Writer’s block is a phenomenon that disables any writer, new or well-seasoned. Whether you’re stuck in the middle of your next novel or you’re just looking for a way to get in the habit of daily writing, here are ten tips to help you get inspired and create something beautiful.
1. Read Famous Quotes
As a writer, there is nothing more thought-provoking than the work of those who came before us. Google famous quotes from your favorite writers, filmmakers, movie stars, politicians, or whoever inspires you. Scroll through pages and pages of one-liners until you find a quote that speaks to you. Use that as a jumping off point and just go!
2. Go People-Watching
There are over seven billion people in the world, each with unique characteristics, personalities, and habits that we could spend years dissecting. Go to a public place, such as a community park on a sunny day, your local McDonald’s, a street-side café (you name it!), and just sit for an hour or two. Take a notebook or computer and observe the bustle of people around you. Pay attention to the small details and make notes on whatever you find interesting. In no time, you can have a new character idea!
3. Ask Ten Friends a Question
Need a new plot point? Ask ten of your friends, family members, colleagues, acquaintances, or even ten strangers a random question. What would you do if a stranger in a Ferrari pulled up and asked you if you wanted a ride? What would you do if you woke up in your bed and found yourself in Thailand? Pick something a little outrageous, maybe even impossible, and take a poll. Sometimes people invent the craziest answers that could get your brain ticking.
4. Visit Writing Prompt Websites
If you’re more of an old-school writer, check out a few of these writing prompt websites! These sites are always a good tool if you just need a topic to prompt your daily writing practice.
Every Monday and Thursday, the Creative Copy Challenge posts ten random words that they challenge you to work into a short story. Post your story in the comments and get your creativity flowing!
Writing Exercises is a site that has numerous random idea generators. In need of a town name? They can produce one. Struggling with that first line? Find intriguing one-liners. Want to stretch your comfort zone? Use their “Take Three Nouns” generator and weave these words into your work.
These writing prompts, complete with images, challenge you to think outside the box to come up with the whale community’s newest hit song or decide what would happen if Pangea occurred all over again.
5. Read Old Journal Entries/Social Media Posts
Not into fiction writing? Spark your memoir by taking a dive into your past. Pull out those old, embarrassing journals or scroll ALL the way to the beginning of your Facebook or Twitter and read through your life. You might find a random line that you forgot about or a situation you remembered wrong and begin to see how your past has shaped your future.
6. Go on an In-Town Adventure!
Whether you live in a small town of eight hundred, a suburban cul-de-sac, or the big city, take a day and just explore. Go to that restaurant you’ve always been curious about, visit off-the-map shops or places, get off the subway at a random stop, or take a drive without your GPS. Who knows where the day will take you, but a good adventure always results in an interesting story.
7. Use the “5 Random Books” Technique
Visit your local library and just browse. Pick up five books from five different genres that looked interesting to you. Sit down and just read them. You don’t have to read every word or look at every page. If it really catches your attention, keep reading! If it’s only vaguely interesting or extremely dull, put it down and pick up the next one. Make a record of the new things you learned and perhaps you’ll discover a topic for your next story.
8. Visit an Art Museum
Whether you’re into art or you couldn’t care less about the world of mixed media, take a trip to your local art museum. Walk around for a few hours and take a look at the sections that interest you. You might find a painting with an inspiring scene; take a minute and jot down some ideas about what is happening and (if this is allowed in the museum) snap a picture or take a note of the artwork. Did you find a modern sculpture that confused you? Then brainstorm what the idea behind it could’ve been or make up your own off-the-wall interpretation. All art, whether confusing or straight-forward, is good inspiration for the creative mind.
9. Sift Through Old Photos
Are you an image person? Find a box of old family photos or go to an antique shop and peruse the photos there. Ask yourself who these people are and what their story is. Do they look happy, sad, or in between? What’s their relationship to the other people in the image? Imagine their life and let it inspire your next writing project.
10. Do Anything, Anything, Anything, Except Staring at a Computer Screen
The worst thing to do when combating writer’s block is to just sit and stare at your computer screen. Not feeling inspired? Then do something creative or active that you enjoy to get your mind working! You never know when inspiration will hit you, but why not heighten the chances by giving yourself every opportunity to be inspired.
All in all, writer’s block is the biggest hindrance to your writing. But, there’s no better way to combat the struggle than to pursue strategies that will help get your brain ticking. Next time you find yourself staring at a blank screen, try out one of these strategies or invent one of your own and your writing will flourish!
Megan Morrison is a blogger for Blooming Twig Books who loves good coffee, Cary Grant films, and thunderstorms. Check out her other pieces about Books That Matter at http://www.bloomingtwig.com/.