Every newbie writer wants to know how long-standing writers do it. How they find their ideas. How they overcome writer’s block. Why?
Writer’s block is every writer’s worst nightmare. And it always seems to strike when there’s an important deadline looming. Want to know a secret?
Experienced writers don’t find themselves staring at a blank screen, fingers hovering over the keyboard, tears streaming down their face. Because they don’t wait for the last moment to find inspiration. Instead, they take a few minutes every day to fill up their ‘ideas bank’.
You can find inspiration anywhere. You just have to keep your eyes and ears open. Here are some of my tried-and-tested ways to get your writing ideas flowing again.
Books, movies and magazines
Great writers spend as much time reading publications and watching television as they do writing. Seeing how other writers have created flow, rhythm and voice can inspire you to create your own pieces of work.
Also, push yourself to read topics or genres you normally wouldn’t. And take time out to devour a series on Netflix in one go. Analysing and appreciating character development, dialogue and camera work will help you improve your skills in these areas making the art of writing easier.
Travel and history
Whether you travel to a new country or across the other side of your city, being in a new place has the ability to make you see the world differently. Learning about a new culture or ancient history also forces you to re-evaluate your own values and beliefs.
Reimagining the world and showing the world for what it is, are a writer’s key roles. It’s hard to do this when you’re not being challenged and are comfortable in your surroundings.
Nature and getting outdoors
Most writers spend hours sitting in front of a screen. It sucks. That’s why forcing yourself to get out of your chair and into the sunshine is so important. You can literally walk off your writer’s block as your subconscious will continue to problem solve and link ideas together while you’re enjoying the birds and greenery.
Nature has been known to inspire the most famous of writers, too. Who can say they haven’t been inspired by a sunset, cute puppy or the intricacies of a modern city?
Writing groups and forums
Nothing beats a good chat with someone who gets you and what you do. While writing groups and forums are a great way to stay in touch with fellow writers, they also act as the modern ‘water cooler’ – a space where people come to share tips, ask questions and provide resources.
When you’re stuck for ideas, spend time looking at what topics others are sharing and their reactions. Writing groups and forums can be helpful for finding the next big trends.
Overheard conversations and people watching
There’s nothing more entertaining or inspiring than humanity. Set yourself up in a busy café or train station and spend time watching people. You’ll overhear insightful conversations and see a whirlwind of different outfits and personal styles.
We tend to spend most of our time with people who have similar ways of working, dressing and talking to us. When you place yourself in a common space you are reminded how different and unique we all are.
Mixing up your routine and trying something new
Routines are great for getting work done. But often they stifle creativity. Take a break from your usual to-do list, scheduled meetings and favourite lunch spot. In fact, don’t plan your day at all. Instead, makes things up as you go. You’ll be surprised what interesting opportunities are presented to you when you’re looking for them.
P.S. Collect all your ideas in one central place for easy access. Sorry writers, little scrappy bits of paper and Post-it notes spread throughout your bag and desk drawer don’t count.
This piece was originally written for and is featured on Newsmodo.
Featured image from Pexels.