We’ve all experienced the dreaded writer’s block. That time when no words flow. We know the words are still there. It’s just our access is blocked for some reason. And we all have our tricks to keep that from happening. I sure do.
- Don’t finish a chapter or a scene so you have a place to start.
- Re-write the last paragraph as a starting point.
- Don’t write all you know about the story so have something to begin with.
Those are all great. I use them but sometimes I just go blank. I’ll take a walk or do something else which I know other writers do. Nice as the trail might be, that doesn’t always work. At that point, I know I need something more off the wall and I use my “go to” for getting me started. It’s the equivalent of going to a coffee shop and picking someone to write their back-story. Only it’s completely outside my comfort zone of what I write and am inspired by.
I use a Gothic Art book I found at a discount book store. The pages are loaded with fun graphic images. Some are gruesome and gory – but they are all interesting and make me think. Or at least shift my thought process into a different place. I can always come up with a “what if” question to get me started.
There’s a wonderful picture of a woman in a slip type dress with fishnet stockings – and her face is a wolf type creature with a mane like a lion. One picture is a girl with 6 eyes, two of which are crying and the others aren’t. I wonder if her emotions are tied to different eyes or if they are all seeing different things and reacting differently. Neither has been used yet – but I can imagine all kinds of story possibilities. A third is presented as a photograph of a whole group of skeletons, in their funeral black suits, standing around a casket with a dead person inside, entitled “Family Reunion.” It makes me smile and ideas flow.
This type of artwork isn’t anything I am normally drawn to but it’s so different it takes me out of my head and into my zone of creativity. I find that I can always write a short story or scene using something in this book of artwork. Afterwards, I am ready to write on the piece where I was stuck.
What about you? Do you have something a little (or a lot) non-tradition to kick start your writing process?