A blank document stares you in the face. Go ahead – write something down – make my day! The blinking cursor taunts you as you try to find something decent to write.
Your mind is blank. It’s writer’s block. You give up. Blah.
But before you hit that big X in despair, do yourself a favor. Seek out real inspiration.
Your mind is not a blank slate, even if it feels that way. Instead it’s a veritable font of information and ideas, but the trick is to get those creative juices flowing properly.
You can try the usual methods of deep breathing and meditative yoga, but what’s the fun in that? Why not try some creative, unusual solutions to unblocking writer’s block.
47 Outlandish Ways to Inspire Writing
1. Go the place you enjoy the least. Can’t stand the crowds at the mall? Great! Head the way. There’s nothing like a bit of negative emotions to get the juices flowing – start by complaining about your experiences and build on that.
2. Take a nap. Your brain does amazing things while you sleep. Don’t hesitate to blog about your dreams or those random thoughts that settle just as you’re dozing off.
3. Make it count. Start a timer and force yourself to write or type until the timer goes off. Just keep writing. Just keep writing. Who knows what you’ll produce.
4. Write poetry. Amuse yourself with a dirty limerick or a brilliant haiku. Creativity is contagious.
5. Go outside. Grab a laptop or a notebook and head outside. Fresh air is a great way to clear your mind.
6. Examine your trash. Look in your trashcan. What’s in there that can tell a story about who you are and who you’re not? Broken pencils? Empty candy bar wrappers? Last year’s tax returns?
7. Pretend you’re your hero. What would Batman sound like if he had a blog? Why not give it a shot and find out? Want a real challenge? Try being Chewbacca.
8. Talk your way through it. Pull out a speech to text software like Dragon Naturally Speaking and just say what’s on your mind. Watch the words appear on your screen as you ramble on and see what you wind up with.
9. Write a joke. Come up with the most horrible, outrageous, offensive joke you can possible create. It’s a lot harder than you might think, and plenty of fun, too.
10. Take a walk in the afternoon. Bright sunshine, plenty of clouds in the sky. Walk and build up some endorphins for energy and brilliant.
11. Take a walk at night. Skulk through the shadows and hide in the darkness of allies – if you’re brave enough. An entirely new world appears in the wee hours of the morning… an entirely new population as well.
12. Sit in Wal-Mart (or the equivalent). Find the most visited store in your area, find a bench and have a seat. Proceed to observe the madness that surrounds you.
13. Watch kids. Kids are fascinating creatures. Watch them get off the bus or play on the playground. Just don’t be labeled a creep while you’re sitting there staring at them.
14. Play with your action figures. We know you have them sitting on your desk. Go ahead and pick them up. Play with them a bit. Be goofy and ideas will come.
15. Create an alter-ego. Start a new blog as your alter ego. Write down things that you’d never really say and then comment on your new posts to argue with yourself.
16. Go house shopping. Stop by a few Open Houses in your area and imagine the life that you’d lead in the house you’re visiting. What’s happened in these rooms?
17. Go car shopping. Test drives a wide range of vehicles – small ones, big ones, and then considers how the experiences were similar and different.
18. Play the lottery. You can risk money if you’d like, but better to put numbers and words in a hat and simply pull one or two out. Make a sentence or a story using the word or number you pulled out.
19. Phone a friend. Call up a good friend and reminisce. What old memories have been dredged up lately that make for an interesting tale?
20. Phone many friends. Create a tweet or a post asking for three words from each of your friends. Or favorite movie quotes. Or bizarre celebrity couples. Whatever – let your friends help?
21. Use a quote. Look up a collection of quotes and pick one at random – often sites will do this for you. Use the quote to point you in a new direction.
22. Write a love letter. Think back to elementary school. Write a love letter to that girl who got away. Or write one to the girl that didn’t get away – you might have an excellent evening in store if you manage a good letter.
23. Write a letter of complaint. Complain viciously about how upset you were the last time you didn’t get fries/your yogurt was sour/the prices were too high for the quality of food in the restaurant. You might even send it off and get something in return.
24. Make a list of things you like about yourself. You really, really like yourself, right? Why? Is there a story about that? Would other people agree with you? Feel free to explain why you’ve chosen what you’ve chosen.
25. Make a list of things you hate about yourself. Use it for therapy or for kindling your brilliance – it’s totally your call, but it can very useful either way.
26. Write a letter to your grandmother. Tell her everything that’s been happening in your life and share some of your plans for the future. Go ahead and mail it – you’ll make her whole year.
