I’m convinced that there are two kinds of readers.
Okay, there are many kinds of readers. But for the sake of this post, let’s divide them into two categories: those who read for the plot, and those who read for the characters. Yes, you probably like both, but there’s a good chance you’re drawn to one more than the other.
Authors can be divided the same way: those whose strength is in keeping you interested about what’s happening next (plot), and those whose strength is in keeping you caring about who it’s happening to (characters).
You know those writers who have so many fiction ideas that they’ll never have time to write them all? The ones who sit down to write and, well, have something to say? Every single time?
Yeah, that can get annoying.
No offense if you’re that kind of writer. In fact, bottle some of that inspiration and start selling it. I’d love to have some on demand.
For some of us, it’s not that easy. Fiction ideas trickle in when they want to, it seems. And sometimes the stream seems to have been diverted somewhere upriver, leaving us high and dry.
I think my longest dry spell was about two years, although in my defense I was a sleep-deprived new mama at the time. It was almost enough to make me give up on writing fiction. I was doing a fair amount of ghostwriting non-fiction articles during that time. Just no fiction.
But the desire to write stories, to create characters and have things happen, didn’t go away. If only I knew who the characters were and what they were going to do.
Please tell me I’m not the only one: I’m ready to write, the blank page is there, and …. yeah. Nothing.
Frustrating isn’t even the word for it. It seems like the longer you sit staring at the page, the less the ideas jump into your head.
After years of dealing with this problem, I decided to start looking for ideas on getting ideas. (If nothing else, it would fill the time while I wasn’t getting any writing done.) I found some great ideas, some that worked for me and some that didn’t. And of course I tweaked things, as you do… The end result? I rarely, if ever, have trouble knowing what ideas I want to write about.