Friday, December 4, 2015

A Dry Well of Ideas

I hope you had a blessed Thanksgiving! It’s hard to believe it’s December already, isn’t it? Throughout this busy month of the year, it’s hard to make time to write. I understand why some people take a break; we all need them, so December is a sensible choice.

Sometimes what’s harder (at least for me) is having ideas ready for me when I do get time to sit down and type. We’ve talked before about “writing when you’re not writing”—which means using the blank spaces of time when you’re walking, driving, riding in a car, washing dishes, et cetera, to plan what you’ll write when you next have the opportunity. But sometimes the idea well is so dry that no matter how far you dig, you can’t come up with anything. When that happens, small thought sessions aren’t enough.

Here’s what you could do to dredge up fresh ideas when you’re so stuck no amount of staring at your computer screen or blank sheet of paper or otherwise forcing yourself to think will help.

  • Pray. Every time I’ve been discouragingly stumped and I’ve prayed and rededicated the story to the Lord, the solution came to me. Sometimes in the same moment!
  • Talk to someone. Even if they don’t know exactly what’s going on in your story, mulling over something aloud can turn up fresh ideas. Or something they say could give you the spark you need to keep going.
  • Read an inspiring book. It could be about your subject, or totally different; just whatever you think could get your juices flowing. I find how-to write books creativity inducing.
  • Watch an inspiring movie. Since movies can be such a strong influence, I think the best selections would somehow pertain to your don’t want to get distracted or inspired in the wrong direction!
  • Research. Sometimes you just need to know more about what you’re writing.
  • Write to yourself, explaining your problem. It can be more effective than thinking or speaking because it’s the same action as what you need to be doing. You may even write something you can use for your WIP!
  • Reread parts of your story, or revisit your notes. The answer you’re seeking may be there, and your memory may just need refreshing. That may be all it takes to get you over a mountain.

What have you done to get out of a seemingly hopeless writers’ block?

Kelsey Bryant is an author, blogger, and copy editor who loves the Lord. She revels in many things: the beauty of God's Word, the music of English, the wonder of nature, the joy of creativity, the freedom of motion, the richness of literature, the intrigue of history ... and much more. To learn more about her, visit her website or blog


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