Do you ever feel like you’re in a writing slump?
You can’t find a project worth committing to, or you have so many ideas, you can’t choose just one. You fill your notebooks and journals, but you can’t find a sense of purpose in what you’re doing. Maybe you spend a lot of time thinking about writing but can’t find the time to actually write.
Sometimes, the best plan is to make a plan. Instead of writing in circles or fretting about your projects (or lack thereof), stop and think about what you want to achieve or explore with your writing. Make a list of creative writing projects that you can sink your teeth into, and then choose one and see it through to the end. You’ll come out of it with a sense of accomplishment and purpose.
Ideas for Creative Writing Projects
Whether you’re stuck in a slump or caught up in a whirlwind of projects that are vying for your attention, reviewing your options is the single best way to get refocused. You might decide that you need a big, long-term project that will keep you busy for months, or you might choose something short and simple that you can finish quickly. You might realize that you don’t need a project at all — what you need is to develop better writing habits and practices so you can stick with your craft.
Below is a list of ideas for creative writing projects. This list is meant to inspire you to think about your personal goals as a writer so you can make sound decisions about what to focus on in the near future.
- Make a chapbook, a little thematic collection of essays, stories, or poems (or all of these). Print copies and bring them to readings or your local indie bookstore, or make an ebook and sell it or give it away online.
- Start a blog. Give yourself a public space in which to write, put your voice out there, and stick to a regular writing schedule.
- Set aside twenty minutes every day for a month to write in your journal or notebook. Write whatever you want during those twenty minutes; just make sure you do it every day. When the month is over, review what you’ve written. Do you see a theme? Can you harvest this material for some poems or a story?
- Write for change. Find something you’re passionate about and affect change through writing (a blog is great for this).
- Participate in NaNoWriMo. It happens every November, and you can spend the months before NaNo plotting, outlining, and sketching characters.
- Select a handful of books on the craft of writing and read them for half an hour a day until you’ve finished them all. Be sure to take notes. When you’re done, make a list of things you’ve learned. Note: reading will inspire you and make you a better writer.
- Pull together a collection of your work and then go to an open mic and read one of your pieces aloud to the audience.
- Read everything you’ve ever written. Go through all your files and notebooks. You’ll see that your writing has improved over time, and you may find some old projects that are worth dusting off and revisiting.
- Submit something. If you’ve accumulated a lot of writing over the years, there’s a good chance you have a few publishable pieces. Why keep them hidden away?
- Write a personal statement about writing. Why do you write? What do you love about writing? What are your goals? The very act of writing a personal statement will shed light on an otherwise murky path.
- Re-imagine your favorite story. Take an old legend or fairy tale and give it a modern twist. Start with an outline, and if your concept works, develop it into a short story, novel, or screenplay.
- Get personal. Write a polished personal essay about an experience you’ve had that you think is worth sharing. If the project intrigues you, let it expand into a memoir, or fictionalize it and turn it into a novel.
- Try something new. If you always write fiction, try to write a song lyric. If you’re stuck on poetry, try writing a personal essay. Change genres: if you’re a romance writer, give science fiction a spin.
- Find seven writing exercises that intrigue you. and then set aside twenty minutes a day for a week to tackle those writing exercises. When you’re done, make a list of things you learned. Can you turn any of those exercises into a bigger project, like a short story or a poem? A book?
What are some of your favorite creative writing projects? If you have any ideas to add to this list, please share them in the comments. And keep writing!