If you’re a writer, chances are good that you’ve sat down to write and found yourself jotting down a grocery list rather than an epic scene. It happens to all writers at one time or another. Often referred to as writer’s block, I’ve found it relates more to “writer’s fear” than any true creative block.
Let’s think about it. We spend our lives learning and socially programming ourselves to know the correct answers to academic and life questions. Then, we try to sit down and turn that all off to be creative. The best technique you can implement is to simply write. Write anything creative–not the shopping list. If your scene doesn’t come, write down all the different ideas you can come up with for the next scene.
One of my favorite books for relearning how to brainstorm is Idea Sparking by Michelle Lim. It gets your brain freely thinking again without the confines of expectation. Discover how to turn off the left side of your brain and tap into the endless possibilities without being overwhelmed by them.
You may be stumped because you don’t know your topic well enough. If that’s the case, it’s time to research or find someone to interview. Daily life as a doctor? A rural cop? A business executive? People love sharing their own experiences and insights into professions. Ask around– you’re sure to find someone ready to help you hone your story and bring layers of real-life truths to it.
Go somewhere inspiring. The world has stories to tell and if you take the time to immerse yourself in a physical location, you may find that the stories find you. It doesn’t have to be far. One of my favorite places to go for inspiration is to the horse barn. Maybe for you, it will be a bakery, smelling the warm, yeasty air. Or the sounds of traffic and footsteps on asphalt. A stranger sitting on the park bench.
The final tip? Pray. Rachel Hauck once told me that if God placed the passion to write in my heart, He would also equip me to put those stories to paper. It’s so true– He doesn’t set us up to fail. I think of that often when I hit a hard spot in the creative process and prayer pushes and pulls me through.
Photo credit: Michele Macallister Cook