Listen: When You Have No Writing Ideas

Including all the highlights in the show notes

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

This week I’m talking about what to do when you’ve run out of writing ideas. Plus strategies to help you get out of the writing and creativity funk (including not writing, if that’s what you need).

Confession: perfectionism

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Podcast details:

If you have no ideas, do not fear. I often find that I’m overwhelmed because I look at the entire project — trying to create a finished project before I’ve even started. Here are some different ways to pump some creativity into your writing process.

  • flash fiction prompts — you only have to write a single scene, and less than 1500 words!
  • single word prompts or sentence prompts — I find a lot of these on tumblr, but there are tons of websites and articles with ideas. Pick one and focus on a single scene instead of trying to create an entire story out of it.
  • write a story without using the vowel ‘a’ — or use a similar constraint like ‘the’ or ‘and’ or another common word.
  • write only a single scene — it can be as bland or as action-y as you want. Skip ahead to the fun scene you want to write.
  • write a conversation only — use dialogue to add description and reveal characters
  • rewrite one of your existing stories from the opposite perspective — pick a scene with more than one character and write it from the opposite perspective. Maybe you’ll learn something about that new character that affects the story.
  • write an argument without dialogue — focus on passive aggression, actions, feelings, emotions, tension… without a single word spoken.
  • write fanfiction — if you want, write it for your own story! You never have to show anyone and it can just be for you. Be silly, give into your desires, and just have fun.
  • go all in on an overused trope — love triangle? MAKE IT THE GUSHIEST LOVE TRIANGLE YOU’VE EVER SEEN. Bella must choose — Edward or Jacob? Go over the top and be dramatic.
  • flip the script and obliterate the overused trope — love quadrangle? Reverse harem? She has to choose between a boy and a girl? She doesn’t have to choose, she gets everything she wants? Or she chooses without hesitation.
  • research — write without writing. Give into your procrastination and just research and find new ideas. Mix and match. Study something you’ve always wanted to learn and try to figure out how to include it into your story. Focus on single scenes rather than an entire plot before you’ve even started writing.

Originally published at on February 15, 2021.

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