1. ManicHedgehog
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    ManicHedgehog Member

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    Getting those juices flowing

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by ManicHedgehog, May 1, 2009.

    Every writer has that moment where he or she is starving for ideas. When you want to write something, but the well has run dry.

    So when that happens, where do you go? Do you immerse yourself in a book, or do you physically go out somewhere?

    I'm asking partially for a little help. I've been counting down the days until I move to another city with my girlfriend, but until then, I've been trapped in a backwater town that has done little to feed my ideas. Every time I sit down to write, I feel drained, like I can't write anything. I've got some cool ideas, but nothing with which to build them. Once I move out, I'll be spending more time around people in a much more interesting area that will hopefully constantly feed my ideas. Until then, though, I keep feeling like I'm trying to tap into an empty keg.
     
  2. -NM-
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    Go for a walk and have a look at the world around you, there's plenty of things going on all the time.

    If you're really stuck you could try one of two things:

    - Try thinking about how you would describe something in a book as you see it, eg: If you see a bird landing on some grass as you're walking by and then it flys off, think how you would describe that happening in a story. You will find that you start working almost everything into a line in a book and it helps quite a bit, i think.

    - If you're out for a walk or something, pick a random person. Have a look at them and try and come up with a back story for them. Eg:
    Man in a suit. - Where's he going? To work? Then where does he work? Does he like his job? Any family? Etc... everyone is a potential character with a story to tell.
     
  3. Lavarian
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    Lavarian Contributing Member Contributor

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    A walk works for me as well.

    Also, I find that ideas come to me when I'm browsing through a bookstore. I go to my local Barnes & Noble or Half-Price Books and just walk around glancing at the covers of books. For some reason that always helps me come up with ideas.
    It also gives me more drive to keep working on my book.
     
  4. Henry The Purple
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    Henry The Purple Active Member

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    There's always something to write about. The question is, how willing are you to write? Getting the juices flowing is as simple as putting pen to paper. Try not to think of it as a chore, but a hobby.
     
  5. RomanticRose
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    RomanticRose Active Member

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    I hate to be a downer, but whether for addiction, depression or writer's block, the geographic cure almost never works. I hope you're the exception.
     
  6. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    Gee, I wonder what would have happened if John Steinbeck thought like that about the squalor he witnessed during the depression. Grapes of Wrath would never have been written. Of Mice and Men would not exist. Same for Tortilla Flat . . . "a backwater, depressed" district of Monterrey where the residents maintain cheerful camaraderie despite poverty.

    There is a wealth of material for stories all around you, if you are willing to "see".
     
  7. starseed
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    starseed Contributing Member

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    I watch movies with actors or actresses I find particularly interesting/intruiging (gah, cant spell that word right now lol). There are certain people who just, for whatever reason, fascinate me. I enjoy watching them.. the way they talk, the way they move, and imagine how I would make what fascinates me about them come across in writing, for my own characters.
     
  8. Dcoin
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    Dcoin Contributing Member

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    google "writing prompts".
     
  9. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    henry nailed it!... though i would change 'willing' to 'driven'... if you can't come up with anything to write about, no matter where you are, then you're probably not meant to be a writer...

    if you have to depend on where you are, to supply you with things to write about and can't even be inspired by the intriguing subject of 'nothing ever happens there' then i don't see that moving to any other place is going to help you any...

    so, i'll also ditto salty's wise observations... you're using place as an excuse, honeybunch... if the keg is empty, it's your creative ability that's missing and no change of place or being amidst a plethora of people or 'happenings' can fill it up for you...
     
  10. lynneandlynn
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    lynneandlynn Contributing Member

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    I'd have to agree with henry and mammamaia here... a small town is normally full of stories just waiting to happen and if you don't have the drive to write, then you're probably wasting your time.

    I know sometimes that I get in a slump where I don't feel like writing because I get depressed and down about things happening in my own life, but when that happens I force myself to pick up a pen and write down, at least, what's going on, because it's cathartic. And after I do that, I'm able to write just fine because I've released the stress in a way that works for me. Writing is like breathing for me...I don't think I could cope without doing it.

    ~Lynn
     
  11. Aeroflot
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    Aeroflot Senior Member

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    I just write what I'm constantly thinking about for any given period. That way I can write indefinitely, breaking ground or being repetitive, doesn't matter. Writing is writing

    Actually, I write in order to get into the mood of writing
     
  12. littlebluelie
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    littlebluelie Member

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    If I were to write my way through lack of inspiration, I would go mad. Everyone is different though. That's just how I operate. ;)

    What helps me is music, long walks, or people watching. Not that I intentionally go out to spy on others, but I ride a public bus to school and it's amazing how diverse everyone is. It makes you wonder about their lives, their aspirations, etc...and you find yourself coming up with your own ideas which would work wonderfully in a story. Thinking too hard is counterproductive. Try to heighten your awareness of your surroundings, make observations, or even practice meditation.
     
  13. Wendy_2009
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    Wendy_2009 New Member

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    I agree with littlebluelie here, some other comments seem a little harsh.

