Let’s face it. We all hit a wall sometimes. That blank page stares back at us as if it’s going to reveal the words with magic ink, and we just have to find the perfect concoction to get the ink to reveal itself. Unfortunately, it never happens that way. Trust me, I’m sure most authors have tried.
So, what to do when you hit a wall and can’t come up with an idea?
We’ve all heard the standard ideas. Change your scenery, go someplace new. Call up a writing buddy and bounce ideas off each other. Go for a walk, and so many others. I’ve tried them all and most of the time, they work. I’ve been known to figure out plot holes while in the hot tub with Nick Kelly when we’re working on the Urban Samurai series. We’ve scared a few people at a local Louisiana Bistro too. I think they really thought we were plotting human trafficking and soul snatchers. We’ve since decided when need some sort of sign to put out when we’re out at dinner and working on stories. The Urban Fantasy can sound too real if you aren’t listening closely enough and we venture into discussing demons.
Sometimes, I even pick five random words and try to do a writing sprint with them. Every so often one of those will make it into a story or an article. Last week though, I hit a wall with Gaian – the Goddess of Earth. I needed to add a new scene, and it was refusing to cooperate. I tried reading other genres, moving my writing time and space to Starbucks for a few hours. I got too sidetracked people watching. That was procrastination kicking in. My subconscious was fighting tooth and nail about the scene. It was as though I didn’t want to write it, but knew I had to.
Eventually, I got it. Whether it was to sidetrack myself from being on the plane this past weekend, or the fact I was surrounded by 100 other people who were focused on anything but talking to the people around them, I was trapped. I had to write.
But, what about some creative alternatives (skipping the whole let’s not terrify ourselves and retreat into the other realms for self preservation)?
1. Role Playing Games. Nick Kelly introduced me to these after I’d graduated college. Welcome to the realm of Dungeons & Dragons. Why it works? At first, I was skeptical, highly skeptical. Then, I really got into crafting my character, her history, her skills, and her overall personality. I had to stay in her head because I didn’t know what the other characters were going to do. And we’d write. We’d write one on one, or as a group. Mostly by hand in the early days. Now, the group has changed and evolved, we jump online once a month to meet up with friends in Romania and around the US and play via Google Hangouts. They’ve managed to incorporate a D&D app into the actual Hangout. Just goes to show you how many people must be playing some sort of game. I know the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences has an RPG coming out in March 2014. That will be another one to check out.
2. Cosplay/Reenactments – Dressing up in costume? And being out with others doing the same? Yes. It’s a great creative outlet and can help you get into character. Cosplay covers the gamut of the sci-fi and the unusual, while re-enactments are geared toward historical events. I haven’t tried either, but what better way to get into your character’s head than dressing up like them and working on a scene?
3. Photography – I used to post up a photograph, any random one I liked, on Fridays. It was meant to be a memory jogger for writer’s. Here’s a photo, now write about it exercise. We had a lot of fun with it. Some people would even play around in Photoshop to make the image surreal and use it for their more esoteric writings. Search the web, or better yet ask some of your photography friends if they have any great pictures that might help trigger a scene for you. My friend, Kathy Strauss of Imagewerks, always sends me some of the best pictures to play with. I’ve also been good at taking pictures whenever I can. I never know when I’m going to need them to help craft a scene.
With just these few suggestions, I’m sure there are other ideas floating around out there that help to spark your creativity…do share!
Stacia Kelly is a Health Coach, Author, Business Mentor, and she loves helping others find their passion and live it. Visit her website and blog at http://staciakelly.com/