Have you ever sat down to write and come up completely blank? Even the best writers have times where they are feeling uninspired. Don’t think that you have to wait until you are feeling creative– writing is an action, not a feeling! If you can’t come up with your next idea, here are a few tips to start the process again.
Have a break. Pushing yourself to the point of stress is the least effective way to get inspired. Save your work, step away and go outside for a while. Putting physical distance between you and your writing helps you refocus – and a few deep breaths of fresh air or some exercise doesn’t hurt either. Get all the way out of your writing place, and you might find that you return in a much better frame of mind.
Look after your physical needs. Sometimes society can glorify the over-worked, exhausted person who lives on coffee and donuts – someone who pushes their physical boundaries to achieve results. If you can’t get creative – do you need sleep? Have you stepped away from your computer today? When did you last eat? We’re talking about real food here. You are not a machine, and that’s a good thing – machines are not known for being creative. Look after basic personal maintenance and the higher thinking will come a lot easier.
Get your mind in order. Sometimes the things that are frustrating your creative efforts are in your own head. If there is something bothering you, consider writing it down and mentally telling yourself that you can come back to it later. You might not know exactly where the stress is coming from – maybe try freewriting, which means putting pen to paper and writing everything that comes into your head without filtering it, no matter how silly it sounds. It takes a while, but often things that are subconsciously affecting your will start to surface.
Get online. When you have addressed the physical and mental issues preventing you from coming up with writing ideas, the best place to find ideas is on the internet. This doesn’t mean that you can steal another person’s ideas (that’s plagiarism!), but it’s certainly the best place to find a wide range of thoughts on different issues that you can draw from to make your own material. Places like Reddit have threads dedicated to writing ideas – they are there to be used, so don’t be shy about borrowing those!
Read the news. Learning about current events is a great way to remind yourself that you have something to say! Whether your writing is strictly creative or informative, there is a lot of great material to draw from in the things that are happening around you. The comments section of online articles is an interesting (and sometimes scary!) place to get alternative views. What are the effects of certain situations likely to be? What would happen if things were different? Answering those types of questions might be what you need to come up with ideas.
Don’t let a temporary lack of inspiration take away your drive to write. You’re in good company – almost every writer experiences that mental block. The difference between successful writers and those who stop writing is that one group pushes through and produces pieces anyway. You will get through those dry patches – just keep going!