- Books, Literature, and Writing
What Happens When a Writer is Out of Ideas?
When the Light Goes Dim
The Writing Won't Flow
Have you ever tried writing something, short story, novel, research paper, and the words just won't flow? I'm there right now. I'm going to share with you a few ways I use to get my creative juices working.
First, I am working on the third novel in a series. I know my characters well. I need to fill in some things that happened in the time between the last book and this one. It is making me a bit nuts right now.
Here are my suggestions for getting things moving. I'm going to write from my main character's point of view all the things that have transpired. Then I'm going to look at those same things from the other character's points of view. Hopefully, somewhere in all of that things will mesh.
I am also going to walk away for a bit. I have a short story I want to expand into a novel so I'm going to revisit it and see where I can begin making changes. I will be looking at totally different characters in a totally different setting. Then maybe I'll be able to look at the third novel with fresh eyes.
Another thing that has worked in the past is to set a timer for ten minutes and write whatever comes to mind. It may or may not have anything to with my current project, but it could lead to fresh ideas. When finished, I'll put it away for another time. Sometimes these ten minute writes give me the inspiration I need to get back to the task at hand.
Set a deadline. I work best under pressure. So set a deadline for having a set number of pages, words, or chapters written. It's incentive to get busy and not waste time.
Pull out older works you have previously written. Can one be turned into a short story,or a news article? Work on polishing it up and getting something done with it. It might be just the thing to get you back to work on the project at hand.
If you have a novel or two out there, are your followers asking for more? There is another incentive. You don't want to lose your fan base. You need to keep putting more work out there. Make sure that what you are writing is quality work. Polish those stories, eliminate unneeded words.
For me the challenge is to go through my work and take out or find replacements for the word "that." It is a worthless word in moving the story forward. I also have to make sure I am using active voice and not passive. Look at what you are writing. Make each word count. What adjectives do you need and what ones can be replaced? Find synonyms so you are not repeating. For example, you can only say: said so many times before people get bored. Go through and find different words to say the same thing.
If you still cannot get your writing to flow, do something totally different. Walk away from the computer, typewriter, or notebook. Read a book. Read some poetry. Find something out of your normal genre and read it looking at the words the author used. Do any of these words appeal to you?
Try your hand at writing poetry. Haiku, cinquains, free verse, sonnets,even limericks, just for a different exercise. They make you think differently. Sometimes they are just what is needed when the words won't flow.
Whatever you do, don't give up.The piece you are working on will come together. Maybe you just need a different focus.