A lot of writers get asked, “Where do you get your ideas?” Answers can vary, but it usually has something to do with a character or a situation that would not leave the writer’s mind alone whether awake or sleeping. The harder question to answer is “What if you don’t have any ideas?”
That’s where I’ve been struggling since the beginning of the year. It’s time to start writing new stories, but the ideas I’ve had were either rejected or lost steam after a few pages. While it’s true my health and personal life have moved to center stage in my mind, I find myself yearning for a good story in which to lose myself. One that I will be eager to sit in front of my computer and pour the words from my head on to the screen.
In the meantime, here are some things I’ve been doing to spark my imagination:
1. Reading, reading, reading. I usually average reading two to three books a week, but lately it’s been in the four to six range because my appetite for story has been ravenous.
2. Research. Some of the ideas I’ve had that haven’t worked out have needed some additional research. I’ve almost worn out my library card with the books I’ve been checking out in the hopes that the research will set one of my ideas on fire.
3. Watching TV/listening to music. Sometimes my ideas come from a news story or a song lyric, so I’ve been listening to a lot of Elvis Presley and the Beatles lately.
4. Daydreaming. It may look like I’m staring into space, but my mind is furiously imagining different scenarios.
5. Eating healthy and exercising. With the occasional chocolate, of course.
The truth is, there is an idea in my head that won’t let go of my imagination. But it scares me to death to think of writing that story because the emotions are still raw. Then again, that’s what makes the idea so great.
What do you do when you don’t have any ideas?