You’re not writing… but you could be. That is, if you could just get past that blinking cursor or all the lines crowding up a blank page. You could stare at the walls. Sometimes out of sheer boredom you’ll start to write. But usually it is best to walk away and reset your writer’s mind.
Stop being frustrated. Step away from the desk. Fill your brain with something else. The writing mind works best when avidly interested. Challenge your mind and the muse will hunt you down. If you are so blank there isn’t even an idea brewing in your subconscious, try these tips for guided daydreaming.
- Read outside your comfort zone. Politics, horror, the business section of the newspaper – it doesn’t matter what you read, just that you are looking at it with fresh eyes. Note the tone, study the prose. Learn something, even if it is what not to do.
- Sensualize. Take a deep breath through your nose, then another through your mouth. Smell and taste the world around you. Listen closely. Experiencing the depth of the world beyond sight and touch, the writers’ crutch, will enlighten your writing and your life.
- Eavesdrop. Do it to be nosy and lift a story idea, or be professional and study the cadence of the conversation. Uncomfortable with spying? A radio call-in-show can have the same effect.
- What’s her story? Look a little deeper at the strangers around you. Imagine what they go home to, why the woman in the supermarket express line is scowling at the eleven items in your cart. Why does it matter to her?
- Why? Think like a three year old, but solve your own mystery. Why is the sky blue? Why do airplanes stay in the air? Why has no one invented a sunscreen and bug repellant combo? Learn something new. There’s a story there.
These exercises stretch your mind, helping you to tune into the ideas bouncing around your brain. You may not use what you learn all at once, but it will reflect in your writing at some point. Keep stretching your mind. You never know when the muse will kick you in the butt.