Life can sometimes exhaust you to the point where your creative well seems empty, but I assure you there is always something there in the depths. You just need the right trigger to bring it out. There are several strategies I use when I feel like my brain is too exhausted to think creatively.
These are the four strategies I use most often to find new ideas:
1. Brainstorm. I use a few different brainstorming techniques depending on how I’m feeling. Sometimes I do a basic mind map around the story I need to work on. I particularly like the Calling Down Lightning technique invented by Holly Lisle, which you can learn more about here.
2. Research. Sometimes all it takes is learning about something new and interesting to get you inspired. You do have to be careful with this one, so stick to one site or one documentary. I’ve gotten dozens of ideas from history and mythology, but you might find yours in science or psychology.
3. Read something. Originally this said ‘read something awesome’, but sometimes reading terrible things is just as inspiring. The best advice is to read widely as often as you can. Read everything. Sometimes I find it helpful to focus on stories in my genre, other times I find I get more from reading the complete opposite.
4. Ask the internet. When all else fails, sometimes you have to ask the internet. You can either ask Google anything or straight up ask your social media networks for ideas relating to your project. I like to ask Twitter for blog post ideas, and I actually got this one from @RedParrots, a dear friend from Nanowrimo.
Some people like to use writing prompts from the internet, and I do occasionally go to The First 50 Words, but I rarely find prompts that lead me anywhere successful. These techniques are far better for specific projects, and I use them far more often than any prompt book or traditional writing site.
How do you fill your creative well?