27. Write with a fake accent. Say the words aloud as you type them and amuse yourself with a horrible impersonation of a fake accent. Just be sure that nobody is listening in as you impersonate Churchill or W.
28. Make a plan for survival after a major natural disaster or Armageddon. Go ahead and pack your backpack so you can feel prepared if you’d like. Or share your plan and see what others think – maybe you forgot something critically important. Defending ideas can be pretty powerful motivation for writing after all.
29. Write a detailed list to your congressman explaining everything they are doing right or wrong at the Capitol. Be sure to include what you think we should do about it. This can start an entire website if you get fired up enough.
30. Develop some ideas about how you’d spend a million dollars. You must spend every penny of the money in some way – no savings! If you’re really going to challenge yourself make it a rule that you can’t give any of it away to charity either. Pure spending – what are you going to pick and why?
31. Make a grocery list of things you’d need if you could have anything you wanted in the entire world to eat for dinner tonight. Think about the meal and why you’d choose the things you’ve selected. Is there a story there?
32. Read other blogs. Often we find something we can respond to passionately. Go read to find it. And when you do find something that ticks you off or you agree with, bookmark it. One good day of research can produce material for months.
33. Clean out your closet. Really dig into those dark corners and old boxes to find some treasures. Use them to inspire you to write new stories or to tell old tales.
34. Eat with the old folks. Old folks are great at telling stories and saying interesting things. Hang out at the bait shop, the local diner or the happing hotspot for the older generations and see what shakes out.
35. Find a new passion. Like fish tanks? Why not learn more – become an expert on something you love and you’ll always have something to say – aquariums, bicycles, snakes or firearms – the possibilities are endless.
36. Cook a fine meal. Scoff at frozen pizza this night and instead cook yourself a feast. Describe the rich culinary experiences or at least be contented with aromas and flavors while you stare at the blank screen. You can share the meal or keep it all to yourself – it’s up to you.
37. Get drunk. We’re all funnier when we’re drunk, so get loaded and start typing. Read your wisdom in the morning and laugh even harder. Or perhaps marvel at the wisdom you didn’t actually know that you had. Just don’t make this particular form of inspiration a habit, of course.
38. Flirt. We all feel witty and fun when we’re flirting with members of the opposite sex. Head out to a bar, a club or just pull up Skype and see who wants to be silly with you. Think of funny things that you say or make notes about what works – there are lessons here to be shared with others!
39. Make prank calls. Go on, you know you loved it when you were a kid! Why not set up a new online phone number or disguise your current number and then start calling your friends with ridiculous jokes. A good story is bound to come out of that!
40. Sing. Go on, turn up the music, grab the mike to the karaoke machine and let us have it – this is your show. Music is great for inspiring creativity, so why not sing out your frustration and see what it creates.
41. Take a trip. Grab the laptop, fill up the tank with gas or buy a ticket on the train and head out of town. Go anywhere you can reach in three hours and spend the whole day experiencing the new area. Start your writing by describing the experiences.
42. Visit a pet shelter. Look at all the sad, heartbreaking stories around you. Now go home and write them – feel free to bring home a new puppy or kitten while you’re there as well.
43. Memorize a poem. You’ve written your own poetry, so now memorize someone else’s. Try the Raven Anabel Lee by Poe. Both are nicely creepy and perfect for putting your brain to good use.
44. Have a dinner party. Put your work on hold for a few hours and invite friends over for dinner. Cook, clean and play host. Plenty of stories come out of these parties, of course.
45. Make a list of your favorite words. You can make this a running list and simply add to it as you find new words you like. Explain the reasons you love the words and the story behind each – excellent material for an entire blog if you like really good words.
46. Babysit. Children teach us a great deal about ourselves, especially when you feel like you have no idea what in the world to do with the crying baby or the toddler throwing tantrums. Babysit your sister’s kids and you’ll have enough material to work with for weeks.
47. Call your mom. Not only will she love hearing from you, but she can probably inspire all sorts of emotions and ideas in you. Ask her questions about her past, about your childhood growing up or her political viewpoints. You may be surprised at what you learn and what you have to write about.
While it’s certainly not definite that any of these ideas will work out wonderfully every single time you feel a bit less than inspired, they are certain to give you some ideas at least some of the time.
If nothing else, at least you’ve had a good time doing your very best to come up with something interesting to say. If you’re still hitting that proverbial wall tomorrow morning when you sleep it all off, you can simply start again at the top of the list. Inspiration will come – be persistent.