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There is no such thing as “Writer’s Block”…

February 7th, 2012

Bev Morley Collage 1It is a fact that most writers will hit a point in their careers where a little help is required, and one of the most common hold ups is the dreaded “writer’s block”, or, as I prefer to say, an invitation for some fresh inspiration to come knocking.

It is all too easy to start feeling negative about your writing when faced with a lack of fresh ideas, but really, if you think about it, it is a golden opportunity to have a spring clean of the old grey matter, and add a few new (or updated) weapons to your storyline arsenal.

There are several ways to boost the in-flow of useable material. Here are a few to consider;

Read Might sound a little obvious, I know, but reading can be one of the biggest sources of inspiration, and motivation, and should really be a firm fixture on your weekly writing timetable.

As writers, my guess is that you already have a choice of reading options, but just in case you need a little prompt, here are some suggestions!

• Read some of your old writing – you might come across something you can re-work or update.

• Check out Amazon and Smashwords. Both have things you can download for free, in pretty much all formats.

• Newspapers and Magazines, new and old, can be great sources of inspiration.

• Blogs, E-Zines and Writing-related websites are all great places to start in your search for additional material. Writers’ sites are especially good if they have writing competitions – they will usually have winners’ submissions online, which can trigger the seed of an idea or two!

Still on the subject of reading, but moving away from the internet, there must have been books you have read in the past which have left you feeling inspired? Perhaps an article or true story in a magazine jumped off the page as a plot? Many works of fiction have been written as a direct result of a true story catching someone’s attention and developing it into a profitable piece of prose.

Write “But that’s the problem – I can’t!” Yes, actually, you can.

• You can write a shopping list.

• You can write a to-do list.

• You can write a blog post on something you have watched on the TV or read about recently.

• How about writing a review on a book or film?

• Resolutions don’t have to be something just for the New Year – think about your life today and decide what you would like to change.

• Write about writing.

• Hunt for writing competitions or blogs looking for guests to provide posts, and build yourself a list of the ones for which you feel you could provide the perfect piece. Write about what inspired you to become a writer in the first place. Was it a person? A book? A film? What was the first piece of deliberate writing you penned?

• Comment on someone else’s blog post. Apart from it exercising your writing muscles, it could also grow the follower count for your own blog!

Observe – don’t just look at a film, a view or a photograph… Talk yourself through what it is you are seeing.

• Films and TV programs are great for developing ideas. Look for people other than main characters. There are nearly always extras in an important scene. Focus your attention on those rather than on the stars of the show. Who could they be? Why are they there? Could the man sat at the bar be a private detective, or perhaps a husband who has a nagging wife he is avoiding? Perhaps he has murdered the nagging wife, and is finally getting to enjoy a pint in peace.

• Do you have a photograph album you could browse through? Really look at the photographs. See the background as well as the subject. Wedding photos are great for that. Many a photo has been published in a magazine because there are two people arguing in the background, or children fighting over a chair. One of my wedding photos had an adorable family of ducks, mother and six ducklings, nonchalantly waddling across the back of the photograph. I had looked at that album many times over the years, yet I didn’t spot the ducks until some twenty years after the photograph had been taken.

• Google Images is a fantastic source of pictures for inspiration. Search for random topics – babies, dogs, giant rabbits, noses, and make a collage of the pictures you have found, and start to write about what you see. As an example, look at the collage on this page and see what you can come up with?

• Talk to other writers. It doesn’t have to be on the phone or face to face, but can be through one of the vast number of writers’ forums available online.

• Join a writing group. There are groups all over the world which are always more than happy to see a new face. There are also a number of online writers’ groups, my personal favourite being run by a Writers Bureau studentAmanda John. Her group can be found on Facebook under Creative Writing Support. It is a great place to chat with like-minded people, and get help with all things writing related when you need it.

There are many more ways of finding inspiration. Treat everything you find works for you as an essential tool in your writer’s toolbox. Finding inspiration is something which, with practise, will eventually come as second nature to you. If you have a blog, share what you do with others, so they too may learn the art of “inspiration-on-demand.”

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