Although we’ve long-since established that coming up with ideas is not a problem, I do sometimes go out of my way to generate them, either because I feel like my brain needs the exercise, or because I’m trying to put off writing a tricky passage in the serialised novel (which, to avoid confusion, is not Resurrection Joe, which is only a possibly-going-to-be-serialised novel). Probably my favourite way is to write for 5 minutes without stopping, usually starting from a given phrase or sentence.
I learnt that trick from a writing workshop I went to a few years ago and it’s stood me in good stead: my 365 Tomorrows story emerged from a page of mix-and-match first lines and genres that OneMonkey came up with for me. The idea is that you keep writing no matter what, so if you’re stuck you just write nonsense, the first words that come into your head, and it’s surprising what you can come up with when you free yourself up like that. Even if some of it’s complete rubbish, you’ll still have a few good lines or images. As the Human League said: When you’re concealing, try revealing – open your heart. Or in this case open the direct line from your subconscious to your keyboard.