Jul 3, 2010

Flexing the Creative Muscle

Always stretch your brain before a writing workout

A common problem I see writers online facing seems to be getting themselves out of a non-writing funk. You've been on holidays, busy at work, sick or there's just been a great season of Castle showing non-stop for a week on pay-tv, whatever the excuse, sometimes we take a break from writing and have trouble picking up the pen again.

I also see loads of advice online for this problem. There are many techniques to get your WIP up and running again, but they all boil down to one simple solution. Just write. Writer's block seems to have  a lot less to do with a lack of ideas than time and motivation. Write anything, journals, riff-writing, clustering, letters, short stories or scenes. Once you get yourself started you'll be amazed at how silly it seemed to procrastinate.

This week I've been reading Now Write! (edited by Sherry Ellis), a collection of fiction writing exercises guaranteed to spark ideas. Several writers and creative writing teachers have contributed to this anthology of writing exercises on topics that cover point of view, character development, dialogue, plot and pacing, setting and description, revision and more. 

These exercises are simple but effective and force you to reevaluate the priorities in your writing, like character motives. If you're impatient (like me) and don't like creative exercises that take time from your WIP, you can even do many of these to expand your current plot and character depth.

I'll be using some of the exercises in the classroom with my students, so this book is both inspiring and practical for me.
Have you got a favourite tip to get the writing flowing again?
I'm so happy to be back online, and I am making my way through my blog list to catch up on all your writing and reading exploits!


  1. Character depth is something I'm really trying to work on! I might pick this book up!

  2. Thankfully I don't run into this problem very often. When I do, I tend to reread, or check out my idea file and try something new. It generally works :)

  3. I think you're right. I think that it may be difficult but once you start writing, you will continue.


  4. I've never suffered from writing block - just from being lazy. I'm a big believer in just sitting down and start writing :)

  5. I'm with Jaydee - my problems stem more from laziness than lack of ideas. The book looks like a good one. I'll have to order it. Thanks for the tips! :-)

  6. Great recommendation. Thanks!
    So far, I haven't had writers block. I suffer from too many ideas at once. But I'm not complaining.

    Happy 4th!

  7. That sounds like a great book. I'm struggling with my WIP at the mo so this might help :)