Writers, what do you do when your ideas run dry?

I have a notebook that I write all my ideas down in. It’s my brainstorming tool. Whenever I start planning something new, the notebook comes out, and I write whatever comes to mind. I have pages upon pages of character ideas, settings, scenes, conflict ideas… the list goes on and on.

Last night, I opened up my notebook and sat down to write and nothing came out. Nothing! I literally sat there staring stumped at the page, knowing I have all these ideas inside me, but I couldn’t find them.

It was oddly horrifying because that has never happened to me before. I’ve churned out two novels this year and I’m seriously concerned that I may have nothing left!

What do you do when your ideas run dry? I’m thinking I need to spend some serious hours on Pinterest and Deviantart!

About Jodie @ Words Read & Written

Book blogger & aspiring author.
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65 Responses to Writers, what do you do when your ideas run dry?

  1. Actual, “real” writer’s block, is fiction in itself. No such thing, in my opinion. I’m willing to bet that rather than nothing coming to mind, your going through ideas that don’t excite you, and they are being dismissed immediately. Just quick little thoughts here and there that get tossed by subconscious thought because they’ve already been done, or whatever. The thing to do is take off the kiddie gloves and scribble down whatever idea or whatever passage comes to mind. That cyborg monkey that’s a master of interpretive dance may not have a place in one of your stores, but he could likely knock a good idea loose.

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  2. Travel somewhere new. You never know what will spark inspiration.

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  3. A few drinks and some time reading back through my work, that or stuffing around on pinterest 🙂
    Best ‘o luck with it!

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  4. I either read or just take a breather until the ideas start flowing again

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  5. jennicurry says:

    Fear not! It’s happened to me a few times. Wait until you are more relaxed or have less on your plate and all the stories come crashing back. For me, they tend to all come back at once, which makes things very noisy all of a sudden.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Matthew Bowers says:

    I don’t know Jodie. I writing in burst of passion. Sometimes these bursts last a while and other times the passion is only for one piece of work. It is why I like short stories and poetry. There are times when I will write up to 10 poems in a matter of hours and other times I’m lucky to write a poem a week.

    Short stories are another thing. They are like a rush of passion. I mostly write love stories (not romance). But I also write about other things. I have been exploring styles. I have found the more I write the more the passion builds and the more things I complete. When I don’t feel like writing I don’t write and wait.

    It is more difficult in college because essays have a deadline. I research and research but no words come. When I first started college (I’m a late bloomer when it comes to going to college) I used to panic because the words wouldn’t come when I wanted them to come. Later I realized to trust that my muse will arrive whenever she feels like. She knows the date the essay is due. At times it the week before the essay is due and other times its merely days before the essay is due. All I can do is research until she arrives. But when my muse arrives, and the passion is unleashed, I will write and write and write, even if it is for 12 hours or more. Even longer at times. I write the complete essay in one sitting. Then I proof it and hand it in. Never received less than an A on any of my essays. I have others in my classes always wanting me to help them with their essays. I tried but how can I when it is not me that inspires me, it is my muse. I’m an artist not an academic. I have simply had to adjust and have faith in my muse, who has never let me down. It is when I pressure my muse that I will have writer’s block. She is, as I have written in a poem:

    Muse, sweet muse
    Where hast thou gone
    You’re here one day
    And another you’re gone

    You tease and taunt
    But always delight
    You’re ways always fruitful
    Dancing freely
    Through the meadows
    In the warm sunlight

    Then you make me wait

    Wait for the spring of your return
    For the coming of the warmth of noon
    When you are nourished and strong
    And can again sing your song

    Through heart of wandering,
    You release your passion
    Day after day
    Week after week
    We dance beneath the sunlight
    And embrace
    Within the light of the moon…

    …This is my muse
    What a fool I must seem
    For through her passion
    Comes my release
    And through my release
    Come words, my delight

    I have been writing all my life so it is simply a natural process I have learned to accept.

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  7. Do something new. It can help kindle your curiousity and thus spark your creativity. Sometimes, it’s simply a matter of taking a walk and allowing your mind to think about things that interest you or see what’s going on in the neighborhood. Seeing people causes me to wonder about their stories; or at least what I imagine they might be. There are times, though, we just have to sit and write…perform the task…fingertips hitting the keyboard or fingers gripping the pencil. Write a word and see where it goes.

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