Does writer's block ever get you down? Try putting together idea jars so that next time writer's block strikes, you'll be able to shake it. Here's how to do it:
1. Get two jars, or containers of some sort. (Don't obsess over this step! They don't need to be anything special, unless you want them to be!) Label one jar "ideas" and the other one "words."
2. Grab a newspaper or magazine, or head for your favorite news source online. Skim through the articles, looking for interesting stories, or a mediocre story with an interesting element. For instance, I just saw a story on MSN about two people being stung by scorpions on an airplane. In my view, that's an interesting story!
3. Jot tidbits of information and words on strips of paper. For the above story, I would jot, "man on plane bit by scorpion" and perhaps, "leg swells due to scorpion bite." I would also write some of the primary words on strips of paper such as, airplane, scorpion, bite, swell, venom, etc.
4. Put the words in the word jar, and the ideas in the idea jar.
5. Get into the habit of doing this regularly, as you read the newspaper, or even as you watch the news on T.V. Over time you'll collect a lot of words and ideas.
Next time writer's block strikes, grab the two jars and do the following:
1. Pull an idea from the idea jar, and pull three words from the word jar.
2. Set a timer for 30 minutes, and write like mad, using the idea and the three words you've drawn in your writing.
The fact that the words you've drawn may have nothing to do with the idea you drew is part of the challenge and part of the fun. The sheer silliness of it takes away from trying to "be serious" in your writing.
Don't worry about writing a masterpiece. You may not. But I'll bet this exercise will get you writing, make you smile, and perhaps got you out of your slump.