1. Cut the stress and stop worrying. You can either solve your problems or block them out. Writing is a sure cure for depression, pain etc. It is a wonderful therapy.
2. Take a break without thinking. Play music, relax, take a bath, lie in the dark or gaze up into a cloudless sky, go for a walk. Relax and do something completely different for a while.
3. Stimulate your creativity by making use of different media, TV, video, film, books, music, newspapers, talking to people, the more variety of sources the better. Jot down any ideas that spring to mind.
4. Release your imagination as you do boring chores such as ironing or gardening, or walk the dog. Develop a hobby which occupies your hands but not your mind. With practise you can learn to operate this ‘day-dreaming’ process at any time of day, and whatever you are doing. Writers learn to live in two worlds.
5. Silence. Hold your mind in perfect quietness. Take a lie down. Close your eyes and hold the character in your head and centre your thoughts on him/her. He/she should gradually come to life, move and speak in your head. Before quite falling asleep go back to your desk and write down what they say. Now consider the character’s motivation which makes them behave the way they do.
6. Write the first thing which comes into your head when you wake in a morning. Then note a time in your diary which you intend to set aside to write. When the time comes write without stopping or criticising your work.
7. Talk yourself through your plot problem before you go to sleep at night. Then close your mind and let your subconscious mind solve it.
8. When the going gets tough, do research. Reading about a subject or period can often bring forth a flow of ideas.
9. Random thoughts. The left side of the brain deals with everyday matters, the right side is the creative unknown area. So forget about why you can’t work out a plot and just jot down random thoughts and practical possibilities. Then think - What If? Each idea can be developed as a flow chart. Remember you can dig deeper as you write.
10. Don’t be too critical. The left side of the brain will argue, reason and shoot down in flames any idea or inspiration from the intuitive right hand side, if you allow it. Don’t! It can have its turn later when it comes to editing.
Finally - give yourself time. Writing a novel is not a process that can be rushed, and you don’t need to know every detail before you start. Plan a little, then free-wheel for a bit and see what happens. Remember: The best ideas come when you are actually writing.