The writing process can be jaunting, trust me, I know. I have sat down to start writing and have grown frustrated when writer’s block swooped in. Once you’ve got a general idea in your head,the next step always seems to be the hardest. How do you get an idea to stop being just an idea, turn it into something tangible on paper or in a word processor? Here are some ways to get your creative juices flowing:
- Getting it down on paper
I have learned that the best way to start writing is to… start writing. That might sound a little dumb and obvious, like, “duh!”. But my point is, just write something down. Whatever it may be, as long as it’s relevant to the project you’re writing, it’s progress.
This can be in the form of stream of consciousness type writing, or an outline, or bullet points. How ever your mind works, write it or type it out. You’ll get some work done, and you’ll come up with some new things you hadn’t thought of before. I know I always do.
Make sure you include everything you’re thinking. Don’t trust your brain to remember small details for later. Thought of a good line of dialogue? Write it down. Thought of a tidbit of your main character’s backstory? Write it down. If it’s important, write it down. You’ll thank yourself later.
- Make Lists
This can be anything from a list of general things you want to see in your project, or a list of your main character’s personality traits, or anything. The list can just be one-word bullet points or entire sentences. Making a list helps organize your thoughts into different categories. This can also help you plan the structure of your work. Even if you are at the early development stage, you can still begin to plan what you want to happen.
- Make an Idea Board/Mood Board
This can be digitally on a site like stormboard or tangibly with sticky notes. Write out your character’s names, settings, locations, events, etc. You might find connections you hadn’t seen before, or come up with something new.
If you’re a more visual person, a site like pinterest is helpful. Create a board for your work, search topics that relate and then pin whatever you like to the board. It’ll help generate ideas and visualize how certain things (characters, locations, etc.) will look.
- Watch Similarly Themed Movies/TV Shows
I am a visual person. When I’m having trouble getting words on paper, it helps to watch something similar to what I’m writing. Whatever you choose to watch doesn’t have to be the same genre but rather it should have a similar tone or theme. Even though I write mostly sci-fi/thriller, I often find a lot of inspiration from sitcoms and dramedies.
While watching, imagine your characters in the situation of the characters in the movie/show. What would your characters do in their situation? I often find that imagining my own characters in these situations inspires me to write. Even if what I write doesn’t make it into the final cut, I still accomplished a brief character study.
- Listen to Music
This can be anything: soundtracks from movies of a the same genre as your work, playlist of songs your protagonist might listen to. Sites like 8tracks and spotify allow users to compile playlists for different moods. They also offer playlists designed for writing. Both can be used for free, so go check them out, you might be inspired.
So, there you have it. Five ways to begin the writing process. These might not work for everyone, but they work for me (most of the time) and they might work for you as well. But if even after all this, the words are still not coming to you, don’t worry. As long as you keep thinking about the story you want to tell, the words will come eventually, I promise.