Now that you know what inspiration feels like you also probably know what it feels like to be devoid of ideas. Here are seven ways you can trigger a brainstorm of ideas and overcome your writer’s block.
- The Habitat of Creativity: Immerse yourself where creativity resides. Be inspired by other artists – visit the local art museum, take a walk outdoors, watch smart TV and film, and, my personal favorite, read good writers of all genres.
- Get Moving: One thing that works well for me is to get moving with a bit of physical activity. I find that my increased heart rate and blood flow give me time with my thoughts and I can usually work out a plot point or article introduction during a quick run.
- Spend Time in Your Genre: In addition to reading other writers and bloggers in your area of expertise, set up informational interviews with local experts and friends in your network. Ask them what problems they face, one thing they wish people would know about their work, etc. Whether you write fiction or non-fiction the perspectives and struggles of other people will help you develop the next topic you can write about.
- Happy Hour with Your Network: Invite some friends or family or colleagues you trust out for drinks and ask them to help you brainstorm. Ask them what they want to know about. What topic could be a bridge between your worlds? Tell them what you have so far and give free reign to the ideas – no editing, no condemnation. Naturally, you can invite your crew for coffee, but in my experience a beer or cocktail get the words to flow faster.
- Always Keep a Journal: My bookshelf is cluttered with the mostly empty, leather bound attempts of my keeping a daily journal. I usually only succeed in journaling when I’m traveling, but I do have a dream journal. I have very vivid dreams with epic story lines, character depth, and breathtaking scenery. When I wake up I write down as much as I remember of the visual details, but I really try to focus on the emotion. If I wake up heartbroken and crying, afraid to leave my bedroom, or with a happy and in love feeling that lasts the morning then I know I have something important. I’ve found that capturing the details as soon as possible is important, because, though the emotion may stay with me for days, the characters, scenery, and story of the dream fade quickly.
- Cocktail Party Stories: Memorable personalities of the people you meet, resonant moments in your daily life, inspiring places you visit – all are sketches you can use in your writing. Everyone has one good cocktail party story they tell about their life – put this idea on steroids and find such moments once a day or once a week.
- Random Word Generator: When all else fails to generate a good brainstorm of ideas, one creative writing exercise I’m particularly fond of is the random word generator. Visit the site, pick the number of words you want generated, and challenge yourself to write a short, 350-600 word story connecting those words. Chances are the exercise will trigger more ideas, or, at the very least, you’ll have some more creative writing practice under your belt.