Fifty Ways to Leave Your Writer’s Block
Brainstorming is what I do best. And, today, I’m sharing ideas to get you going. Can’t have too many of those, right? Take what you like and leave the rest.
1. Freewrite about whatever’s in your head the moment you wake up. 2. Cut apart your last draft of anything and rearrange the words like a puzzle. 3. Seek out some good graffiti and use it as a starting point. 4. Swipe your best friend’s Facebook status as an opening line. 5. Take one word from each headline in today’s newspaper and recombine them into a new headline. Write the resulting story. 6. Write a bit of memoir to go with the name you would have called yourself if you had gotten to choose your own name. 7. Use whatever you overhear in line at the grocery store as the first line of a new piece. 8. Describe the last person you saw walk in front of your car/bike/bus/train. Tell their story. 9. Rewrite a Shakespearean sonnet in today’s English. 10. Put Jack Kerouac on the beach with the Pope. What happens? 11. Fill in the blank: I always wanted to be a __________. 12. How do you think you’ll die? 13. Tell the story of the crime you would commit if you were sure you wouldn’t get caught. 14. You are sure you are living in the wrong era. So, when should you have been born and why? 15. The avatar you’ve chosen for your Yahoo account looks nothing like you. What’s that story? 16. When you feel like running away, where do you go? 17. What is the situation that makes you wonder if you need therapy? 18. Talk about the lover you cannot forget but know you could never live with. 19. What was the worst day of your life? 20. What is the best facial expression you saw on someone in the last couple of days? Write the story behind it. 21. What is the most intimate moment, besides sex, you’ve ever experienced? Put it into a poem. 22. Who would you be if you switched genders? 23. Why do you get out of bed in the morning? 24. Who would you save in a disaster? 25. Forget being a superhero. Which one would you like to defeat and how? 26. What is the story you are never going to tell your children? 27. Who would you be if you’d been a different race? 28. Think about the meanest thing you’ve done to someone else. Now write about how to fix it. 29. Write something empathetic for the person you find most repulsive in this world. 30. When you look into a candleflame, you imagine _______________. 31. What have you got to lose? 32. Where were you the last time you slept in a bed that wasn’t yours? 33. Use the last Tweet from Al Jazeera English as the first line of your next piece. 34. Swipe a line from your favorite song from when you were sixteen and launch a story from it. 35. If you had a spirit animal, it would be __________ because….. 36. Big taboos: if you were X years younger, would you want to date your kid’s boyfriend/girlfriend? 37. Taboos, again….write the poem about the person who attracts you the most but will never, ever know it. 38. I feel ageless when…… 39. The thing about me that no one understands is ______________. 40. I don’t remember how it feels to ______________. 41. The last time someone came up to me in a parking lot, this is what they said. 42. Some days, I feel like I’m losing my mind and it has nothing to do with being busy. Here’s why. 43. When do you feel utterly alone? 44. Everything your partner does makes you twitch. Now what? 45. You just want a little kindness. Where does it come from? 46. The end of the world is now. What are you wearing? 47. My kingdom for a _____________! 48. Your first thought is, “Well, this sucks.” Where are you? 49. What was your last emergency? 50. Freewrite your last thoughts before going to sleep.
Good luck with whatever might spring from this list! And, remember, if it’s short poetry that shows up on your page, you can submit to Every Day Poets, among other places.
DO A KIND THING
Are you a decent writer? Then offer to critique your friends’ work this week. Everyone needs readers who will go beyond saying, “That’s nice,” and actually deconstruct the work. How do you do that? Begin with what stuck with you. What phrases/images made an impact on you? Where do you feel disconnected from the writing? What questions does the writing bring up for you? This is all helpful feedback for a fellow writer. Go on, you can do it.