Updated: Mar 29, 2020
Sometimes, to write, you must first do something that isn't.
Take a Walk
This isn’t about going somewhere--it’s about the motion. Pick a route you’re familiar with so that you don’t have to think about it. Go around your room, or up and down the street, or to your favorite park or something. Let your thoughts move as you do.
Watch a Movie
As you watch, pick out certain things the characters do, like hand movements or turns of phrase, and focus on the details to get ideas. Avoid movies where you know you'll get extremely involved in the plot, because this can actually bump your own story out of your head; choose a movie you like, not one you love. My guest poster has some suggestions for you!
Talk to Inanimate Objects
It’s okay, they won’t judge you.
Whether you type or handwrite, just start forming words. They don’t have to make much sense, just let your brain flow. Say, for instance, ‘This is stupid and I’m frustrated, I wish I could decide what to make X do after she finds out what Y did with Z. Should she rob Y? Why would she not do that? Because of character trait blah! With character trait blah, she’s likely to blah.’ Go ahead and ramble! It’s healthy, and it'll make your thoughts visible.
Pretend You Know the Characters
Imagine talking with them, and in your head, act like you know them. Put yourself in the plot, feeling the emotions right with the characters. It helps to imagine yourself not as the character--you want your character to be its own entity in your head, so that way it can take on life of its own--but as the character’s friend or enemy. What is the character’s favorite food? What’s it’s pet peeves? Why does it get up in the morning?
Order yourself very firmly to dream about your story. It probably won’t work, but sleeping with your story on the brain will prompt your subconscious to give you ideas. If you do this enough, you actually might have a dream about your story, and that is a prime source of unfiltered creative inspiration.
Stress is a huge inhibitor of good ideas. Exercise is an excellent cure. Release those endorphins, and you’ll find your headspace a little tidier afterwards; besides, if you get ‘in the zone,’ your brain might kick into that magical higher gear anyway. If exercise isn’t really your thing, go back to my first suggestion and just take a walk to get your body moving.