It’s just not flowing…Everything feels like it’s been done to death. You’re staring at a completely blank screen, perhaps desperately scanning your office – or wherever it is you’re writing – for something that might spark an idea. What do you do?
First: Chill out…you may be facing a deadline, self imposed or otherwise, but I can guarantee you that stressing out about it is not the way to generate great ideas. As I’ve mentioned several times before, you’d be a lot better off going for a walk and soaking up the atmosphere outside…the sights, sounds and smells of the outside world can spark a memory, or a new thought, that you just have to get down on paper quick-smart.
Is going outside not an option for you? The internet is full of resources for writers who are stuck. Try using a random plot generator, find a site that offers suggested first lines (competitions are also good for this) or sign up for a daily prompt. Go to Wikipedia and click the ‘random article’ link, then challenge yourself to write about whatever comes up.
Still not working? Ask yourself a few ‘what if’ questions. The more outlandish the better.
- ‘What if I (or my character) had been born in another country (or on another planet/in a different century)?’
- ‘What if (any well-known device/appliance/activity) had never been invented?’
- ‘What if a famous event had ended differently?’
Hopefully if you try one or more of these suggestions, eventually you’ll stumble on something that inspires you!