Hello. They call me a lot of things – inspiration, The Muse, vision, revelation. We seem familiar with one another, but we haven’t seen each other for a while. Here are some possible reasons why…
Feeling uninspired? Experiencing a bout of writer’s block? Coming up with an idea after idea is hard, if not impossible. But a shortage of ideas doesn’t mean you can’t write. Here are a few reasons why you might have cut short your creative streak.
… you don’t show up
As is the case with most jobs, you won’t get anything done if you don’t show up at the office. Sure, thinking about writing is still technically working, but pay attention to your writing habits. Are you thinking about it more than you’re actually doing it? Do you buy journals and download a new writing software, but don’t ever write in them? This may be one of the reasons for your ‘writer’s block’.
…you don’t get out enough
Or perhaps, you do sit at your desk, but when the time comes, you have nothing to write about. This might be because you haven’t been experiencing enough. Most stories are inspired by real life, even if you’re writing sci-fi. Events in our day-to-day can inspire setting, characters and plot, themes and dialogue. The next time you find yourself short of ideas, go for a walk, grab a cup of coffee or meet up with a friend in your local pub.
…you put too much pressure on yourself
We all want to be good at what we do, but sometimes our expectations can get in the way of our progress. Adding too much pressure on yourself can kill your creativity. Sometimes you need to write badly and edit later, but what you cannot do is edit a blank page.
…you don’t read enough
I’m going to allow a great writer to support this point.
“Read, read, read. Read everything — trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it.
Then write. If it’s good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out of the window.”
― William Faulkner
If you can here looking for a quick fix, don’t worry! I’ve got your back.
This might not be your preferred method for idea generation, but it will get you on your way. Here are a few of my favourite places to find prompts:
- Penguin Random House Writing Prompts
- Writer’s Digest Writing Prompts
- 50 Creative Writing Prompts|Now Novel
Maybe you can’t come up with an idea because the possibilities are endless. When this becomes an issue, narrow it down by setting up some constraints. You can do this by looking up writing competitions which are often themed, genre-specific or have a limited word count.
- Writing Competition|Creative Writing Ink UK
- Short Story Competitions 2018 – Christopher Fielden
- Themed Writing – Mslexia
- Writing Contests, Competitions and Awards: A list of upcoming events|Almond Press
- Short Story Competitons|Creative Future
All said and done, it’s time for everyone to get back to work. Happy writing!