Jump Starting Creativity

Last night I sat in front of my laptop preparing to pick up from where I left off the last time I wrote. At first, I reread the last paragraph. For some reason I could not think of where to go from the last sentence. Then, reading turn to rereading, then to staring blankly at the page, as if trying to will the plot to unfold for me. Now I know that I’m not suffering from writer’s block, because I have plenty of ideas for stories. But from where I left off in this particular story I was having some difficulty finding the best way to proceed.

In an effort to try and jump start some creativity on this story, I thought about different methods of exercises to boost creative thinking that I’d read about in the past. I tried a couple to see if I could get those creative juices flowing.

At first I tried simply to write about something from my past as a means of just getting something down on paper, so to speak. I dug deep in the road about 500 words about a birthday party that I had when I was 5 years old. I tried to remember as many details as I could- from the weather, which was cool and a bit drizzly, to the location, my grandparents house that they had recently purchased and we’re in the process of renovating.

This exercise helped me to think any more visual way. But when the exercise was done and I was back in my project, I still wasn’t feeling creative. I decided to set this project aside and see if maybe trying to write on one of my other projects would help. So I opened up my work in progress folder and searched through the files to see if I could find one that appealed to me.

I skimmed through, thinking how ridiculous it was to try and write for a different story when I was having trouble with the one that I was currently working on. But as I scrolled down, I happen to see one of my projects that I started years ago. It was a scifi story that I began with a lot of passion. But I lost confidence in it somewhere along the way. I don’t think it was because it was a bad story; in fact, I remember thinking that the basic plot was actually pretty good, and I really enjoyed some of the characters I created.

I open up the file and scrolled through the story. It was a little over 40 pages long. And although I saw a few things that I definitely would like to change, I started to see something close to what I saw when I first started putting the words down. So I went from skimming the manuscript to actively reading it. Reacquainting myself with the plot as I had written it back in about 2010, I started to get some ideas on how to improve the current content, as well as how to continue the story to its conclusion. Once I reach the last paragraph of what had been written I immediately begin typing. In the end I worked on this project for about 3 hours, and somehow 1000 words more. And during this time somewhere in my subconscious, my brain was working away at how to continue with the project I had issues with earlier.

Once I reached a natural stopping point for my scifi story, I decided to put some words down for my current work in progress. I  must have ended up in the zone or something, because I ended up writing another 500 words. And now it looks like I have three works in progress now: my sequel to Mademoiselle Durand and the Pirates, my as yet unnamed companion story to the Mademoiselle Durand series, and now my long abandoned science fiction story tentatively titled Cruising the Universe with Buddy (this will likely change).

Has anyone else rediscovered a story that they had abandoned while trying to jumpstart their creativity? Did it lead anyone to new ideas for both stories? I love to hear about other writers’ experiences.

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