Weekly Journal

Take the Work out of Writing: 3 prompts to lay waste to your writer’s block

3rd August 2017

Does it ever feel like writing is just work? Do you associate it with deadened expressions, mindless Facebook scrolling (how many “Can We Guess Your Age Based On Your Starbucks Routine?” quizzes can you do, really?), headaches, and relentless clock-watching? Don’t worry – you aren’t alone.

Chances are the reason you are in this field in the first place is because once upon a time, you were a little kid with a dream. You were that voracious reader, captain of nerd paradise, your nose always buried in a book. Worried friends and family were always telling you to get out more, to which you could only throw back your head in a fit of villainous laughter. Get out more! Ha! If they only knew the places you’d BEEN! You could lay claim to hundreds more adventures than any of those boring, stuffy non-readers. In short, you used to have fun. Your love of story was enough to ignite wildfires of creativity, burning through your brain at the speed of light – due to this, writing came easy.

With these writing prompts, we’re going to bring that little kid, that dreamer, back. It’s time to take a battering ram to your writer’s block and revive that infamous imagination of yours. It’s time to go back to the basics – and make writing fun again.

Writer’s block can make you go CRAZY!

WRITER GONE WILD 

Whether or not you have a Master’s degree, a Bachelor’s, or none at all, it’s likely you’ve learned some writing techniques at some point in your life, and you do your best to apply them. For the sake of this prompt, I’m going to ask you to forget them all. Forget everything you’ve learned about writing ever. Those techniques clearly aren’t helping you out of the hole you’ve dug yourself into, so stop trying fruitlessly to coerce them and change tactics instead. Go ahead: write badly. Yes, that’s right! Go wild. Be savage! Turn off your overactive brain and abuse that page. Write without a plan, without organisation, without skill – write as if the rules no longer exist!

Forget polishing; forget perfection. For once, you don’t have to be an upstanding citizen, parroting snotty reasons for upholding writing law – be a criminal already! You can put the rules back in later, but for now, break them. Smash them to smithereens and have fun. It doesn’t matter what comes out this time around, so long as something does. Let the obligations fall away, and get to the heart of things; remind yourself why you love to write. Who knows, maybe by writing badly, you’ll end up with your best work yet, because it’ll be born from that little kid heart still inside you, which, unbeknownst until now, is still ripe with unplucked imagination, even after all this time.

“It’s time to take a battering ram to your writer’s block and revive that infamous imagination of yours.”

Call a fictional friend

Everyone has seen Who Wants to be a Millionaire, so we’re all familiar with the three lifelines, one of which was “call a friend”. For this prompt, you are going to call a friend, but there’s a catch: he or she has to be fictional. Think of your favourite book, TV show, or movie. Who’s your most beloved hero? Who do you long to ask for advice from? This can take shape in a number of ways. Design a dialogue between yourself as the author with your chosen character, or toss him/her into a trouble scene from your story directly to stir the pot and make things happen.

It doesn’t matter who you decide on. Whether you’re picking Dumbledore’s brains on what the world most needs to hear right about now, or begging Jon Snow to battle his way to your character’s rescue, there is nothing better than relying on our greatest fictional friends to inspire us out of tough spots. After all, we’ve accompanied them on their many harrowing or humourous adventures to date – I bet they’d be more than eager to return the favour, and help us out on ours.

Pick an idea, any idea!

Draw from a hat

Whether you are young or old or anywhere in between, everyone knows this classic tactic! Good news – it also works for writing! If you have been desperately staring at a blank page for hours, days, even weeks, it’s time to spark your imagination using this universally reliable strategy, which happens to borrow its roots from improv comedy games. First: grab a hat – any hat – and cut up a whole bunch of little pieces of paper. Sort them into three categories: people, places, and conflicts. For people, use characters from your story, if you’ve already got some, but if you are starting something brand new and don’t know your characters yet, use random occupations instead (teacher, doctor, lawyer, bus driver, etc.). For places, pick locations all over the world. Get inventive, get weird! The more abnormal, the better. Finally, for conflict, you can make up anything; the creative license is all yours – design random situations that can range from ridiculous to scary to thrilling to hilarious, whatever you like! Then, you put the slips from each category into the hat separately. First, you draw the character’s name or the occupation. After, draw the location, and then the conflict. Put them all together and write a scene out of whatever combination results! You don’t actually have to use it in your official novel or story, of course, but it might teach you something about your character’s background, or a single line might help influence a bigger plot, or perhaps nothing at all will come from it, but take heart: at least you’ll be writing!

Writing should never have to feel like work. Sometimes it takes more than drawing from a hat and changing tactics though, in order to rediscover inspiration. Sometimes you need a total change of scenery, or perhaps a total change of continent.

Intrigued? Look no further! Join us here in paradise where we kick that writer’s block to the curb daily – we could always use another teammate to battle it side-by-side with us.

Apply now: https://www.contentcastle.asia/apply.

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