Beating Writer's Block Using Everyday Experiences

Saturday, June 11, 2011
Okay. I’m going to admit something here. I have been experiencing a slight case of writer's block the last little while, also known as writer's burn out. I’ve got the ideas, I get ready to write then I sit down and….nothing. Zero. Zip. And it frustrates me. Sound familiar? But I don’t give up. I mean, I leave the computer for a bit to re-group but I never give up. You can’t! Writing is what we do and for many of us, including me, it isn’t just something we just enjoy doing; it’s something we need to do.

A great piece of advice I read from a fellow author over at Astraea Press is that we need to write through the writer's block. It doesn’t matter if you’re journaling, scribbling random thoughts on a pad of paper or putting a few paragraphs up on your blog, you need to write through the arid times we all encounter along our writing journey. I know it can be tough. Believe me, as a mom of four kids (two with special needs) that often distract me from my writing, ideas can run thin when I finally get back to the computer. But I always try drawing inspiration from what’s around me. It sounds cheesy but inspiration for writing ideas truly are everywhere.

Here are a few ideas:

· take a walk around your neighborhood

· go to the mall and hang out in the food court (there are some very interesting people and conversations going on!)

· take a bus ride (always interesting people/situations/experiences on the bus!)

· go to the playground with your kids

· listen to the rain and write out the first thing that comes to mind

· review your favorite book or movie

· visit a fellow writer/author’s blog and see what they’re chatting about

· put on your favorite CD and let your mind wander

· take characters from your favorite TV show or movie and see if you can create a new scenario for them

· phone/email a friend and see what’s inspiring them

· read the paper

· look at old photographs

· ask a child to tell you a story

· visit with an older relative or friend who remembers stories of the "good old days"

· go to your local museum or art gallery (I’ve gotten ideas from both places!)

· visit a local garden show, terrarium or botanical garden

· check out local family "hot spots" like amusement parks, the zoo or city park

These ideas just touch the surface. The point is to turn to everyday experiences or people to draw inspiration from. I’ve found always found everyday people doing extraordinary things have inspired me the most in life and in my writing. And be sure to choose activities that tap into as many of the five main senses as possible. The more of our senses that are woken up, the more your creative juices bubble up to the surface.

When your writing well runs dry, fill it back up with the inspiration floating all around you.


Unknown said...

I like to blog about the every day.
So many ideas come from walking in our neigbourhood.
Your list is great!

Rev. Linda said...

Great advice, Chynna! I use walking for inspiration...and gardening. There seems to be something so organic about working in the garden. You can't help but get the creative juices flowing.

Thanks for the reminder!

bigred909 said...

So glad you included riding the bus, one of my favorite tricks! I stick my MP3 player headphones in my ears but leave them off to avoid suspicion and can sketch wonderful characters based on the people and conversations observed during morning and evening rush hour bus rides. Something everyone experiencing a block should try!

Shyxter said...

Great article! Your list could go on and on, makes us realize that we can always find inspiration anywhere, anytime – from the simplest of things to the most complicated ones. As long as you’re sensitive enough of what’s happening around you, you will never run out of things to write about. Writing is about life so we’ll always have a handful to draw inspiration from =).

Krissy Brady, Writer said...

Thank you for the great article! I am a big believer in listening to music when I'm trying to get into the zone and work on my WIP, especially music that has helped to inspire ideas before. It helps to reattach me to what I'm working on.

Juliann Wetz said...

This is great advice. I write a daily blog that forces me to write. It's not always easy! I choose a photo and write about it. Some days it's all I can do to even come up with a caption. But on other days, I'm thrilled and surprised at what comes out when I make myself sit down and write. But now I know to use some of your ideas for inspiration, too.

Chynna said...

Hi everyone! Thanks so much for your comments!!!

@ Patricia: I try doing the same thing and you are SO right about getting ideas from our neighborhood!! =)

@ Linda: I use gardening too! It's so quite, engaging and getting right down there with nature...GREAT idea!! =)

@ bigred: TOO FUNNY! I do the exact same thing!!! LOL!

@ Shyxster: EXACTLY!!! You got it! There is so much to draw from true life!!! =D

@ Krissy: I use music as well. More than I wrote about. In fact, I work music into almost every work I compose. Music is a powerful force and a resource that should be tapped into (...perhaps that would be a GREAT article idea????)

@ Juliann: Photos are a fantastic prompt. Sometimes they trigger happy memories or terrifying or emotional...but they always trigger a powerful memory. GREAT idea!!!

Thanks everyone!!! Keep sharing your ideas!


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