Writers – From Blank Screen to Story

Unblocking Exercise – Word Trains


By Annette Rey


Are you short on ideas? How do you inspire ideas? Try this.


My technique is simple. Pick words. It’s sort of the old psychiatric test, free association. Say the first word that comes to your mind when you hear another word. It is my contention, the human brain cannot stop thinking. One word inspires the birth of another.  


But my idea is to go on and on, a train of words, each leading to another one.


Write them down. After about ten (or twenty) links, look at your list. Is there a coherent connection, or even an incoherent one? What would your series of words say with some words written between them? 


Here’s a few of mine.


Psychology – doctor – medicine – pain – pills – addiction – dreams – nightmare – fear – death –


Roses – scent – sweet – ice cream – circus – lion – bite – hospital – recovery – roses.

Pennies – dollars – greed – scam – Wall Street – scandal – broker – crime – prison – release –


Elephant – poaching – black market – jungle – illegal – game wardens – firefight – capture – defeat –


Make a page length list of word trains. Quickly pick any word – animal, vegetable, mineral, dinosaur… Just freely associate. Don’t preplan. When you review what you have written, your naturally creative mind will develop stories, articles, posts, poems.

Do not give imaginary writer’s block any credence. Believe it does not exist. And it doesn’t, as I explained in other posts. So-called writer’s block is your response to negative dialogue in your head. Reprogram your head with positive statements. I can write. I am creative. I’m not fat, ugly, miserable, depressed. I am a writer. Ideas are available. They are many. And they are free. 


Go with it.






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