Use these strategies to get inspired to write.
You’ve just found out that a Scripted client needs pitches, or you’ve taken an assignment for which you need to come up with a unique spin on a certain topic. You know you can handle it, but then a familiar fog creeps slowly over your brain, effectively putting a stranglehold on your creativity.
Experienced freelance writers are well acquainted with this feeling, but they also know how to deal with it. The good news? Writing inspiration abounds! If you’re stymied, take a deep breath, relax, close your eyes, and let your brain focus on images related to the topic at hand. As these images come to you, snap them up, keep the good ones, and discard the rest. If you’re still having trouble, here are some tricks to help you find pitches and topics, even when deadlines are looming.
Hit the Internet
If you’re looking for ideas about a certain topic, Google that topic to discover what others are writing about, keeping an eye out for updates and news items. A little research can yield a wealth of pitch ideas and story angles.
Get Out of the House
The writer Gabriel García Márquez always tells the story that he was taking his family for a drive one day when suddenly, out of nowhere, the perfect sentence came to him in a flash. He turned the car around, went straight to his study and began writing, starting with that first sentence — which became the opening line of his greatest masterpiece, 100 Years of Solitude.
Take a drive or go for a walk; you’ll find that it will help clear your head so you’ll have more room for ideas to take root. Haven’t you ever noticed how great ideas always seem strike you when you’re away from the computer?
See also: Five Crazy Cures for Writer’s Block
Save Your Pitches
If a pitch didn’t get accepted, you might be able to pitch it to someone else. If it did get accepted, you might still be able to recycle it (with a few tweaks) for a future client. Likewise, if you’ve written about the topic before, you might also be able to find inspiration in one of your completed pieces.
If you freelance for a living, your job is to come up with ideas at the drop of a hat. Whether you’re trying to initiate pitches, create article topics, or compose a storyline for your next novel, you’ll find that inspiration is more likely to come when your brain is relaxed and receptive. To get in the right frame of mind, remind yourself that your talent for writing enables you to do what you love for a living. Remembering this will not only build your confidence, but also help fuel your inspiration.
1) The Second Pass: Gabriel García Márquez: A Life by Gerald Martin
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Photo credit: Alan Cleaver