Don’t wait for writing inspiration to strike

One of the biggest mistakes aspiring writers make is to wait for “inspiration.” While there certainly are times in all authors’ lives that they are more creative and productive, you can’t idly hope that such a moment soon arrives. Instead, you need to practice and master your craft by writing constantly. Indeed, you arguably become more creative once you’ve immersed yourself in your craft.

There are several topics can take a pen to when inspiration doesn’t strike. If you’re stuck staring at a blank page, write about:
• What you have to say on a topic you know a lot about. If you’re a nurse, for example, there must be plenty of issues you encounter everyday – doctors with poor bedside manner, dysfunctional families, tragic accidents or ailments, debates over the right to die. Any of those could the basis for a good story and would be one you could offer unique insight into. If you want to write nonfiction, perhaps there is a topic you encounter everyday in the hospital that there is a dearth of information about.
• What people need to know about a topic. This is especially useful if you’re penning nonfiction. For example, if you a car mechanic, perhaps there are topics your customers constantly ask about. If you can’t decide what aspects of a topic readers need to know about, then read up on the topic and identify the gaps.
• Why you agree or disagree with the current outlook on a topic. Perhaps you think certain common policies or political trends are ridiculous. Tell us why. Of course, in fiction, there is the danger of becoming preachy by using such an approach, so you’ll need to subtly weave your position into a story.
• What others are overlooking. Ask what in your experiences are other writers not thinking and talking about that deserves more attention. For example, if a mental health counselor, perhaps you’ve found that there are no books out there about the mental anguish children face when abandoned by a deadbeat parent. This could make a great novel or a great self-help book for parents.

Any of these approaches can work if you’re stuck when writing a book and don’t know what the next section or chapter should say. And if you can’t think of a thing, always be honest with yourself – perhaps the problem is you need a new topic.

Finally, if utilizing these strategies, don’t fret if the writing isn’t of high quality. The initial draft rarely is, and that’s why we revise. But first you need to give yourself something – anything – to edit!


My name is Rob Bignell. I’m an affordable, professional editor who runs Inventing Reality Editing Service, which meets the manuscript needs of writers both new and published. I also offer a variety of self-publishing services. During the past decade, I’ve helped more than 300 novelists and nonfiction authors obtain their publishing dreams at reasonable prices. I’m also the author of the 7 Minutes a Day… writing guidebooks, four nonfiction hiking guidebook series, and the literary novel Windmill. Several of my short stories in the literary and science fiction genres also have been published.