There is nothing worse than when you block out a few hours for some uninterrupted writing time and then when you get everything ready to get started, you run into a massive and sudden bout of writer’s block. It’s like, “What the hell, where did all of my ideas go?”
This happens to me sometimes when I want to start a new short story. I get stuck in that horrible place where writers go sometimes where they write a sentence, delete it, write another sentence, delete it, and continue to do that until they die. Or maybe they just call it a day. I guess dying isn’t always the best option.
One way to prevent writer’s block is to beat it before it starts. That means having a plan. If you just say I’m going to go write, you may or may not actually write. If you say “I’m going to go work on Short Story Idea # 3” then you have a much better chance at getting a good 1000 words written for Short Story Idea # 3 before you turn out the lights. I know I keep repeating this, but having a specific goal in mind is so much more effective than a vague “I’m going to go do something” type of goal.
So what is Short Story Idea # 3? Nothing really; just a random number I picked for the example. But this is the challenge I’m going to present to myself, and you writers out there if you’re willing.
I’ll call it the 10 Day Challenge for 10 Ideas.
It’s a really simple concept. Come up with one new idea every day for the next ten days.
Do it like this: Before you write anything else, start with the idea challenge. Pick some appropriate music, shut your eyes, and don’t do anything until you come up with a new idea for a story (or novel, or whatever). It might take 30 seconds; it might take an hour. It doesn’t matter. Just come up with something. When you do have a half-way decent idea, write down a couple of sentences describing it and save it to a file. Then forget about it and go work on something else.
At the end of the ten days, you’ll have a document with ten new story ideas. Read them over and pick the most interesting or most fun one and then sit down and write the thing. If you’re a true nerd, you could even roll 1d10 to decide which story to work on.
To make this strategy ever better, do it the first ten day of every month. Think of the bank of idea you’d have after one year.
What other tricks have worked for helping you generate writing ideas?