Want to write a bestselling novel? Or maybe you’re more the screenplay type who wants to go straight to Hollywood. Whatever your writing goals are, sometimes the biggest obstacle between them and you is a nasty case of writer’s block. How can you free up your creative juices and write a story worth telling? Here are some ideas to get you started.
Go Wild for Words
Stephen King holds thesauruses (thesauri for you prescriptive Latin-lovers) in disdain, but don’t be afraid to rebel against his viewpoint. Learning new and archaic words can help you think from a different angle; those new words can serve as the seed for your story.
One way to approach this is to find a word you like and write it in the center of a piece of paper. Use word association to create an entire web on that paper; you might be pleasantly surprised at where your thoughts take you.
Foreign language words might also give you a nudge in the right direction. For example, German has a word that refers specifically to the “glad it wasn’t me” attitude that some people take up when something bad happens to someone else. Chinese has a word that literally means “horse horse tiger tiger” and means “so-so.”
Sometimes writers go too deep into the “me zone” and end up isolated. Whether you get in touch with fellow writers online, on campus, or in a local writing group, your peers might be able to give you the boost that you need. Listen to their ideas and contribute your own; you’ll come up with something that neither of you could have concocted on your own. Collaborative writing is a challenge, but the rewards can be beautiful.
Check out some information on Grammarly’s annual collaborative novel, GrammoWriMo, here.
Grammarly is all about helping you to improve your writing, but bad writing also has its benefits. Bad writing isn’t constrained by your inner editor’s madness. When you accept that you’re not at your best, the words flow freely. Sure, you might throw away what you work on, but you’ll have a fresh mindset.
NaNoWriMo is a fantastic opportunity to write poorly. Writing 50,000 words in 30 days is tough, but if you commit yourself to the goal, you’ll end up with something you can take pride in—even if it needs a major rewrite to make it presentable.
There are endless games out there that can stimulate your thinking and get you into story mode. You can participate in interactive creative writing games online, or you can just sit down with some Mad Libs and see what happens. Board games are a good way to get you thinking, too. Games like Scrabble, Quelf, and Cranium will have you thinking about words—and perhaps the world in general—in a different light.
Go to Boot Camp
Writing boot camps are structured events wherein there is designated time to write and be productive. There may also be lectures and other encouragement. Participating in a boot camp can help you become more goal-oriented in your writing. The people you meet at a camp will inspire you to stay focused on improving your storytelling skills.
Veg Out With Media
Steal some ideas! Watch movies and TV shows, dive into a new book, or look at photography and other artwork. Pick out the elements that touch you and adapt them; make them your own in your next project. If you’re really in love with a particular book or show, you might even try your hand at fan fiction just for the fun of it.
Sometimes words might pour out of you like water out of a broken faucet. At other times, you might feel like you need to call a plumber to come unclog the pipes. When the latter happens, use the above tips to find inspiration for your writing and get the ideas flowing. Do you have any special techniques you use to give your storytelling a kick?