Shi– I mean, writer’s block happens. Truth or myth, there will be times when writers struggle to fill the page. There are a few things I do in order to counter this imagination constipation and, no, I don’t mean doing the laundry.
I’ve been known to:
- Search the internet for weird news items. There are crazy stories out there, just begging to inspire yours. My short story À l’air results from such searches.
- Open a (yet-unread) book and copy out a sentence or passage. Then, keep writing. Another author’s writing can spur me back to my own project. If opening a book at random doesn’t do it for you, you can find an inspiration-spurring sentence on Twitter or FaceBook.
- Eavesdrop on the conversations around me. On public transportation, in an elevator, in a restaurant or a café. I’m hard of hearing, so I don’t always catch everything, but that only helps; I can more easily let my imagination take over if I don’t catch the context. What situations do I impose on the words I hear? What characters introduce themselves? This technique can also work while you are part of the conversation, but your friends will have to be understanding if you suddenly dash off to write something down.
- Keep a dream notebook on my night table. Imagination (and libibo, sure) runs rampant at night. Some plausible scenes and stories can come up in one’s unconscious. It’s worth writing down ASAP in the morning. (The worst thing is not to do so right away, and mourn what one has forgotten. True story.) A few words can suffice. Later, if writer’s block rears its unwelcome head, read your dream notebook to poke at slumbering inspiration. My short story Timothy’s Blanket was inspired by a dream.
These are but a few of my go-to ideas to counter writer’s block. What are yours? Whether they lead to your continuing your current writing or to something new, it doesn’t matter. What’s important is never not to write.