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Ten Unique Ways to Unblock Writer's Block
Writer’s block, or the temporary inability to come up with words or ideas, is a common issue for every writer. Even famous authors suffer from a bout of writer’s block every now and then. It can be frustrating, to say the least. However, there are ways to combat writer’s block and unleash your imagination. Here are ten unique ways to unblock writer’s block.
No, not the kind of meditation that requires you to sit on the floor with legs crossed and chant. This type of meditation is simple. Find a quiet place where you can fully relax, is comfortable, and distraction-free. For me, it is the bedroom on the bed (yes, I fall asleep occasionally, but that’s okay). Laying quietly and not “trying” to think of anything is a great way to let your mind explore freely without trying to push it. When your mind is clear and in a state of relaxation the words and/or ideas will flow naturally. It works. Try it.
Grab some popcorn, pull up a seat and watch a good movie. When I find that I need an idea or some great words to use, the television is often a great source for offering ideas and words. Don’t forget to have a pen and notebook handy for notes.
The daily news programs are also great for generating ideas with a wide array of topics covering all the news stations each and every day. There’s always interesting topics that can be re-written with focus on a different angle of the subject.
Chat With Someone
Conversations are a great way to power-up some article ideas. People talk about all sorts of topics at random times. Often those small chats with your sister or mother can generate some great ideas.
I engage in conversation with my sister on a regular basis. It never ceases to amaze me how many writing ideas I come up with just by having delightful, meaningful (and sometimes not so meaningful) conversations with her. We talk about everything and usually by the time we hang up the phone (usually hours later) I have some useful writing topics to get started on.
Everyone has a question about something in life. Find the answer and you might just find your next story. What do you want to know about? What questions do you have? Think about it. There might be some great articles or even a book in there under all those natural questions that we all have. The same people that you chat with, ask them questions too. Why do they feel that way? What are their goals in life? There’s tons of questions that can be asked based on their words and the topic they are speaking of. Pay attention.
Go to Church
Attending church not only allows you to pray for guidance in your writing, it can also lead to some great ideas. Preachers speak of many different topics each Sunday that deal with people and lives, morals and sins, and so much more. Churches are always in the forefront of community news too. Of course, if you don’t normally attend church I would not recommend this method just to get writing ideas (that seems sinful to me).
Take a Drive
Gas prices are slowly rising back up but still low enough that taking an afternoon drive can still be financially bearable. Checking out the scenery and people-watching can generate a slew of new and original ideas to write about. Take a ride in the country and relax your mind while you observe the people and the places. By the time you get home you should have a fairly long list of possible writing ideas. Some you will keep while others you will trash.That's okay. Good ideas and bad ideas - it doesn't matter. You're simply looking for a start to unblock your writer's block.
Take a vacation
Getting out of town, even for just a day, can help create ideas. New surroundings, new faces, and a clear, relaxed mind can help generate enough ideas to keep you busy for quite a while. Be sure to take a notebook or tablet with you and write down what you see, what you hear, what you smell, etc. Somewhere along the way you are sure to come up with an amazing article or book idea.
Any reading is a great way to find topics to write about, but re-reading what you’ve already wrote can often prompt new ideas or new angles. Find a writing piece that you wrote a while back (go as far back as you can) and look for fresh new approaches to the original content.
Over twenty years ago I wrote a weekly column for my local newspaper. I saved all of the published articles and find they are a great source of topic ideas even after all these years. Sometimes revisiting an issue from the past makes for a great story.
Not a completely unique idea. Writers have been using free-writing and brainstorming techniques since the 1950’s when Alex Osborne introduced it. But it is still one of the most effective ways of finding ideas and training your mind to write. I use it with almost every piece I write, if I get stuck, and often times, when starting a new novel, I free-write the entire plot. Even some of the characters in my books were born from free-writing.
When free-writing or brainstorming, the idea is to write without judging, editing or stopping until a set amount of time has passed. When using pen and paper, one’s pen must not leave the paper during the free-writing process. The same goes for typing. Keep your fingers on the keyboard. It doesn’t matter what you write, if the words are spelled correctly, or if it even makes sense. Set a timer (5-10 minutes) and write anything and everything that pops in your head. Nobody but you will ever read it so, go ahead, write what comes to mind - freely.
Searching the web for ideas is not unique but it is the number one source, usually, for finding information. Seeing what’s trending and finding out what everyone is talking about can easily be found by a simple Google, Yahoo!, or BING search. Just ask, “what’s trending?”, and one of these search engines will let you know the latest most talk about topics and search trends. Sometimes I try all three search engines when I’m searching for a topic to write about.
Don't Let Writer's Block Be a Part of Your Life
Writer’s block does not have to be a part of your writing life. There are always topics, interests, and subjects that can be written with a different slant. Use your imagination and have fun with it.
I Want to Hear From You!
If you have an interesting way to combat writer’s block I’d love to hear it. Please leave a comment and share with us.