How to Write A Book When You’re Not Sure What You Want to Write

You want to write a book... But you’re not sure what you want to write.

Each time you face a blank word processor page, your mind goes blank too.

Some authors know exactly what they want to write. They tap the keyboard, and an hour later, they’ve created a complete outline for their book, or novel… or they’ve written at least one scene, and know exactly what will happen in scene two.

Other authors sneak up on their books. If you’re suffering from “empty mind” syndrome, chances are that you’re this kind of author.

Here are five easy and fun ways sneak up on your book.

1. Write Titles

You don’t have to write a book. You just have to write a title. The titles are just meant to jolt your imagination a little.

Brainstorm 20 to 50 titles; they can be as weird and wacky as you please.

2. Describe an Image

Working with images is a brilliant way to kickstart your imagination. I love browsing museum sites, to look at great paintings. They’re evocative.

You’ll find that as you’re describing an image, you’ll drop into a creative mind state, and before you know it, you’ve started writing your book.

3. Become a Collector

I’m an index card fanatic. I always carry a stack of index cards, and I note down ideas, quotes, and insights.

When I want to start a new book, and have no idea what I want to talk about, I grab a new stack of cards, and just write down sentences, descriptions, titles.

As the cards mount up, I enter them into a database (I use Bento). You can use a spreadsheet, if you don’t have a database application.

I usually create around 40 cards before I can see a definite pattern emerging, and know what I want to write.

From then on, I create a dozen or more cards a day.

When the time’s right, I create a synopsis or outline from the cards, and I’m ready to write.

4. Describe Your Greatest Fear (or Delight)

Emotions trigger creativity. (See Describe an Image, above.)

Write about what makes you happy, what upsets you… Before you know it, you’ll have an idea for a book, then you can start collecting cards, as we discussed above.

5. Use the News for Inspiration

Years ago, when I subscribed to a couple of daily papers, I’d clip anything which gave me an idea for an article, an essay, or a book. I had a filing cabinet crammed with clippings.

These days, I still clip, and still get inspired, but I use EagleFiler. (If you use Windows, OneNote is useful.)

You can use news stories to provide inspiration for many books.

Start clipping. 🙂

So there you have it; easy ways you can conquer the blank page, and sneak up on your book.

Do you have a favorite way you conquer the blank page? Please share in the Comments.

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Angela Booth is a top copywriter, multi-published author, and writing teacher. She offers many guides, courses and classes to help writers to enhance their skills on her websites. She also provides inspiration and motivation for writers on her writing blogs. Angela has been writing successfully since the late 1970s, and was online in the 1980s, long before the birth of the Web. Her business books have been widely published.