It’s been one of those crazy springs where I feel completly out-of -whack, and not just with my writing. I have project ideas for the house, for my family, for my writing…but I am unable to get those ideas funneled into something coherent. And then I sort of got my mojo back. How I did it, I’m not entirely sure…but I am glad things finally started to click.
Here are some ideas gleaned partially from experience and partially from a semi-recent Writer’s Digest article.
Step 1: Set a word count goal for the week ahead, or for a particular writing session. Remember, not all days are created equal. Some days you may really pump out a generous amount of words, other days–not so much. When you think about your writing goals in terms of the whole week, it gives you some freedom to say, “Well, Tuesday sucked, but I still have four days to pull it together.” It also helps with the inevitable interruptions you didn’t see coming.
Step 2: Go to the library or bookstore. Read some back jackets, peruse the covers. See what gets you excited. Look at the first five pages. What draws you in? The story? The voice? An author you adore? Chances are, you won’t be able to stop there. Good reading often gets you inspired to pick up a pen or mosey on over to your laptop to create something of your own.
Step 3: It’s been said by work-smarter gurus that one should try seven new things a week. That sounds like a lot, but when you stop and think about it, it comes to roughly one new thing a day. You can do that, right? Take a new way home from work. Order a Caramel Ribbon Mocha instead of your usual Caramel machiatto. Walk your dog down a different street. Try grazing instead of three sqaure meals. You get the idea. But why? You need to be well-rounded writer. Infuse your life with new experiences, tuck them into the back of your head. You may throw it into your writing.
Step 4: Listen to the radio. It could be your usual morning radio show, or switch it up (see step 3 above) and try something else. I flipped over to NPR in the car last week and came across a story and book about love being an illusion. Guess what? It ended up in my novel. Or, you may just tune the radio or Pandora to something like jazz or a Spanish station. Does your character like that music? (along this same idea–look at People magazine to hget those sensational human interest stories, book pages, and current pop culture–sure it may change slightly as your book evolves, but some of these references make for a relatable story).
Step 5: Do some field research. I am always seeking out new opportunities to learn something. Sometimes that broadens my horizons into a character’s POV, or sometimes it just gives me some real-life experience to enhance my writing. “How do you find these things?” For me, I signed up for a free tour and talk of a breast cancer clinic through my local medical center. Maybe a future character will have a breast cancer diagnosis? Who know…but Being able to visualize the place is helpful. Check your community and see what you may be able to attend–or tag-along.
Step 6: Learn a new word. Read the dictionary. Really. I know it sounds dull, but pick a page and skim it. Use a new word in conversation or your work. Often a page or two of the dictionary will trigger an idea for your current work-in-progress.
Step 7: Connect with a writer/author/agent you admire. Go ahead, click the “contact” button on a website of a best-selling author. Tell her or him you love their work. It will make their day–and maybe yours, too. (Modify: Tweet or “friend” someone of this caliber on GoodReads).
What are you waiting for?! Write on, Wednesday : )