We all get stuck sometimes when it comes to writing. It doesn’t matter if you write every day or once a week, there are times when it just gets tough. While I can’t say that I have a cure-all for writer’s block, I do find that these really help when I’m trying to get the creative juices flowing. What makes these really great is that they’re small and don’t take up a lot of time, so they’re easy to work into your weekly schedule. To sweeten the deal, they’re all basically free!
–Write It Down – Record random thoughts and phrases that appeal to you. They don’t have to make sense or necessarily be a part of story. It might just be a string of words that sound good together, and that’s okay. Phones are great for this these days, and I specifically bought a phone with a built in stylus just for this purpose, but I think a small notebook and a pen are also particularly helpful. You may never use the little bits that you write down, but it will encourage your brain to come up with the right phrases when you need them.
–Watch People – The people around you make great characters! Or at least they are the great foundations of characters. Your boss might not actually be hatching evil plots behind his desk, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take certain elements of his personality or appearance and use them in your next story. Pay attention to how people talk and move. Observe two people from across a crowded room, where you can’t hear them, and imagine what they might be saying to each other.
–Read – Everyone says this about writing, but I think there’s a reason for that. Reading is inspiring, educational, and builds vocabulary. If you’re actively reading (which means paying attention to plot and sentence structure, the development of characters, etc.) then you’re learning. You may be discovering what you do or don’t want to do in your own work, but it’s still learning.
–Watch Television – Wait, did I just say that? Sure, why not? How many movies are made from books? Just because it’s on a screen doesn’t mean it can’t be helpful. As with reading, pay attention to plots and dialogue. If there’s a particular scene you like, think about how you would write it to convey the same images you see on the show. Interested in writing in a particular genre? Watch movies and TV that deal with that same subject matter and look for inspiration.
–Go Someplace New – I always feel particularly inspired when I travel, even though that doesn’t happen very often. (I’m very happy at home in my yoga pants, thank you.) But you don’t have to take a trip across the country or around the world to get your writing mojo going. Anyplace you haven’t been to before could give you the start of a new story. It could be a park, a store, or even a back road.
What habits have you formed that help you feel inspired? Let me know in the comments!
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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois. She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University. Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keeping and The Graveside Detective. Her short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Paradox, and Subcutaneous. Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world. You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.
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