A good writing exercise is to just sit down and write. The technical term for it is free writing. I call it rambling in my journal. A lot of my blogs start out as rambles in my journal. I often write the entire blog in my journal. Then I move it to the Scrivener file I have for my journal. I edit it there before I post it to the website. That’s my process. I sometimes will move bits and pieces of a blog to the Scrivener file and, after I figure I have enough, edit it into something that is coherent and makes sense.
I can’t tell you how many starts to a blog are sitting in my journal – abandoned because I could tell that they weren’t going anywhere. They were ideas that I thought would make good blogs but I couldn’t get many words on the subject. So I abandoned the ideas. I did not delete them. Rambling in a journal is good exercise for your writing “muscle” which is your brain. Just because the ramblings are not full pieces of writing doesn’t mean that they don’t have value, you can easily see what you have tried and what hasn’t worked. That can be important. Besides, what didn’t work today may well work next week or a year from now. It’s good to have the text to refer to.
Sometimes just writing down a jumble of words can clarify your thoughts. It’s all good even when the writing is bad, it can usually be fixed. All you have to do is get the rough draft out of your head where you can see it and go from there. Rambling is actually fun. I like rambling in my journal. I can’t do it in conversation, but I can do it in my journal.
Free writing is a good idea generator. This blog was born of free writing. I just sat down at my desk and started writing one day, while thinking of the blog and what I needed for it. The idea came from that. I let it percolate in my mind for a while and then sat down again and let my thoughts loose on the topic. You are reading the result. At least, you are reading a revised version of this blog. Free writing rarely produces a pristine, ready-for-posting draft. At best, you get a very rough draft.
So if you should find yourself stuck for an idea. Just sit down and start writing. It doesn’t matter what you write, just start writing. It also doesn’t matter if you use pen and paper, a computer or dictate your words on tape. You just have to start the words flowing and I guarantee that something will come to you – eventually. You might produce a lot of nothing, but eventually you will come up with an idea. Just let your mind go and it will give you what you need. It may not come quickly, but it will come – as I said, eventually.