It’s easy for me to urge you to write every day. But what will you write about? What to do when the empty void of white space glows on your monitor, inhabited by nothing save a small, blinking cursor?
I’ve gone through times when my mind was teeming with so many characters and story ideas I couldn’t begin to encompass them all. I scribbled notes for plots and piled them on desk corners. I filed others in folders and never found a chance to develop them.
Then I’ve found my imagination as empty as the Sahara. Oh, a random bit of dialogue or description might wander through my thoughts like a beetle crossing the sand. But I had nothing to go on.
Years ago, one of my writing teachers told me that if I wanted a long career as a novelist to keep my well filled and never let it go dry. Until then, I hadn’t realized that a writer is responsible for her own plentifully supplied imagination.
So how to stay inspired? Some of the following tips may be familiar to you; others may be new. I’ll be expanding on them in entries to come.
1) Remember that your inner artist is a child.
2) Immerse yourself in films that touch you emotionally.
3) Read constantly.
4) Find the book that kindled your initial desire to write stories of your own, and read it again.
5) Do exercises that will stretch or challenge your writing skills.
6) Change your commute route and drive along streets that are unfamiliar to you.
7) Travel, even if it’s just a short day trip to a nearby community.
8) Talk to people of different ages and types.
9) Visit museums.
10) Free write or journal.
11) Face your fears.
12) Choose a modern novel that’s very successful and type the first three chapters.