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By Darlene L. Turner

It’s every writer’s worst nightmare. That dreaded blinking cursor on a white screen. The thoughts and storyline just won’t come. We’ve tried hard in preparing our stories, but then when the rubber meets the road . . . the words become stagnant.

At least this is how I’ve been feeling over the past while. I have great intentions of getting lots of words written. I finished my character sketches, started the plotline, but when I sat down at my computer, the cursor stared at me. The following thought rushed through my mind.

Where are the words?

Or worse yet . . .

Will they ever come?

Have you gone through something similar? Have you had a dry season where every word you typed felt forced? What can we do when this happens? Well, here are some thoughts and ideas on how we can help with this issue.

Step away from the keyboard (or page if you’re writing) – Take a break and perhaps go for a walk or play music to clear your mind. Do mindless house chores. This sometimes frees up those thoughts you were trying so hard to write. They can pop into your mind while you’re doing the dishes or laundry. Then after a break, get back to it!

Read – Reach for that book you’ve been putting off reading. Sending your mind to an imaginary world can sometimes spark creativity. It can help give you ideas of your own or put those needed words into your head. Finally! Read as much as you can.

Go somewhere out of the norm to write – Need to be inspired? Take your laptop or journal to your favorite café and write. It’s a great way to sit and watch others interacting and maybe catch a few conversations (inconspicuously of course). They can trigger new ideas.

Go on a writer’s retreat – Book a weekend away to write. Plan a quarterly trip. This could be for one night or more depending on your pocket book. There’s just something to be said about getting away from our homes to write. It forces us to put our fingers to keyboard or pen to paper.

Watch a movie – There’s a fine line here of getting too wrapped up in TV, but sometimes watching a movie or show will help your creativity. Try it!

Pray – This one should really be number one, but I wanted to close with it. There’s nothing like taking your concerns to the Lord. Ask Him to give you the words you need and the creativity. I always ask him to give me “His” words, not mine. I want to write for Him. He has the perfect story for you.

These are a few ideas that have helped me get my inspiration back and words on the blank screen. You may have others.

Let’s stop being scared of that blinking cursor, but use it to remind us of why we write. We write for Him. He will give us the words we need because they’re His.

How about you? What other ideas do you have to spark creativity? Share with us.

Darlene L. Turner writes romantic suspense. She won the 2017 ACFW Genesis award (Romantic Suspense), was a finalist in the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense and won in 2016. She lives with her husband in the Forest City of London, Ontario. She’s represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency. Visit Darlene at where she believes there’s suspense beyond borders.


Comments 6

  1. Excellent suggestions! Very tried and true. Another thing that helps me is to talk to someone about my story. It doesn’t even have to be another writer. SO often, my sister (who isn’t even a fiction reader!) will come up with a great suggestion when I start talking about the dilemma I’m facing with my plot or characters. And sometimes, just talking it out aloud helps me start seeing new ideas or possibilities.

  2. Chocolate is very inspiring and/or comforting. 😉 My dog says going for a walk is the best way to get past being blocked. I’m sure my hubby thinks housecleaning and cooking would help me get over the hump, but . . . he’d never say so aloud. LOL

    All kidding aside (although there is truth to all of the above), besides praying, I have found drawing cluster maps (mind-mapping) of all the directions I could go with the scene or the character or writing down all kinds of questions I should be asking him or her about himself or the situation helps me to find my way around a story block.

  3. Thanks Darlene for an encouraging post. I find walking helpful when I’m stuck creatively; there’s something about fresh air and sunshine and walking past people’s houses and gardens that seems to inspire as I pray and contemplate other people’s lives. Plus I feel virtuous – especially when I’ve been searching for inspiration from chocolate like Sandra suggested!

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