Recently, I had a bout of writer’s block. It didn’t last horribly long, but as any writer who has been through it will tell you, any amount of time spent struggling to write can be extremely frustrating. Yeah, yeah. I know. What does this have to do with inspiration? I’m glad you asked. Or, more to the point, I’m glad I pretended that you asked. I thought I would talk a little about the lack of inspiration.
Why? Because I like to do things differently, but also because it is something that we all deal with at some point in our writing career. Every writer has a day when they sit down at their desk and stare at the blank page, the computer screen, the tablet and think, “Oh, god! What am I going to write?” Well, I’ll tell you. Anything.
There can be a lot of reasons that inspiration goes missing for a while. It is important in times like these not to lose sight of the smaller goal as we strive for the larger. In this case, we aren’t trying to complete the project. We are looking for inspiration, so that we can get writing again.
How do we do this? We get back to the basics. An artist may spend 5-10 minutes drawing quick sketches to get their creative juices going. We, as writers, can do the same. They don’t have to be good, or interesting. We don’t need to keep them around, or show them to anyone. We need to write them.
So, to that end, here are my 10 ideas for jump-starting your brain.
- Describe a photo. What happened just before it? Just after?
- Draw a picture. It doesn’t matter if you are an artist or not. Draw something you see. Remember we don’t need to show this to anyone.
- Describe yourself without using the pronoun I.
- Write down 10 questions about your project.
- Describe your writing area using only adjectives.
- Look up the lyrics to a favorite song. Try to write the story it tells.
- Describe what you ate for your last meal.
- Take a favorite story and change the ending. Happily ever after? Not any more. (Insert maniacal laugh here)
- Create a list of your favorite heroes from film, TV, or literature and describe them. If you’re not into the hero thing, make a list of villains.
- Change your perspective. If you write at home, go to a coffee shop or library. If you write inside, go outside. If you write via computer, try writing on a notepad, or vice-versa. Try writing while in a closet or under a bed. Remember: you never know when inspiration will strike.
Most importantly, keep writing. Don’t worry about what comes out. Ten minutes of writing today could lead to that brilliant story tomorrow. Happy writing!
Adam has traveled to six continents, performed on Broadway, and lived on a communal farm. He firmly believes that opening a book is a good thing, even if there are monkeys in it. Adam currently lives in the suburbs of Philadelphia, PA, with his wife and two sons. In his spare time, Adam does a bit of writing. His writing spans multiple styles, from poetry to fiction to nonfiction, and is primarily geared towards children. Adam’s first book, Warning: Do Not Open This Book!, is available now anywhere books are sold. View the book trailer here.