Good writers know that there comes a point in time when the ideas just seem to stop, at least temporarily. Writer’s block comes and goes. It can be frustrating, but you get over the hump and keep going.
If you find yourself facing writer’s block or just falling into a writing rut, it’s time to give your brain a boost. Books on writing are chock full of exercises to get you going. College professors teach some of these techniques in their classes. Over time I’ve found that a few of these exercises have worked well for me.
While it’s easy to come up with or find others, here’s a list of my own personal favorites. Give them a try next time you’re having a hard time generating new ideas.
1.Fight your own point of view – In both writing and society, there are few things stronger than an opinion. To really give your brain a workout, stand against your own. Pick whatever topic you have a strong opinion on and write a case for the opposite side. You can publish it or you can simply use it to see the world in a different way. Try it on a few different topics and see how much you can expand your thinking by arguing with some of your own long held beliefs.
2.Turn your monitor off – This is one of the best forms of computer free writing I’ve found. Set your cursor on your blank page. Turn off your monitor. Start typing and don’t stop for a set amount of time. It can be 10 minutes, 20 minutes, however long you want to type with no attention paid to grammar, spelling, or punctuation. Type whatever comes to mind. Jump from subject to subject. When you’re done, go back and read what you’ve put on paper. This type of mindless writing has the potential to produce great ideas from your subconscious that you might never have thought of in your regular thought processes.
3.Write with a friend – Grab a notebook and a friend who also loves to write. Take turns each writing a paragraph to a storyline using your own characters. Make it a point to throw in curveballs. See how far you can take your story and how much you can expand your creativity. Doing this in the form of online freestyle role playing works just as well.
4.Dive into the absurd – Some bestselling novels have been based off the silliest of ideas. Don’t be afraid to take a totally “out there” idea and turn it into a serious story or article. It doesn’t have to be true. Satire has a big following in today’s world of writing. Be wild, be crazy. Even if you don’t want an audience, write a piece of work and make it has outrageous as possible. There’s a good chance you’ll get some good ideas from it.
5.Try some lateral thinking puzzles – This one has nothing to do with writing. There are several books on the market and sites on the internet for these types of puzzles. Strange scenarios give the puzzler a chance to find an even stranger solution. They can be done alone, or in a group with several puzzlers asking yes or no questions to try to figure out the answer. Not only will the totally off-beat solutions give your brain a workout trying to figure them out, but the ideas they’ll generate are likely to spark ideas to get you out of whatever writing rut you’ve fallen into.
Even if none of these work for you, I encourage anyone having a hard time generating new thoughts to find something that works for them. By keeping your mind fresh and your creative muse on edge, you’ll never run out of things to write.