The What If Game


The fast and fun way out of writer's block.

I don’t get writer’s block. I just get stuck. I think that’s what happens to most of us. We get confused about where our story is heading or about what scene should come next. But we can always write something.

And that’s exactly what I used to do. I’d get stuck in the middle of my story and go start something else. Until eventually I had a dozen half-written stories piling up and collecting dust. Nowadays, I know the importance of finishing what I start. But I still get stuck.

So how do I escape from behind the massive walls of confusion and doubt?

Play the what if game!

To play the what if game, all you need to do is start listing possibilities. They don’t have to be probable — or even possible. They can be totally absurd. Treat the what if game like a stream-of-consciousness exercise. Don’t think about it, just write down the first thought that pops into your head. Then the next. And the next. And so on.

Here’s a screenshot of the what if game I played today:
The What If GameAs you can see, some ideas are silly. But as the game progressed the ideas became more interesting. In fact, I’m getting excited to dive into one or two of these.

In less than five minutes I freed myself from writer’s block!

You may make a list of a hundred what ifs and only use one. Maybe you won’t use any. That’s fine. Because I guarantee that simply doing the exercise will spark your imagination. You’ll gain insights into your characters and come up with questions about your story that need to be answered.

Just don’t think too hard. If you’re anything like me, that’s the best way to keep yourself stuck. 🙂


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge