, has no purpose, no goals, no room to grow and just exists… it's easy to get writers block or feel lost in a roleplay. Sometimes you just need to explore something what it means to be human from either direction with lots of conditions and goals that drive them to do what they do.
  • Write some plot or word prompts. Flesh out some new ideas that are within your characters realm to do. Maybe create some that are NOT within your character to do but create some odd conditions that would make it happen like artifacts, time travel, curse, a disease, war, dreams, a prophecy ect. Alternatively write some word prompts that could inspire plots like "She was afraid of the dark until..." you might find that story you were itching for but didnt know how to express untill now.
  • Stop draining yourself of creativity. If you have too many creative outlets going at the same time (like me) burnout happens. So if you are making templates, drawing/painting art, writing a book, role playing, doing handcrafts and more.. You might actually be draining yourself of your own creativity. Try giving them all a break for a little bit and focus on just one at a time and see if it helps.
  • Take a break from watching the news, listening to the radio or looking at social media. These are real mood killers. Take a break from it for a week or a month and reset. These things can make people feel emotional, angry, fearful and riled up. Its happening to us, it happened to our parents, and it happened to are grandparents and all those before for one reason or another. There will always be something upsetting happening in the world and it's going to be different every year or generation. With so many causes it can be quickly overwhelming and stressful heightening anxiety and depression. As much as you want to help, you cannot control everything in the world. So, give yourself permission to step away from it for a while and focus on your more immediate environment, you may find that its a lot more peaceful then the loud noise of the rest of the world. After a few days your 'fight or flight' may calm down and some creativity will come back to you. You may also find that when you tune back into the world, you will be a little sharper and more focused on ways you can actually help instead of feeling chaotic.
  • Address your sleep, nutrition and mental health. No you don't need an actual issue to consider these, these are things we all need to manage at all times. I was a holistic health practitioner for six years, I taught a lot of people about health management and how it affects their body. Taking care of yourself is important and it will affect your ability to write if you neglect it.
    • Sleep; If you are not getting a full night's rest then you are not going to be cognitive. A full night's rest is a cycle your body needs from when you lay down and when you wake up without an alarm; it can be between 6-9 hours in total but this does not include time you lay awake or feel restless through the night. You should take some time to get an idea of what your body needs and then set a time to lay down so when you wake up you get all the hours you need or close to (include time of laying awake and restlessness) after a couple of days, if you haven't had enough sleep, your mind may begin to feel more clear and your body less drained and fatigued.
    • Nutrition; if you are eating greasy takeout, high sugar, general junk food or drink alcohol regularly you're going to have a hard time with more than writing. This is also true for dieting (especially crash dieting) and quitting certain things cold turkey. With so many different life styles and conditions out there, I cannot recommend anything more then eat healthy home cooked meals, reduce sugar intake, drink plenty of water and remember ‘moderation’ in everything. What does that look like for you? I don't know, everyone is different, with different access, different cultures, different health concerns, vices, doctor notes ect. But asking your doctor, seeing a nutritionist can help get you in the right direction (or google based on your needs!) - I find most people know HOW to eat healthy, it's just about making it tasty, setting aside the time and finding motivation to do it. There are some nutrients your body needs that you don't get from food per say, such as vitamin D! 10 minutes in the sun gives you that daily dose, this is incredibly important where I am, in an mostly overcasted area. But you will have a clearer mind to write if your nutrition is in balanced.
    • Mental health is more than just going to a psychologist and getting diagnosed with something. Mental health is also about keeping your brain active and challenged or well rested (see sleep). Workplaces and science say you need a 10 min break from your computer screen every hour as well; this is true for at home with fun things too. Mental health is also about having balance in your life. Are you satisfied with work? Are you doing good in school? Are you working towards goals and dreams? Is where you live comfortable? Do you have good relationships with your family or friends? Is your love life satisfied? If any one thing in your life is offset it can cause anxiety and/or depression which will lead to a funk. Most writers don't prosper in the funk… but you can get some of the mental fog out through things like journaling. Seriously, open up a writing program and start writing about the things going on that are bothering you or the things not going on you miss! Let your emotions pour onto the page. Even if you can't do anything about it right now, getting what's festering in your head out can really help people feel better. Sometimes, writing about RP frustrations can help too if this is where your mental block is at.
    • Exercise! Look, I know its not for everyone and people have health issues ect that prevent them… but our bodies are literally designed to move. For example, our lymphatic system (our body’s sewer system) does not move unless we do through contraction of muscles and blood flow that simply does not occur unless you give up and move around. If your body feels stagnant, you feel stagnant. There are a lot of ways to exercise and it doesn't all have to involve your heart pounding, some of them are just fun physical activities: get up and walk around your home, you can ride a bike, take a walk, run/jog, play a sport, rock climb, surf, paddleboard, swim, lift weights, do yoga, go to one of those zumba classes, walk the dog, go for a relaxing scenic hike, play at the beach, walk a museum ect. Not all exercise is done through “working out” , any form of physical play or wandering counts to activity on your feet getting those literal juices flowing. Even if you can't do a lot of walking or running, you can do things like kayaking where you are sitting but ‘rowing’ which counts too! Honestly I feel stagnant a lot in ideas, but then I got walk the dog or go for a run and suddenly the ideas come pouring in!

