By: Kenneth C Hoffman
Every writer has to cope with dry periods. The creative mind has to be in a receptive mood before a piece of writing can be initiated. My favorite method to break the stalemate is to talk to strangers or friends, introducing various topics and promoting discussions. Every experience I have had in life can be matched by memories of another person. It is the different perspective that lends truth to a story and triggers the writing process. The more people you contact whom are willing to rap about their experiences, the more fodder you will get for your writing.
If your conversation partner absolutely disagrees with your personal opinions, you can write about the different sides of an argument. If they have had similar experiences to yours, you can write about serendipity or expand on the topic with refreshed ammunition. It always surprises me when I discover a stranger's take on a situation, priorities that differ widely and results that stretch the imagination.
An empathetic attitude is helpful when drawing out personal experiences from a virtual stranger. No-one likes to be in the wrong or made to feel that they made a bad decision in life. Sympathetic noises fuel the conversation and prompt deeper revelations than otherwise likely. I have found that most conversations of this sort have opened up new vistas in my thinking and have even spurred me to higher levels of enlightened thought.
Just a newbie writer.