Open a dictionary, close your eyes, pick a random word, and write about it. Go on, see how much you can write about one word in thirty seconds. It doesn’t matter if you think it’s great or silly or you think it’s a beautiful word that everyone should use in every conversation. Write it!
At the root of all writer’s block? Fear. You’ll recognize it by the questions you ask yourself when you sit down to write: Can I really finish an entire story? Am I a good enough writer to pull this off? Will this story matter to anyone? Or am I wasting my time? And what if I sound dumb?
But the specific fear doesn’t matter if you know how to soothe it. Here’s what to do: Lie down. On the couch. In bed. In the tub (Hey, don’t knock it! Sometimes it’s the only place writers can find some time alone!). Lie down where it’s comfortable and quiet, and write fifty words.
Either the exercise helps you break through the anxiety, and you keep writing. Or you have fifty words more than you had yesterday, and you try again tomorrow. Either way, lie down and write fifty words.
Take 5-10 minutes to free-write about your project in new or strange way. Scrawl your thoughts on construction paper in purple marker, close your eyes and write outside the lines — or draw your plot in pictograms. When you're done, choose the bits that stand out most to you or were the most fun to jot down, and make them the central points of your outline or story.
Make a list of the things that make you feel guilty about your writing. (For example: "I haven't written in 10 days even though I could have made the time.") Call yourself out. Then, go through each point and write a goal or accomplishment to challenge that guilt. (For example: "I have already written more than I did last month", or "I will set aside 30 minutes to write today.")
Getting started is one of the most difficult tasks that faces every writer. Julie Parsons is an international bestselling author. For this exercise, she's giving you the opening lines from some of her books. Take the following lines and use them to write the beginning of your own chapter:
You could say it began with a phone call."
Michael had watched them both for weeks."
She remembered the way it was the first time she saw the prison."
Pick a fiction book from your shelf. Go to page eight and find the eighth sentence on the page. Start with that sentence and write an eight-line poem that connects in some way to your work-in-progress. For instance, write from the POV of a character, or set the poem in a story setting. Don’t worry about poetry forms. Just write eight lines of any length that flow and explore some aspect of character, setting, or theme.
If you're feeling stuck or intimidated about how to start writing, take five minutes before you jump into your writing project to pen a love letter (or hate letter) to the blank page in front of you. It's surprising where words — any words — will lead you once you put them down.