Writer’s block can come on because of stress, outside distractions or a fear of failure, but sometimes it strikes for no obvious reason and always seems to be at the worst possible time. You find yourself staring at a blank page or screen trying to come up with ideas for your latest project, getting more and more frustrated because nothing good enough is spring to mind.
Today I’m sharing my tips for getting your creative juices flowing again. These activities probably won’t result in a big writing epiphany, but they’re designed to get you to play and experiment with ideas, which should put you in a more creative frame of mind.
Get a piece of paper and fold it in half long ways. On one side write a word and on the other side write a word that means the opposite- for example light and dark, rich and poor, happy and sad. Underneath one of the words, write some simple sentences about what the word means to you or how it makes you feel. Then turn it over. Keep the paper folded so you can’t see what’s on the other side. Then do the same for the second word. After that, unfold the paper and read everything line by line from right to left. It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t make sense, but sometimes it turns out to be the start of an interesting poem.
Instead of writing at your desk get outside and surround yourself with nature. Sit down on the grass and write about everything around you-the sights, the smells, the sounds, etc. Get out and do something active like running or swimming and you might find it gives you an energy boost that will enhance your creativity.
Be Inspired by Art and Music
Type a random word such as “peace” or “happiness” into an image search engine or Pinterest and look for interesting pieces of art or photos, then try to describe the artwork in your own words or in the form of a poem. Alternatively, go on a trip to an art gallery or museum with a notepad to write down anything that comes to mind. Listening to music with meaningful lyrics can also be a wonderful way of finding inspiration.
Look at yourself in the mirror and experiment with different facial movements. Scowl like a character scorned. Smile like your biggest dream has just come true. Be sure to notice the different way light reflects in your eyes, the way you’re eyebrows and eyelids move, how your mouth is shaped, the way your tongue and teeth feel in your mouth, how your neck stretches and the way your hair is laying. All of these can spark an astounding inspiration. You could even use makeup or cosplay to get into the role of a character. Then sit down and write something about how you feel as that character.
Reflect on Your Dreams
Record any interesting dreams that you have in a dream journal and then read through them when you’re stuck for ideas. A lot of famous novels were inspired by dreams, including Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Dreams come from your subconscious mind so they are based on archetypes or common images that represent things to many people throughout history. Research the work of Freud and Jung. Try experimenting with common archetypes by twisting them on their head. What if the wise mentor was actually a child? Or they turned out to be a fool who led the hero astray?
Treat Writing Like a Job
The truth is, if you are sitting around waiting for inspiration to strike, you will probably get very little writing done. Sometimes the best method is to make a commitment to sitting down at the same time every day to write for thirty minutes to an hour. You don’t have to work on your WiP-you could do some free writing or journaling about your day. As long as you’re writing something, you’re exercising those creative muscles. Pretty soon, good ideas will follow.
Before you go…
Have you ever suffered from writer’s block? What are your favourite ways to get in touch with your creativity?