As a writer I know how hard writing can be sometimes. For the longest time, I spent most of my writing time doing work for clients. While lucrative, this kind of work isn’t exactly stimulating. What suffered was my creative writing – the poems and short stories that I love to write. And I won’t even get into the novel and screenplay ideas that I ignored…
So when I finally did get the time to do some of these creative projects, it was hard to switch from writing that was technical t0 writing that wasn’t. The blank screen become a constant killjoy. That’s when I finally realized that I needed to take matters into my own hands and learn how to generate creative writing ideas even when the words were having trouble coming out.
I developed a storehouse of techniques that are all designed to help my brain switch modes and get creative. Some days I need help generating ideas. Other days I have ideas but the words won’t come out. No matter which situation I’m in, one of these things will work for me every time. For you? Just try these tips and over time you’ll start to learn what works for you and what doesn’t.
- Do something else. Believe it or not, removing myself from the computer and either taking a break for fifteen minutes or doing something for a few hours almost always helps. I either go out and do something fun like go to a movie or I do something physical like go to the gym or go for a walk. This always gives my writing a jump start.
- Writing prompts. Another thing that helps is to do writing prompts. My favorite tactic is to write a bunch of words on slips of paper (one word per paper) and put them in a bag. I choose one, then set the timer for 15 minutes and start writing. It could relate to the word, but it doesn’t need to. The word is just there to give me a jump start. The rest of it reads more like a freewrite. On a good freewriting day I finish each session with at least one idea and I’m definitely motivated to write creatively.
- Descriptive writing. I also like spending a few minutes tro hone my descriptive skills. I set the timer for ten or fifteen minutes and then write about what’s going on around me. Here’s an example of what you could write:
Someone is mowing the lawn outside and the mower is making a clanging whirring sound. It must be sick, coughing and sputtering. My cat is meowing – I think he wants food. The dish is empty, I can see it from here but I don’t want to get up. The timer beeps. My keys click on the keyboard.
- Keep a diary. It also helps to keep a daily diary telling about what you did in the day. You can later use it for inspiration. For example, a day filled with wine tasting at local wineries could turn into a story or an article. I also notice that I look forward to this daily writing time and 0ften use it as a warm-up before my writing sessions.
As you can see, there are many things you can do to help generate creative writing ideas. Try these ideas and see if they work. Feel free to adapt them if you need to. That’s what I did. These ideas are not novel, I just tailored them so that I could have a routine that works for me.