Can’t seem to get into that creative groove? Or find that writing wave that puts you on a roll? These weird yet cool tricks often work to help me kickstart my creative brain and get my fingers moving.
1. Write Standing Up!
For some reason, this works wonders for me. Breaking away from the desk and creating a temporary writing, setting / space somehow creates immediacy for me and forces me to (literally) write on my toes!
And the rule – you can’t sit down until you’ve achieved a set goal. Finished a chapter. Reached 1,000 words. Completed a new scene.
2. Inspirational Images
I’ve tried dozens of writing prompts to get my creative juices flowing. Ones in books, ones online. Sometimes they work, often they don’t.
Instead of trying to crack open your creativity with something dull like, “Describe your first memory”, find an image that is actually INSPIRING. Do an online search and see what grabs you. If you find a picture (or photo) that you can see a story in, start writing. Tell the story behind the picture.
For me, empty images of nature (oceans, forests) always seem to work. As do pictures of outer space or paintings of seemingly lonely figures. I love Van Gogh’s sketches, and also black-and-white photos, like these by Sally Mann.
3. Don’t Write At All
Force yourself NOT to write. This shouldn’t be too hard if you’re blocked, anyway. Instead, force yourself to do something else related to your story: Map out a potential plot, develop a character arc, work out your ending.
Ever tried to read a book and instead of focusing on the words, you find your brain constantly meanders away, filling itself with its own thoughts and ideas for another story you’re working on? Reading other books and stories can be incredibly freeing in this way. It doesn’t work all the time for me, but if I’m creatively stagnated, opening my mind up to another story can help unhinge those obstacles.
5. Imagine Yourself In An Interview
Yes, it might make you appear crazy. But who cares?
Imagine yourself as a published author, giving an interview. Pretend there’s an interviewer there and they’re asking you questions about your story. What’s it about? What makes us fall in love with the main character? What is the story trying to tell us? What were the narrative techniques that you used?
Talking through your responses can assist in figuring out those niggly problems and it can also urge you to pitch your own story, helping you really understand what it’s about and what you’re trying to achieve.
6. Abandon It
The power of reverse psychology is ridiculous.
Pretend that you’re working with a Publisher (or some other figure of authority) and they’re forcing you to abandon your story or project. This means throwing it in the bin and working on it no more.
What happens? Can’t let it go? Find that some sort of creativity is still brewing in that story? Probably!
It works for me. As soon as I say goodbye, my brain immediately wants to work on it. Go figure.
7. It’s All In the News
They say you should draw inspiration from real life. If you’re still stuck, turn to the news and find a story that grabs or moves you. It can be about anything at all.
Next: Write a 1,000-word narrative about someone in that story. You can either choose a person mentioned in the article – or make up a character who you imagine is there. The story can take on any point of view you like, and it can be in any style of voice.
I wrote a short story like this once – based on a news item about a mother who had died trying to save her two sons from a rip. I wrote the story from the point of view of one of the sons and the aftermath and guilt that he faced.
The trick is to not think too hard about it – just write!
Have you got an awesomely weird writing trick that works to inspire your creativity? Share it below!
(images courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net / iosphere)