It happens to the best of us. One day, we sit down at our desks and have no idea what to write about. We can wait for inspiration to hit us, or we can go looking for it. I prefer going out to look for it. Lately, I’ve been overrun with ideas (I’m not trying to rub anything in here, but it’s like someone gave my muse a kick up the ass or something), but it wasn’t always the case. I would go from site to site, blog to blog, forum to forum, trolling for ideas. Sometimes, something would hit me, more often than not I’d just get lost in a maze of true crime sites.
Writing prompt sites are rarely inspirational – often, it borders on those essay topics your high school English teacher assigned. While they feel familiar, those prompts will rarely lead to anything more than a writing exercise, which isn’t necessarily bad, writing well takes practice, and you have to do it every day if you want to be good at it. Athletes run every day, we write. That’s the nature of our beast.
So what to do when you find yourself sitting at your desk, drumming your fingers, wracking your brain and thinking that maybe it’s time to give it all up? You go looking for ideas, that’s what you do.
Stephen King wrote Misery based on a dream he had. I have written short stories based on dreams I’ve had. I have woken up from dreams so vivid and fresh, but incomplete, that I wanted to know, what happens next? Keep a dream diary. When you wake in the morning, write your dream down. Remember to include how the dream made you feel. Emotion is an important part of fiction writing, and you want to hang on to the feelings you experienced in your dream. Don’t just write down “scared” or “happy” – go all out, and describe your emotion in detail. Often that little exercise is enough to kick start you creativity.