Welcome to the monthly blog I write to inspire and motivate other writers alongside my monthly 'Writerly Witterings' newsletter.
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Last month, I talked about ‘Creating your Author Brand,’ a timely piece since I have spent the last three weeks having to change my name all over the place!
February was an amazing month, with my hen party, wedding and honeymoon. Now it is time to hit the ground running again, with my writing, teaching and support of other writers.
March is also set to be exciting with my debut crime novel and psychological thriller, ‘The Last Cuckoo’ having launched this week. My two other crime novels are hot on its heels and it’s full steam ahead now my name has changed and everything can finally be launched!
Which brings me onto this month’s focus. Too Many Ideas or Writer’s Block?
I am a writer who fortunately suffers from ‘Too Many Ideas.’ As well as what I have written or am currently working on, I have the ideas in my head for 3 more novels, 2 poetry collections, 4 non-fiction books and umpteen short stories.
I spent my honeymoon in Iceland and was struck by the fact that the island only has an average 1.7 murders each year which has sent a fourth potential crime novel buzzing around my head!
So how do we cope when the ideas keep finding us? I read recently in Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert that ideas find us, not the other way around.
And if we choose not to act upon them or at least capture them for later use, they simply leave us and find someone else. Therefore, it is important that you do the following to keep those ideas until a time when you can nurture them.
- Always, always have pen and paper. Don’t expect to remember things that inspire you. Sometimes it might be a fragment of something, at others, a whole novel might gift itself to you.
- If you’re ever caught short without a notebook, at least have the voice recorder facility in your phone ready.
- As soon after as possible, spend time with your inspiration, allow it to grow, do some planning around it, jot down notes for how it might develop.
- Give yourself space to develop it more.
- Give your idea a title, allow yourself to imagine what it might become.
- Give it a start date, even if it is months away.
- Carve out the time so you can spend your creative energy on it.
- Time spent thinking about our creative projects is still time spent working on them. Word count does not always mean progress.
I have worked with other writers over the years that have experienced the opposite end of things, writer’s block.
Whilst I am of the opinion that the only thing that blocks our creativity is us allowing life to get in the way, part of my role as a novel, short story, life story and poetry facilitator is to offer opportunities for inspiration to be found. By following the steps above, 'writer's block' can be overcome, our writing muscle is one that needs regular exercise and that's when the ideas will start to flow.
If you believe you are running short of ideas, take one or more of the following tips:
- Spend time people watching (and listening!) Doing this will often offer interesting characters and allow you to overhear juicy conversations. You can also imagine what relationships might exist between people. Just don’t get arrested!
- Get out into nature. The world is so much bigger than we are and we can be inspired by the peace we find or the beauty of landscape.
- Give yourself space. A repetitive activity, such as walking, can allow your brain waves to slow enough so that the ideas can find you more easily. If your mind is constantly active, the ideas will have to fight harder to get through. Try to slow down.
- Carry a notebook and allow yourself to notice things as you go about your everyday life; the mood of a building, the atmosphere at a party, a look that passes between people, etc.
- Join a writing course or group where inspiration and motivation are guaranteed.
- Find out what inspires other authors (go to author talks or check out their websites) and compare it with your own interests. For me I’m inspired by landscape, psychology, homes and the darkness in relationships.
Perhaps you have your own methods for dealing with an overload of writing ideas or conversely, writer’s block. Feel free to share these in the comments below.
Next month, the Writerly Witterings focus will be on 'Keeping the Writing Energy flowing' once it has started, appropriate as we head towards Spring where we should soon start to feel invigorated!
As always, get in touch if you have any writing-related questions or if there is anything I can help you with – I am always happy to help a fellow writer.
With best wishes,