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Ideas for Unleashing the Creativeness in Your Writing

Ideas for Unleashing the Creativeness in Your Writing

Maybe you're the fortunate type of person who can always think of something to write about. Or perhaps you're more like the rest of us and sometimes just can't think of anything at all to write about. You want to write. You have the "itch" to write, but the ideas just aren't there. That doesn't mean you shouldn't write, though. In order to grow as a writer, you need to write at least a little every day – or as often as time permits. Just because you don't have an idea doesn't mean you shouldn't write. In fact, it's a good reason why you should. Exercise that "writing muscle" and more ideas will flow to you.

We're going to give our favorite writing prompts, then cover ways to write your own ideas once you have them.

The Golden Rule of Creative Writing

There isn't an official golden rule of creative writing, but if there were it would have to be "write even when you don't know what to write about." When you rack your brain trying to come up with an idea to write about, all you do is frustrate yourself, create tension in your body, and make producing an idea and putting it to paper seem like an insurmountable task. It just doesn't work well.

That said, the best time you can write is when you have no earthly clue what you want to write about. If that sounds ridiculous, it's understandable. However, by the end of this lesson, you'll see exactly what we mean.

Writing Prompt #1: Index Cards

This writing prompt can be extremely amusing to do. Start out by grabbing a pack of blank index cards, or cutting up paper into an even number of squares, (at least 20). Divide them up into even stacks of four.

1. On the first stack of cards, write down names of people you know. Put only one name on each card.

2. On the second stack, write down more names of people you know. These should be different names from the first. Don't worry if the people know each other or not. In fact, you don't have to know the person. You could write down "the old lady with blue hair and feathers that I saw at the post office."

3. On the third stack, write down places, such as the grocery store, the park, New York City, etc.

4. On the last stack, write down verbs, such as tripped, danced, skipped, etc. You could even write things like, "stuck his/her tongue out," "spit soda," etc.

5. Now shuffle each stack, keeping them separate. Turn them face down.

6. Turn the top card on first stack up. Let's say it's Aunt Linda who lives in the backwoods of Tennessee and has never been in a city.

7. Turn the top card on the second stack. Let's say it's Allen, the long haired neighbor who plays guitar and wants to be in a rock band.

8. Turn the third card up. Let's say it says New York City.

9. Now, the fourth card. It says, "Went dancing."

So now we have:

Aunt Linda and Allen went dancing together in New York City.

Write a few paragraphs about the two of them together and what happened when they went dancing. Since you know both people, you don't have to worry about creating characters. You can giggle as you write instead. Who knows! You may even come up with a character for a new story.

Writing Prompt #2: Five Paragraphs About Five Things

In this one, all you have to do is write five paragraphs about the five things you would do to entertain yourself if you didn't see another person for five days. When doing this prompt, there are some important things to remember: You don't have access to cell phone or land line;you do not have a computer (if you do, no Internet access); and you do not see or talk to another person for five days. If you write more than five paragraphs, that's great. You just have to write at least five.

Writing Prompt #3: The Dictionary

Grab a dictionary.Close your eyes and open the dictionary to a random page and point to a word (with your eyes closed). Open your eyes and write the word down, then close the dictionary again.

Repeat this step until you have four words. Then write an essay or short story using all the words. Whatever you write should be at least four paragraphs long.

Writing Prompt #4: Journaling and Story Ideas

You can keep a journal and use story and essay ideas such as these to get those "creative juices" flowing. If you want to write a fictional story, then you can always use one of these story ideas to get started writing.
  • Write a story about a man who has pet cockroaches that can do ballet.
  • Write a story that starts out with this sentence: She jumped when she heard the crash coming from somewhere behind her.
  • Write a story about Jen Williamson and Adam Muller. They inherit a chain of restaurants from a complete stranger, only to discover a chain of dead bodies comes with the restaurants. In the story, figure out why the stranger left them the restaurants and who killed the people.
  • Take a famous tag line and write a story after replacing one word of the tag line. For example: "Your way, but not today," instead of "Your way, right away."
  • Write about your favorite meal to cook, and why.
  • Describe your favorite character from a movie or a book. Explain why.
  • Write about what would happen if you had a monkey for a pet.

Writing Prompt #5: Observation

Observation is another form of journaling. This is a good prompt if you want to write articles and other pieces of news. Sit down and observe something nearby. It could be as simple as a pen, or as amusing as a child playing. Write at least 500 words about what you're observing. If you do this every day, you'll start to see newsworthy stories in mundane things. This, in turn, will inspire more ideas.

Writing Prompt #6: Freewriting

Freewriting is also known as stream-of-consciousness writing. If you can't think of ideas to write about, just write whatever comes to mind. Here's an example:
Writing this course is fun, but I can't wait to get to the fiction section. The television in the other room is a little loud. I wonder if it's still raining outside, if the clothes in the dryer are finished yet. I told my son to get in the bath. Is he still in there? I need to go check.

Writing Prompt #7: Webbing

Maybe you have an idea that you need to flesh out before you write it. Or perhaps you don't have an idea at all. You can use webbing in either one of these situations to help you.

Let's start out by showing you what to do if you don't have an idea you can use to write about. Just think of one word. It can be a subject matter that you want to use in a story, or it can be a certain type of story you want to write. Or it can just be any old word.

Draw a circle in the center of a sheet of paper and write the word in it.

Now write words that come to mind when you read that word. Write those words around the first word, as shown below.

Do the same thing with those new words.

As we did this, the idea for a spider that infects a bunch of people came to mind. It all started with the word computer.

You can also web story ideas. Start out with the main idea for a story, then create your web as we did above, by adding qualities, objects, people, or events. Keep working your way out, and you'll see that you flesh out your ideas right in front of your eyes.

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