I was inspired by one of my lovely readers this week, who asked,
“What do I do if I want to write, but don’t have any ideas?”
My first thought was, You’re not alone, dear friend!
We all get stuck, and we all need fresh ideas to keep our writing practice feeling fun and soulful. I know I do.
So, here are five tips for brewing up some juicy new ideas!
Take some time to explore why you want to write.
Activity: Pull out a big piece of paper and write down all of your whys. Then post it somewhere where you can see it every day to remind yourself why you want to be writing.
Ask yourself, What kind of writing do I want to be doing?
Do you want to write fiction or non-fiction?
Do you want to write poems?
Do you want to write plays or screenplays?
Do you want to write for children?
Do you want to write essays and/or memoir?
Do you want to start a journal?
Do you want to write a family history?
Activity: Take a moment to make a list of all the different kinds of writing you want to do. (Hint: You may say yes to all of these genres, and that’s ok.)
Then, look at the list and circle 1-3 genres that excite you most.
Go for what feels fun and good right now.
So, maybe you circled playwriting, or memoir writing.
What are the next steps you can take to try this new genre out?
I recommend looking up classes at local colleges, community colleges, and writing centers. Classes are a great way to learn more about a genre, and they provide structure, guidance, community, and deadlines (so key).
Speaking of deadlines, I am proud to admit that I am a writer who totally needs boundaries and deadlines!
It’s so helpful, especially when you’re feeling overwhelmed by the idea of starting a writing habit or when you really want to complete a big project, like writing a book, to set limits, boundaries and deadlines.
Some of the ways that I set boundaries in my writing include:
Activity: Take one of the ideas above and implement it in your own writing practice. Then report back in the comments section to tell us how it went!
4. Pick a Theme
It’s pretty much always scary for me to sit down with a blank page, but even scarier when I have NO idea what to write about. So, it helps to pick a theme. You can ask a friend / family member / small child to pick a theme for you, to help you get out of your own head even more 🙂
Activity: Pick a theme, set a timer for 15 minutes, hide your cell phone, and go! Then come back here and show us what you made.
5. Read Fun Stuff and then STEAL From It
You heard me: it’s time to steal, baby.
Seriously, though: what do you enjoy reading? What are some books that you have absolutely, truly, ravenously devoured in your life? Go back and re-read the fun stuff, or ask for recommendations from friends / lib-arians / cute bookstore clerks. Make sure to tell them you want to read something FUN. This isn’t about rattling off names of obscure authors, or participating in the “I’m well-read” club. This is about laughing out loud, getting all misty-eyed from the sheer beauty, and re-reading a page over and over again because it’s so freaking gorgeous.
THEN, I want you to steal from those authors mercilessly.
Activity: Take yourself to your local li-bary or bookstore and pick up a book that you loved as a kid, or ask someone for a recommendation. Then take yourself to a coffeeshop you love, and spend an hour just enjoying the book, and pay attention to the things you love & want to steal from it.
Well, there you have it. I would LOVE to hear back from you after you’ve tried one or all of these tips!
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