Kickstart your writing: Generate it until you make it

We all have periods where our inspiration dries up. Sometimes a long walk, a good book, or a hot shower can help rev our brains back up again. Sometimes none of those things work.

When you just wish you could write something, anything, I humbly suggest using a plot generator.

Plot generators are pretty much a dime a dozen, but here are a few favorites.

Archetype Writing’s Plot Generator a straightforward gen, includes a first idea and a line about a secondary character.
Evil Overlord Plot Generator is Teresa Nielsen Hayden’s delightfully silly SFF generator, which is based on “advice” for the main and secondary characters, and includes 3 “Murphy’s Laws of Combat”. After refreshing a few times, my current favorite Murphy’s is: If you can’t remember where you put it, the claymore is pointed at you. So true, Teresa. So true.
Seventh Sanctum has a whole directory of generators.
…and for when you don’t need plot help so much as name generation or a character building aide, Manon’s Serendipity directory takes prompting in a whole new direction.

Now the obvious temptation with generators is to just keep refreshing and giggling at the results, but exert a little control, remind yourself why you’re at the computer in the first place, and take the first prompt you get.

Seriously, no matter how crazy or “not you” it is.

Because, having a plot prompt be “not you” is a GOOD thing. It’ll make you stretch your limits, and help shake up the stymieing idea that everything you write has to be beautiful, genius, and SRS BSNS.

And even if you don’t like the results, at least you know you CAN write about a discontented secretary and her obsessive love for Post-Its. Or, it could end up being the most beautiful thing you’ve ever written. Whatever, you don’t know until you try. So take your prompt, set the alarm on your phone, and write for 10 minutes. Free-associate. Stray from the prompt, even. Just keep going. If, after 10 minutes, you really can’t squeeze anything out, refresh for another prompt and repeat the process.

If, after two attempts, you’re still not having any fun, it may be time to go load the dishwasher or something. But hey, you just wrote for 20 minutes, and when it comes to writer’s block, movement is everything.

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