Quick Tip: Ask This Question When You Have No Idea What to Write Next

The simple act of writing can sometimes reinvigorate your creativity. With this quick writing tip from Jane K. Cleland, you can unlock a world of new opportunities within your story.
Author:
Publish date:
Image placeholder title

If you have no idea what to write next, ask yourself:

“What is the most unexpected thing that could happen in my story?”

Write that. You may not keep it, but the simple act of writing can sometimes reinvigorate your creativity. In fact, some authors find typing a favorite passage from someone else’s work reignites their own creative flames.

The bottom line is that you must persevere and get something down on paper.

Ruth Chessman, who was published in multiple genres for more than 50 years, once said, “Writers write.”

Author and literary agent Paula Munier has a similar take: “Don’t get it right. Get it written.”

Their point is that you can fix subpar output, but if you haven’t written anything, you have nothing to revise.

As you discover your internal editor’s capability and commitment to help you whip even the roughest first draft into publishable shape, you’ll build confidence in your abilities. This confidence begets more writing which begets yet more confidence, creating a snowball of success, which in turn serves to draw out your inner muse and quiet your internal critic.

Read more in the September 2018 issue of Writer's Digest, or subscribe to get WD all year long.

Image placeholder title
Cleland_1:17

Jane K. Cleland: On Writing the Successful Long-Running Series

Award-winning mystery author Jane K. Cleland describes what it's like to write a long-running book series and offers expert advice for the genre writer.

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: #StartWrite, Virtual Conference, and New Courses

This week, we’re excited to announce free resources to start your writing year off well, our Novel Writing Virtual Conference, and more!

20_most_popular_writing_posts_of_2020_robert_lee_brewer

20 Most Popular Writing Posts of 2020

We share a lot of writing-related posts throughout the year on the Writer's Digest website. In this post, we've collected the 20 most popular writing posts of 2020.

Malden_1:16

Carla Malden: Writing With Optimism and Innocence

Screenwriter and author Carla Malden explains why young adult fiction and the '60s go hand-in-hand and how she connected with her main character's voice.

writing_mistakes_writers_make_talking_about_the_work_in_progress_robert_lee_brewer

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Talking About the Work-in-Progress

The Writer's Digest team has witnessed many writing mistakes over the years, so we started this series to help identify them for other writers (along with correction strategies). This week's writing mistake writers make is talking about the work-in-progress.

Kelly_1:15

Greta K. Kelly: Publishing Is a Marathon

Debut author Greta K. Kelly reveals how the idea for her novel sparked and the biggest surprise of her publication journey.

Poetic Forms

Mistress Bradstreet Stanza: Poetic Forms

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at the Mistress Bradstreet stanza, an invented form of John Berryman.

capital_vs_capitol_grammar_rules_robert_lee_brewer

Capital vs. Capitol (Grammar Rules)

Learn when to use capital vs. capitol with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.

Dulan_1:14

On Writing to Give Grief Meaning and Write Out of Challenging Situations

Author Lily Dulan explains why writers have to be willing to go to difficult places inside themselves for their writing to make a positive impact on ourselves, others, and the world.