Recently I have been struggling with a complete brain shutdown. I start to write and then... *poof*. All of the ideas that were in my head were suddenly gone, and I was left staring at a blank sheet of electronically projected paper.
So here, I am asking for help. To all you fellow writers, how have you overcome your brain shutdown over the years?
Talk into a recorder. Sometimes, writers can tell their stories much better and easier than they can write them. I'm just the opposite myself; I write easier than I talk. Even better, record a conversation with a fellow writer or close friend about different stories or ideas. Lots of things pop out in that kind of back and forth. Little notepads are great to carry around to jot down thoughts or things you happen to see or hear. Join a writer's group. That's about it for me.
Write down an idea as soon as it pops into your head. Don't assume you'll remember it days later, because you won't, kinda like what you're going through right now.
When I was writing my first book, I would have all these ideas for other stories constantly popping into my imagination. So, I would stop writing just long enough to type in a few notes about my new story idea, save it, and then continue on with my current story. Had I waited until I was ready to start writing these other stories, I wouldn't have remembered a single one. As it is, I now have ideas for eight other books. And when I would get a vision for a new chapter in my current work, I would add a page at the end of my work, jot down the idea, and then get back to the part I was already working on.
There are always ways to remember your ideas, but only if you're willing to take just a second to retain them.
Of course a writer needs a notepad and old-fashioned Ticonderoga #2 near to hand. And I know that I'm not alone in having conjured a brilliant idea just before dropping off into a coma, then having no memory of it in the morning. Sitting there, fingers poised, brain AWOL, and the page or screen a flat blank. Just to get my ancient grey blob slightly thawed I look at my stories that never sold. There are more than several. I give one a good look, wondering what those editors either did see and didn't like or simply were turned off by. I work on the piece until I figure out how to make it right or the excercise takes me to another idea entirely. When all else fails I go through life experiences and I always come up with a memoir. And most of them have sold.