A Quick and Effective Way to Shuffle Your Writing Brain

This is going to be a short one, but it’s surprisingly useful if you’re stuck in your writing. It’s simple and can be used for general cobweb-clearing purposes.

Randomly pick up a couple dozen novels from your shelves. This works with books you’ve read and ones you haven’t, though I prefer as-yet-unread novels for reasons that will become clear. I suppose non-fiction is just as useful but fiction just seems to do it for me. Short story collections work, too, of course. Look, I just want to get through this once without you interrupting, ok?

Sit in your comfy chair. Pen and notepad are allowed but not necessary. The point isn’t finding specific solutions to specific problems but breaking the logjam when you can’t write. Beverage and Depends as needed.

As rapidly as you can, read the first page of every one of the books. You could open to a random page, too. I prefer the page-one approach. I’m too busy to explain why.

There are many ways you can mix this up. Use books of the type you’re writing now, or books from any genre BUT the one you’re writing in. Only books from women. Books with unhappy endings.

I suspect you will not get through your whole stack of 24+ books. Ideas will start moving. You’ll wonder where the characters will go next and come up with your own answers. You’ll have a collection of fresh opening images, showing you how other writers do it.

Give it a real try–get the stack together and read one page from each of the books.

I promise you will become unstuck.

I’m doing this today, mostly with books I’ve previously read (because storage):

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Give it a shot.

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