    Everyone finds it difficult to find inspiration at times and whilst I agree that just moving to another area will not "fix" the lack of inspiration, you must never think you are not meant to be a writer!!!

    It could just be that at this moment in time, something else that is happening in your life is maybe distracting your mind from allowing inspiration in.

    Relaxation, meditation and spending lots of time walking, reflecting and reading will bring something through at the right time, just try to be patient and above all else, remain positive!

    Good luck,

    Wendy
     
  14. Agreen
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    Agreen Faceless Man Contributor

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    If I get stuck on a part, I'll change up the music I'm listening to, see if a new mood gives new ideas. When that fails, I have a series of over the top sci-fi scripts I've been working on for the amusement of myself and my friends. I pull them out and work on them for a few days. Sometimes, trying to come up with the most ridiculous ideas gets my creativity going and I'll blow past the scene that's been giving me trouble in my serious work.
     
  15. shellabella27
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    shellabella27 New Member

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    I will read. My problem is I have a tendancy to rush my writing. I will write heaps and heaps every day for a few weeks and then lose interest. I find that when this happens I need to forget about my writing for a few days, and read someone elses. Its my way of resting my brain :) Then I usually find that I can go back to my writing with renewed enthusiasm.
     
  16. starseed
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    starseed Contributing Member

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    I didn't want to say this but I agree. I have trouble NOT writing, and the real challenge for me is to keep my focus on this one story so I can finish my novel, when there are about 1847632786432 other stories I'm super excited to write in my lifetime. I seriously will not be able to live long enough to write all the stories I want to write. It's probably because I've always been a HUGE daydreamer, I practically live within my own head. I've had a pretty crazy life too, so I guess I can always look through my own memories for story ideas.
     
  17. bluebell80
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    bluebell80 Contributing Member

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    I don't know. When I just "can't" write, I don't. I do anything else, but I won't write anything.

    My more frequent things to do while not writing, Watching movies, finding new books to read (usually from writers or genres I haven't read yet, but sometimes I re-read the classics), interacting with friends, family, or people watching. Sometimes I like to go on the internet and look up different psychological disorders. I can often find inspiration for one really mucked up character from the DSM-IV.

    Go on a date with my hubby. This might sound like something that happens all the time, but it doesn't, so this is a treat to be sans kids and get some adult time. Talking about current events, work, family drama, and other thoughts can sometimes get the juices flowing for an idea.

    Being outdoors. Sometimes I will just take a drive through the woods or out to a lake, and just sit. I let my mind go, don't dwell on any one thought for more than a second, and then let it float from my mind. I started bring a notepad and pen with me when I did this, after a few good ideas came, but I had nothing to write with.

    Check out forums online. Not just writing forums, but all sorts of forums out there. You don't have to join them, but just flip through some of the threads and see what people are talking about. Sometimes I can find some really messed up threads and think to myself, wow--now that would be an interesting character to write.

    The biggest thing, like it is with impotence, is to not think about the fact that you are not writing. The more you stress about not writing, or better not having anything important enough to say to write, the less you will be able to write. The key to gaining wind in your sails is relaxing.
     
  18. AngeloBraxton
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    AngeloBraxton Member

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    Go for a walk or a jog, play a sport, or do something you hate. Whenever I'm really bored, I daydream. That's actually where some of my best ideas come from
     
  19. daturaonfire
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    daturaonfire Senior Member

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    Someone mentioned music, I second that, especially new music. Reading some poetry is good too. I sympathize with the little-town challenge. When you're out and about around your backwater little town, look around. If you have characters you like, imagine them in the various places around town--in stores, parks, and such. You can also try freewriting, just writing about anything at all.
     
  20. OrdinaryJoe
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    OrdinaryJoe Member

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    My short answer in two words, polar opposites. Don’t try writing to stimulate yourself to write. It usually does not work. If you have had a block for any length of time you will know this. What I have found helps me is too create something using the right side of the brain. (As opposed to the left side used while writing.) This usually involves drawing or painting in an abstract manner. Doing anything that requires spatial recognition. Even going out and playing a game of tennis or baseball involves using the right side of the brain over the left. I am unsure if this gives the left side of the brain a break or stimulates it to work, but I find that after spending an hour doing one of these other activities I usually can sit down and ideas seem to flow much easier. Good luck. Hope it helps.
     
  21. Anir
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    Anir Senior Member

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    I had the same problem. Small town, no ideas. But in fact, once I started to look around at the town, things started popping into my mind. In fact, we have a pretty cool statue on top of a spring that always makes me think:
    "Okay, she's offering water to God" or, "She saved the people from drought" something along those lines. I also draw. I don't just draw things, I draw my characters in motion, walking somewhere, eating something, sleeping, punching something, just something that makes me connect with them and makes me want to write for them and tell their story. Listening to music also helps, because some of the words inspire me to write something nonsensical which could turn into something really interesting. While walking and sitting outside doesn't automatically make me think of something, I do look at things and try to describe them with words or put my characters in the same situation. Nature helps me clear my head so I can think. You just need to find the way to inspire yourself and use it when you run out of steam.
     

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