Writers Un-block – Magazines!


coffee-newspaper-keyboardI used to write a piece called Writers Un-block about how writers can free up their minds of unnecessary blockers and get back to writing. How finding inspiration in the world around you can unfreeze your brain. I stopped the installment for a while, but thought it would be good to bring it back. It was time and this week I will be focusing on magazines and/or current events. Now, I am not saying to rip ideas directly from the headlines, but instead use those events to your advantage. Draw from them and open the story up. Take an event or a piece of an event and turn it on its head. Flip it, turn it, jiggle it, punch it and then put it on paper. You’d be surprised what you can glean from an article. A person has been discovered hiding in a large closet at Macy’s overnight. Now flip it: A person has been discovered hiding on a small island that was once used to house leprosy patients… what can you do with that? Lots. It could be scary, or sweet or tragic. Play around with it a while. This stuff won’t come easy, but it will come if you look for the right stimulus. That little snippet that sets your mind afire.

Here’s what you do. Peruse your local paper for cool stories, or go national. This may seem morbid, but scan the obituaries for inspiration for your mystery novel or just scan the crime section. If you are a sci-fi writer look in science fiction journals for the latest inventions then expand on them. Make them grander and put a spin on the science. It’s your world after all. Place that invention in the future and create an alternate outcome or downside to how that innovative design could potentially turn out. How it could create massive destruction.

Read medical journals and find inspiring health breakthroughs, or conversely, those that may be creatively inspiring, but heart wrenching, then create your story around it. There is always a great story in pain and suffering… don’t believe me? Well you aren’t reading enough. Another option is standing in line at the grocery store and flipping through those girlie mags. Those magazines are ripe for chick-lit pickins’. Check out the advice pages and see what questions people are asking. You could find your characters struggle through a concerned lover trying to figure out why he comes home late. Perhaps turn to the rag mags like US Weekly and take those juicy tidbits about celebrities to transform your story into one good enough to captivate millions of readers.

I think you get the idea. Creative stimulus is everywhere, you just have to know where to look and how to pull from it. You are probably skimming over hundreds of fantastic ideas everyday, you just didn’t know it. Motivation for your bestselling novel might be sitting in your bathroom as you read this article, so click “close” (no not really, read another article, because your inspiration might be here on Gliterary Girl) then open a word document and get to work. It’s now or never people!

Carpe Diem

Sara O'Connor
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