Writing is a wonderful exercise in imagination. It allows you to find new ways to look at the world. As a writer you get to live in the “What if?” What if the princess saved the prince? What if a bomb created instead of destroyed? What if people fell in hate instead of in love? The lists go on and on and on… Basically it is infinite and brilliant and fun. The only problem is when the ideas run out. The never-ending spring is suddenly suffering a drought. All you have are the “What is…” The “What if?” is gone. So what do you do when that happens? Here’s a list to help you when the ideas run dry and the blank white page is taunting you!
1. Walk away
“Sit down to write what you have thought, and not to think about what you shall write.”
Get away from the terrifying page and go for a walk. The moment you feel like you don’t need to is usually the moment you really should just go. Breathe some fresh air. Be around people. Sit in a coffee shop and observe. Wander around a free gallery or meet a friend for lunch. Clear your head, look and question. You’ll be surprised how much it’ll help!
2. Visit your local library
“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”
― Stephen King
Read, read and read more. Read good stories and bad ones. Read outside your comfort zone. If all you read is fantasy, try some contemporary romance. Thrillers your thing? Go for a bit of YA! Reading helps you see what other writers are doing. It helps you to see what works and what doesn’t. Mostly it just opens your mind to all the
stories out there.
3. Try something new
“In order to write about life first you must live it.”
― Ernest Hemingway
Take a dance class. Try a new language. Cook something you’ve never tried before. Listen to a new band. Take yourself out of the comfort zone and do something new! It’ll recharge your creativity like nothing else.
4. Free writes
Free writes involve setting yourself a time limit (if you’re really struggling try a five minute one to start off and increase as the ideas come) and just write. Don’t think about it. Just let your pen move. Sometimes you can use a writing prompt and follow on from it. You can also just empty your brain. The best thing about free writes is there is no pressure and a time limit. It focuses your mind with a short burst of creativity. The best thing about creativity is it breeds more. Once you’ve started again, it’ll keep going again.
5. Inciting incidents
“The most beautiful things are those that madness prompts and reason writes.”
Watch the news. Read a newspaper. Find exciting, weird, crazy, true things that have happened and use them as a starting point for your character. Make it the inciting incident that you start from.
If none of these help and you’re still struggling, or if you want to focus more, we also have courses running designed to get the ideas flowing: