I personally don’t believe there’s such a thing as writer’s block. When I sit and stare at the blank page, I like to think of it as brain rest! There’s no point sitting there trying to have words magically appear. Instead, it may be best to get up and walk away, just for a bit anyway. Do something else for awhile until enough’s enough and naptime is over!
“But I’m still drawing a blank.”
So let’s shake things up and get back to creating those wonderful stories that we know are resting in there somewhere. Here are some ideas and resources that help me find light again. Maybe a few things that could help start your sparks flickering again too.
I thrive on deadlines, prompts, and contests. Not that I have editor or agent deadlines. I make my own. The ones that I set for myself to keep me accountable to me and my critique partners.
Start here, right where you are. Look outside your window. What do you see? Leaves fluttering to the ground but only one whirls away. Where is it going? An unusual bird at your feeder, not like the others? Mmmm…where did that one come from? How about the kids across the street trying to find their dog who has broken its leash. Is your mind turning this into an exciting adventure? What are you cooking? A family recipe that you could write about, its origin and tradition.
Here’s another way to activate your writing muse again. Members of our critique group post random photos or videos as prompts then we quickly spill out 50 words or less. Just ramble on the page without thinking much about it. Totally different thoughts and words burst from this exercise. Each writer has a different story to tell. Some are lyrical, or family oriented, maybe nonfiction or mysterious. A few might make it to your storyboard!
Here's a site that offers 100 ideas of things to write about.
And this one could be my favorite for grabbing random prompts. Maybe because it’s like a wheel of fortune or a mysterious grab bag.
Round and round and round it spun and this is the prompt it found for me—
You are walking through a forest when one of the trees
starts talking to you. What does it have to say? What
do you do?
My mind takes the nonfiction path with researching trees, forests, production, photosynthesis, maple syrup, deciduous, evergreen…..
Or, you may take another path that leads to a mysterious new world where all the trees talk and you are the alien! That’s kind of an interesting twist, isn’t it? And I certainly wouldn’t have thought of it without the random wheel spin.
CONTESTS AND BLOGS
They’re all about deadlines and themes and prompts and wise advice from professionals. And, often PRIZES!
We’re heading into a new year and that means new story ideas, especially if you start off in January by joining Tara Lazar and her StoryStorm. Presenters will take you on their publication journeys, offer helpful hints, or glimpses of book pages. Your mission is to jot at least one story idea for thirty days. And, who knows, a few of them might explode into new manuscripts! You must be registered, comment on the posts, and then sign a pledge saying you’ve come up with at least thirty story ideas to make you eligible for randomly drawn prizes. That’s it!
Then in February, if you love nonfiction and biographies as much as I do, you may want to join the NFNinjas over at www.nffest.com The blog is full of information and inspiration. The Ninjas describe the NFfest as a “month long crash course in nonfiction.”
Here they are going off on a planning retreat because after the Fest, they hang around for the year offering nonfiction writing tips and advice. Now, I bet you’re full of inspiration and ready to write! Not quite?
Well then, how about going over to spend March with Lynne Marie at www.rateyourstory.org/march-on. It surprises me at how much I can learn by reading other authors’ children’s books. I have a special notebook for this one. I literally “copy, cut, and paste”!
The wonderful, yes, wonderful person/author, Vivian Kirkfield, offers us the 50 Precious Words contest in March. Fifty words don’t seem like many, but try and write a children’s story with a beginning, middle, and end, with a plot in just fifty words!
Then there’s Susanna Leonard Hill, who gives you opportunity to sharpen your pencil and writing skills with Valentiney, Halloweensie, and Holiday contests.
Kaitlyn Leean Sanchez, literary agent, gives you a chance to “create connections and grow as writers” with her Fall Writing Frenzy. Isn’t that what we’re looking for, to grow as writers?
There are so many more sites and authors who can help us get out of that writer's block we thought we were in. Look around, visit their sites, and I'll bet you'll find lots of help to get your muse motoring again! Which ones have I missed? Where are your favorite story igniters?