Thursday, April 17, 2008

Writer's Block

I thought by the time Thursday rolled around I’d know just the right writing topic to blog about. Well, my brain is a little low this morning.

I hear those snickers and giggles.

I think everyone of us has been at a point when they are at a loss for words for one reason or another. We like to refer to this as Writer’s Block. Mine often comes in the form of black fur, four legs, and purrs. She crawls on my lap and if I don’t give her enough attention, she will try to lay across one or both of my arms. If that doesn’t work, she stretches her paws across the keyboard, usually holding down the space bar or highlighting everything. It makes writing interesting.

What most people think of as Writer’s Block is when we don’t know what to write or what comes next in our story. If you are a serious plotter, then the second one probably never happens to you. Some times Writer’s Block happens because our brain is stuck in a rut and we need to blast it out of there and get on a new road, or at least a freshly paved one. Here are a couple of Writer’s Block sticks of TNT.

Idea #1: Free Writing – This sounds simple, but some times it is just what you need to unlock your creativity. Take a word, topic, or phrase and write for ten minutes on it without stopping to correct or edit. Let your mind take you wherever. There is no wrong writing in this exercise. You don’t even have to stay on topic. Maybe you start with the word pencil and end up on a snowy mountaintop. You can just write about that thing or incorporate it into a mini scene where that object is used.

You can get Free Writing words and topics in a variety of places. There are books on story starters, creativity, and such to help get you going. You can also create your own story jar. You take small household objects that will fit in a jar and save them. Items like a stubby pencil, broken crayon, paper clip, lip stick tube, key chain, key, small toys, bouncy ball, piece of duct tape, ribbon, a ring, bottle cap, etc. My jar is about 6 inches tall and about 3+ inches wide. When you want something to Free Write about, you take something out of the jar and start writing. Don’t think. Don’t plan. Just write.

Idea #2: People Watching – Go to the mall and watch people. Pick a person out and make up a story, history, or background for them. Let your mind go free.

Idea #3: Story Blocks – This is when you come to a point in your work-in-progress (wip), and don’t know where to go or how to get your character out of the corner they have gotten themselves into. Brainstorming with others is usually a good solution, but we don’t always have someone we can brainstorm with or we don’t want to bother them as often as we might need them. I have found it helpful to put my mind to work on the problem as I lay down to sleep. I mull it over and run through several scenarios and usually the solution will come to me before I fall asleep or my subconscious works on it while I sleep.

What do you do to blast through your Writer’s Block?

3 comments:

Paulette Harris said...

Hi Mary,

Good reading, good job! :)

I rarely have what they call writer's block.
I just start writing anything and soon things start to flow. Julie Cameron's books help too. We are all creative people and the "stuff" is there planted by God. I like what I have on my website...Mother Thresea says we are all pencils in God's hand to write to a hurting world. That isn't the exact quote but close.

Love your blog.
Paulette Harris

Mary Davis said...

This is a test comment because I'm having some issues with my blog comments. :-)

Tina said...

Great ideas! Love your blog.