We all know the feeling. That evil cursor blinking on a blank page, mocking you. It dares you to be brilliant, to let those creative juices flow. The more you stare at the abyss of the white screen, the more your mind hears the subtle ringing of writer’s block between your ears. When deadlines are looming and the pressure is mounting, descriptive sentences, alliterative phrases, even basic words can seem trapped in a far off land.
When the ideas just ain’t flowin,’ here are three easy ways to get those creative juices goin’.
- Write About Anything Else
Google “writer prompts” and pick something completely random. Anything. Let it trigger your imagination. Then, write for fifteen minutes straight. You don’t even have to use perfect grammar. No judgement allowed. Nix edits and revisions, or limit them at the very least. This isn’t about being perfect. It’s just you and your keyboard (or pen and paper, quill, or whatever writing utensils you use that leave you most inspired). Allow your creativity to flow to remind you that, yes, indeed, you can be a freaking creative genius at times.
Some writer’s prompts can give too much detail: full descriptions of where your character is going, and the problems he or she is facing. I prefer short prompts that are only a few words, like “jiggly gobstoppers take over” or “the fire started in the bathroom.” Here are 148 great writer’s prompts I’ve found to help you on your creative quest. I personally thrive more from sentence starters or complete ideas, rather than random words you have to string together to form your idea. That feels like work. “Work” is not what we’re looking to do when we need to ignite a little inventiveness into our writing
- Visual Triggers
Stimulate your imagination with imagery. Google “paintings” in image search, and write on whatever image comes up first, or whatever one best sparks your creativity as you scroll. Tell a story around the image you choose. Create a world of complete right braininess. You can use this to inspire your project as well. If you’re trapped by the devilish details of character development, do an image search using the qualities of the character you’re writing about, such as “beautiful manipulative babe painting” or “sad little boy painting.” It’s better to use “painting” so you don’t get bogged down in stock images, headshots, or celebrity photos.
My personal favorite visual triggers are surrealist paintings. Dali. Magritte. Some whacked out contemporary art installation. Trying to create a story around these images, takes your mind into a completely imaginative world of sci-fi and wonder. They force your talent to stretch.
- Writer’s Group
If you’re not under the pressure of a deadline, research a few writer’s groups or start one of your own with fellow creatives. You don’t even have to choose only friends who are “professional writers.” Your writer’s group can easily be friends who can’t draw and need an originative outlet to express themselves.
My writer’s group has a great range of women from professional writers, to moms who need adult creative time away from kids. In our group, we only have one rule: D.B.A.A. (Don’t Be an Asshole). No nasty criticisms or harsh judgements allowed. Feedback is based on enhancing and expanding the content and not rooted in any political, sociological, spiritual differences or disagreements with the content itself. We write for the love of writing. We use the group to increase our confidence and pride in sharing our creations, reading our work aloud, and trusting each other that the feedback we receive will be constructive. Personally, my writer’s group rocks. And, yours’ can too! If you’re stuck in a writer’s rut, there’s nothing like surrounding yourself with fellow creatives to lift you out and give you the confidence to tackle the next page.
Remember, you don’t have to face the blank page and blinking cursor alone.