Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Writer’s Block

 Got writer’s block? 
Lost your mojo? 
I hear you.  Minutes pass, which feels like hours and you find yourself staring at a computer screen, fingers frozen on the keyboard.  Or you find yourself staring at a blank piece of paper, pen tapping on the desk or twirling between your fingers.  You walk away for a few minutes, hoping to find inspiration, only to return with nothing.  I’ve been there.  
Pencil Free Stock ImageWhat do you do?  Look to others for help.  I turned to my fellow writers and searched their blogs for suggestions on generating story ideas.  Rob Sander's Picture This! and Joan Reagan and Lora Koehler, creator of the Picture Book Marathon, gave me some helpful suggestions.  And Tara Lazar, creator of PiBoIdMo, Picture Book Idea Month, was especially helpful.  On her blog, she had published authors and illustrators as guest writers to offer inspiration.  Check out her November 2010 archived posts Below are just a few of the idea generators that I've used:

  • Make an alphabet list.  I got this idea from Rob Sander’s blog.   For each letter of the alphabet, you write down a topic.  Use the topics to inspire stories. He challenged readers to make an A to Z list of ideas.  For example:
                     A- Armadillo    B- Balloons    C- Clowns          

  • Look at pictures or paintings from magazines, museums, or galleries.  Make up a story for the pictures you see. 
  • Write nouns on several pieces of paper and throw it into a bag.  Shake it up and pick three pieces of paper.  Create a story using the words that you’ve randomly selected. 
  • Use story starters as inspiration.  Here are a few:
    • Start a story with a sound: "Paddle, paddle, glide..."  "whoosh!" "Drip, drip, drip..."  "Crunch!"
    • Start with, "That's too fast!" or start and end your story with, "Oh no!  Not again."
    • Use a refrain in your story such as, "I would never do that."
  • Reminisce about your childhood.  Think about your most memorable moment, the funniest thing that ever happened to you, or a favorite past time of yours.  Write a story about it.

Other resources: 
Rick Walton on how to come up with story ideas.

May this help you chip away at your writer’s block, ignite your creativity, and find your mojo!  Happy writing.

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