Are you still struggling to write something? Distracted easily?
Close all your computer screen windows, mute your chats, turn on some music without lyrics that ‘vibe’ with the mood you want to set or the character (maybe even start with their theme songs) and just blast it for a few songs. Focus on the RP or just your writing program and start typing. Do not stop to check your phone, or chat, do not google images for reply decor.. Do not do anything but focus on writing until it's done. It's easy to get distracted… so get your head in the right zone instead of just staring at your screen! Music is a great tool for this. I have a playlist of epic classical soundtrack music from movies, shows and video games I play when im looking to vibe. Sometimes you just need to make yourself a snack, a drink and put on headphones to drown out the world. This is pretty effective for me, and if you have not tried it yet.. Give it a go.


Here are some extra links for helping overcome writer’s block that support the points above!
LakotaSiouxWarrior

Thanks for sharing this❤👍. I take hiatuses more often now. Real life is more important than online life. I relax reenergize rejuvenate with my husband and we take walks with my german shepherd. Thanks again for these helpful tips.
Mipps Topic Starter

LakotaSiouxWarrior wrote:
Thanks for sharing this❤👍. I take hiatuses more often now. Real life is more important than online life. I relax reenergize rejuvenate with my husband and we take walks with my german shepherd. Thanks again for these helpful tips.

Real life is definitely more important! I hope these help more people as much as they helped me.
Thank you, Mipps! Many of us are indeed struggling, and it's very generous of you to share your research and thought on this.

As someone having gone through a writer's block of several months which also led to a major character purge (yep, killed them' all, after saving their profiles of course :D), I can attest that sometimes the inspiration isn't there to meet us, until we actually decide to get writing, with or without the muse. Then, lo and behold, we discover that our imagination and creativity haven't failed us after all. They were just there waiting to be tapped into when we mustered enough motivation for it.

My own two cents: focus on something you are grateful for, and try to write about that, maybe 2-3 para. or a short story. Or, just think about it for a while, and then gift a small piece of that something to one of your characters, and imagine them reacting to that gift. <3
This seems like it'd be a handy pin or a good thing to have converted into a Help page.
Mipps Topic Starter

DorianM wrote:
My own two cents: focus on something you are grateful for, and try to write about that, maybe 2-3 para. or a short story. Or, just think about it for a while, and then gift a small piece of that something to one of your characters, and imagine them reacting to that gift. <3

I think that is a wonderful addition! Its kinda like writing a prompt in a way. But I would think of it more as an exercise in getting into the swing of a character. Really it's brilliant and it showcases how forum games might help writers block too.
Zelphyr wrote:
This seems like it'd be a handy pin or a good thing to have converted into a Help page.
If it would help people, I certainly wouldn't mind but i would not be so ambitious.

//I say that as I am writing a compendium lol//

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