Drano for Your Braino: 10 Ways to Unclog Your Writer’s Block

1.     Go to bed.  I find this to be the easiest way to get ideas.  Drift off to that purgatory between sleep and wakefulness.  Think about your characters, your plot, or your problem that can’t be solved during the daylight hours no matter how hard you try (or don’t try, I think that is my problem). 

Inevitably, ideas will start to come to you just when you want to fall asleep.  This is where the little notebook and pen on your bedside stand come in mighty handy.  You will probably be wide awake after you get your good idea.  You may even have to go fire up your computer again.

2.     People watch.  It’s a great way to work on you characterization.  Is that male lead just not fleshing out believably? 

Go to Walmart and take in the sights.  If you’re looking for some character flaws, the mom whose kid knocks over a jar of pickles and she just wheels off without telling anyone could spark an idea.  The guy trying on ladies hats when he thinks no one is looking seems like a fun person.  The anorexic/bulimic teenager wolfing down Ho Hos behind a clothes rack before she runs to the bathroom to vomit them up is intriguing.  Look around you; the freaks abound and they are fun to play with.

3.     Read a book.  I’m not saying rip it off, I’m just saying that a break from the head-pounding might give your wee little brain a chance to chill out, start firing off on some different neural passages than the tried and true, beaten down ones you’ve been stomping away at. 

4.     Vacation!  Sit on a beach with your notebook.  If that doesn’t grease the idea skids, I don’t know what will.  Can’t get away at the moment?  Hang up your hammock and take a ten minute swing.  Draw a bath and soak for a few.  Stick a little umbrella in your margarita.

5.     Have a few of those margaritas.  Ideas will pop up like dandelions.  Not all will be viable when the high wears off, but some might be saved for future use.

6.     Watch a movie.  That’s all.

7.     Stuck in a rut?  Think of something really nasty-mean to do to your character(s).  See what they do when they’re bit by a venomous scorpion.  Have them catch their spouse cheating.  They’re out of Lucky Charms and it’s breakfast time!!!!!  Do they go on a killing rampage or just go to the store?  It is a true test of character to let them react to a situation.

8.     Eat chocolate.  It’s sure fire.  Or maybe just delicious.

9.     Exercise.  You need to after all of the chocolate and alcohol anyway.  Go for a walk, a run, a yoga video.  Best to be done alone, otherwise you’re just gossiping with your girlfriend or listening to your four-year old whine about how long it is taking you to do your workout and how he needs more fruit snacks.

10.    Listen to music!  This is my favorite way to be inspired.  I have a soundtrack for just about every piece of writing I do.  Sometimes my story is born of a song.  Sometimes I think of the perfect music to go with a particular character or plot line as I go.  Playing those songs inevitably gets me in the mood to build on that world or story line. 

Try it.  Better yet, try it with that margarita while swinging on your hammock.  Take a box of Ho Hos and your little notebook and you’ll be brainstorming in no time. 

              If not, at least it will still be a good time.


About Kimber Vale

Author of romance of all stripes. View all posts by Kimber Vale

10 responses to “Drano for Your Braino: 10 Ways to Unclog Your Writer’s Block

  • Randall

    Wonderful ideas, sure do appreciate this.


  • Kim Krodel

    Reblogged this on KimKrodel and commented:
    Break out the plunger.


  • David C. Cassidy

    Great post. #8 and #9 are my favorites … but they COLLIDE! Which is why I “run” to the store to get the chocolate. 🙂


  • Michael Cargill

    I was going to suggest exercise myself actually until I got to number 8.

    It’s weird how I can be grimacing and thinking about nothing at all when POW! An idea pops into my head.


  • allanbard

    Excellent suggestions, indeed! I used some of them successfully…;). Like exercises, movies, reading (not only books, but magazines, some science articles, etc), eating, but not only chocolate ;), there are many other delicious things that deserve anyone’s attention…
    I guess any writer would like a suggestion of mine too: using sites like zazzle.com, cafepress. com, fiverr? They could be a good way to promote your works and to help “remove” stupidity in the streets like headlines on t-shirts, fridge-magnets, cups, etc: My Boyfriend kisses Better Than Yours, FBI – female body inspector, etc. Not everything we see and think of should be about sex, right? It would be much better if there were more nice pictures (even of mythical creatures), good thoughts, poems (from any genre are welcome I guess), etc? I’m allanbard there, I use some of my illustrations, thoughts, poems from my books (like: One can fight money only with money, Even in the hottest fire there’s a bit of water, Money are amomngs the last things that make people rich, or
    Let’s watch the moon, let’s meet the sun!
    Let’s hear soon the way the Deed was done!
    Let’s listen to the music the shiny crystals played,
    let’s welcome crowds of creatures good and great…
    etc). Such lines sound and look much better than the usual we see every day, right? Best wishes! Keep up the good work! Let the wonderful noise of the sea always sounds in your ears! (a greeting of the water dragons’ hunters – my Tale Of The Rock Pieces).


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