The Thirty-Forty

Ladies and gentlemen, right in this blog post here I hold the answer to writer’s block.  As well, this answer will solve your troubles with the boogie man, and even cure a fatal case of the cooties.

For the nominal fee of continuing to read this post, you too can have the answer.

Alright, here it is—they don’t exist.  Writer’s block was invented by lazy writers who didn’t want to say they were just tired of writing.  It’s as ridiculous as that muse crap the Greeks believed in.

With that out of the way, let’s talk about what’s even crazier than writer’s block—writers who say they never have any story ideas.  Crazy, because I have too many.  I have a word document full of unused ideas I’ve thought up over the years.  In addition, if I really do find myself in a situation where I’m not interested in any of my unused ideas and no new ones are coming to me, I have a fool proof way to generate some fresh, hot premises.

The Thirty-Forty; Thirty story ideas in forty minutes.  The name explains the concept, but there’s a little more to it.

One day in Geometry I was bored, with nothing to do, and about forty minutes left in class.  That part actually happened every day.  This next bit didn’t.  I decided that in those forty minutes I would write out thirty story ideas.  It passed the time pretty well, and it gave me some interesting concepts to work with.  I almost ran out of time, so idea number thirty is simply “A car is alive.”  But the other twenty-nine were more elaborate.  Granted, there were only about five good ideas , with another five that were crummy but had contained one or two intriguing factors.  But that’s really the key to a successful thirty-forty—write everything.  Don’t try to make any of them good, just write the first thing that comes to your mind, expand it a bit, and move on to the next idea.  If you write every the stupid, derivative, or downright bizarre idea you’re bound to put down some pretty interesting ones as well.  And of course, the number of stories and time limit is arbitrary—it’s just what I thought sounded nice, and seems to work pretty well for me.

If a thirty-forty doesn’t leave a writer flooded with ideas, they probably need to read more, get inspired.  Or plagiarize even, just do something.

Now, one last tip for writing a Thirty-Forty—do it in a dull setting with little to stimulate you.  I once did a thirty-forty at my  cluttered writing desk, and just kept wanting to write ideas about scotch tape and staplers.

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