If someone asks, why stop writing, two answers that are often heard are no time and no ideas. Busy is a common reason, often used to avoid a situation, or a justification for an attitude. However, no dry idea is a special condition.
Is it true that we cannot write without ideas? Is it true that writing must start from an idea?
According to the Big Indonesian Dictionary (KBBI), an idea is a design of ideas in the mind or ideas. It is a momentary eruption that sometimes disappears immediately before we can write it down. Ideas are everywhere, anytime. Depending on how we prepare all the senses that exist to capture ideas and put them in written form. Ideas never dry and never empty. Ideas as much as the air around us, even when the air around it is empty, ideas still exist because the void of air is an extraordinary idea.
So, the problem is not the idea, but the writer who fails to capture the idea, or does not yet have a standard and strong concept of managing ideas.
Back to the question above. Are writers unable to produce an article without ideas?
I once read a message that was very inspiring and then I associate it in writing activities. He said:
Don't wait for the new rich to give alms, give alms then we will be rich. Do not wait for a happy new smile, smile then we will be happy. Don't wait for new ideas to write, but write then the ideas will come.
In conclusion, a writer must not be passive about ideas. Instead, it must develop a method for capturing ideas. And when it fails to capture any ideas, it must also not be passive. Just write even if there are no ideas. Writing without ideas? Seriously? What do you want to write?
I developed the concept of thinking upside down and asking myself questions. How about writing without ideas? Not just writing novels, but writing anything, fiction and nonfiction, long or short (writing), start without any ideas.
I'm sure there have been previous writings about the concept of writing without ideas. I avoid reading it so as not to intervene in the mind and interfere with the purity of my own ideas about this concept.
Between 1990 and 2000, I was very productive in writing short stories and non-fiction articles and often failed to grasp ideas. However, writing and reading activities continue. The target of sending a minimum of 10 posts per month makes me have to work hard and write. I have practiced the concept of writing without this idea for a long time. Some of them succeed, some even produce the best writing in my opinion and get appreciation from readers.
Writing without ideas gives you the freedom to express all your thoughts and feelings. There are no restrictions at all like writing with ideas. Jud Judkins in his book The Art Creative Thinking says, creative people explore in an open and experimental way; they do not start with the goal in mind, because the target ensnares them on the prescribed trail.
Judkins cited novelist William Burroughs, who was one of the most influential writers of modern culture, because he set out from clear thoughts and goals when writing a novel. Burroughs developed a technique called cut up to get unlimited alternatives from writing. He did not know what to write and what characterizations, ‘cause there was no idea about that. He only started with a sentence in a newspaper, or a sentence from whatever was seen or crossed his head.
This method is not wrong if tried even with a few adjustments to match the character of each writer.
I developed some writing techniques when ideas didn't exist, not new techniques because as the saying goes, nothing is new in the sun. At that time, I really did not know to define writing techniques without ideas, but immediately practiced writing. I think, a craftsman doesn't need to be able to make a definition of a chair. He is called a handyman because he can make chairs. Even if he is able to make a chair at once by definition, then that is the best of artisan.
Describe the situation
A situation can be obtained anywhere and be an option to start a writing. Come to a place, or if necessary don't come anywhere. Sit in front of the window and watch the situation outside.
It can also be in a market, shop, shopping center, campus, a seminar, a cafe, a place of worship, and so on. So many choices. A situation will involve several characters, then usually the conflict will be born by itself. How he was born, it is difficult to explain if not immediately write. Imagination will continue to develop when writing. A character for the sake of the character will be born with an unlimited number of choices.
Describe the figure and character
Someone with a unique character can be found anywhere. Writing about the person both in character and physical figure will open the opportunity to develop into conflict after conflict, both with other characters and with a situation.
I often pay attention to someone in the campus canteen to physically depict a character. Then, mixing the physical form with certain properties that are not necessarily the nature of the object. The characters of each person are different from one another, but there are the same characters. People will enjoy reading about other people who sometimes represent themselves.
Detailed places / views
Every morning there is a sunrise and every evening there is a sunset (except when it is cloudy we cannot see it clearly). The sun we see, both rising and setting, is still the same sun. However, when writing it in a different place, it will give a different feel, moreover influenced by differences in mood.
The scenery is not only the sun rising and setting. Many other locations can be written down, when there are no ideas. Many tourist destinations that have escaped our attention. Write in detail each inch, then the idea will come naturally.
There are many other methods that can be developed. Some of the options above can be tried one of them, or even combine several of them. When starting with one step, there will usually be an option for the next steps.
For writing novels that require longer breaths than short stories, usually there really must be an idea first. Usually not only limited to ideas, but the author has made an outline so that he already has a reference of what he wants and how to write it.
So, we do need ideas in writing, but not absolute. Writing without ideas can be done, even though there is still a risk that the writing will stop on the way. No problem, because later it can still be done again. As in a journey, stuck in the middle of the road was usual to take a short breath, rest, and rearrange the travel schedule. When it is refreshed, please continue with a more definite route and destination. The end result, arrived at the destination, which is born a beautiful, fresh, nutritious, and long-lasting writing.
The risk of failure is always there with improv techniques like this. usually, the first and second paragraphs, or even the third, are too wordy. Don't be afraid to prune wordy paragraphs. Sometimes, by trimming one or two paragraphs, the writing actually looks more sparkling.