The Idea Mill

As a writer, sometimes I just plain run out of ideas. Call it writers’ block or a dead end or lack of inspiration. It’s no fun. I have a few tricks to generate the idea mill and get my imagination working again. Go ahead and try some of these:

– Read a book. Maybe even one you’ve read years ago.

– Explain your dilemma to someone who doesn’t know much about what it is you do and ask them what they think. You’ll be surprised at what they come up with.

– Think about a significant event from your past and write down one-word descriptions of the emotions you felt.

– What seems impossible, but if it were possible, how would change it things? No limits.

– How would you pursue your goals if you had unlimited resources?

– Visit your local library and spend some time in a section of books or magazines you’ve never read before.

– Read the news online. Especially the stuff way down at the bottom of the page.

– Describe the barriers to your challenges. Then ask some trusted friends/family/coworkers  give you some possible solutions.

– Take yourself out to a coffee shop and order something you’ve never tried before.

– Think of 10 absolutely ridiculous ways to solve your problem.

– Laugh. At nothing.

– What’s the one question you would ask God if He were in the same room with you?

– Look at a list of baby names, pick a few of them, and write descriptions for characters who might have those names.

– Have someone else look over your notes to see if there is perhaps an idea you’ve missed.

– Look into some old notebooks to find ideas that may have seemed silly at the time, but now have some value.

– Get more than one opinion. Maybe even from someone you don’t particularly like.

– Write down the problem down and use the fewest number of words you possibly can.

– Take a walk, relax and observe. People watching provides a wealth of ideas.

Every situation, conversation, problem, or success has potential to produce ideas in abundance. Just open your eyes and look around you.


Filed under Being Creative, Blogging, Writing

2 responses to “The Idea Mill

  1. Chris Jordan

    Wendy – I’ve been busy working on my novel again the past couple of weeks, and one of the things that has really helped me with my inspiration has been to read other books. You are right that sometimes that’s the best way to get the creative juices flowing… thanks for sharing!

    • That’s exactly what I do, Chris! Sometimes I even read a book I’ve read several times before, gleaning out the reasons why I keep going back to it. Lot’s of ideas come out of that. Glad to hear you’re working on Voyagers!

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