Creative Writing/Creative writing-short stories
Hello. I used to LOVE to write, and enjoy writing short stories in particulate. However I stopped because I didn't think anything I wrote was good enough, even though I received a lot of praise from others. This was several years ago though, and I would like to start writing again. But I seem to have a bad case of writers block. Any suggestions on how to get started again? Also, where I could I get some ideas on what to write about? Thank you for your time. I appreciate it.
Great question, as this is a problem that hits all writers, professional or otherwise, at some point (or even some points!) in their life.
The answer is two part: practical and fundamental.
The practical solution is just writing prompts. There are plenty of applications, software and websites that offer writing prompts, some even cater to particular styles of writing (poetry, short story, essay, etc.). I often use the Writer's Digest website for poetry (which I am currently focusing on right now#. You can essentially create your own prompts yourself by, for example, looking at random pages in the dictionary for words or looking through a magazine or newspaper for images or ideas.
Personally I like looking at philosophical and scientific ideas on wikipedia to get ideas for stories. I find plots and characters fairly easy to come up with, but I like stories to also have a message or an underlying idea behind them as well. Looking up psychology can give you ideas for characters, as well. For instance, have you ever heard of borderline personality disorder? Look it up and try making a story where the main character has it!
More fundamentally, though, forgiveness is the key. I'm not talking about forgiving sin but rather forgiving yourself for making mistakes or making crap #and they will both happen#. Most writers seem to assume that writing is or should be based on inspiration and creativity. It's not. It's mostly based on hard work and consistency. As is often said #and I'm going to paraphrase here), writing is one part inspiration and nine parts perspiration. What this means is, most of it is junk, but that's ok, because you need to force that junk out of your system and develop the HABIT of writing in order to engender that creativity. You have to be able to forgive yourself for your mistakes and less than optimal writing in order to give the good stuff permission to come out. What this means is write NO MATTER WHAT. Write badly. Write lazily. Write in cliches and about things that have already been written a million times. Write about silly things. Write in ways that make you feel uncomfortable. Use the same word ten times. When you can't think of an appropriate adjective, just write "good" or "bad." You can always come back to it and fix it later, or even just throw it out altogether.