THE WRITING BLOCK MONSTER What’s a writers’ biggest nightmare? First and foremost is the infamous BLOCK. It can be a daunting dilemma in the writer’s world. The BLOCK can however be broken, but only with a sturdy sledgehammer and lots of adrenaline. There are those writers’ out there that say they are never inflicted by this affliction. To them I say…phooey!!! If that is what you need to tell yourself to make your ego feel better: go ahead. Anyone that writes with any frequency knows the truth, however. What causes offensive disorder? It can actually be any number of things. Do your characters fighting inside your head want to go in a different direction than what you want them to go? Is the storyline plotted out right? Are you hungry, tired, intoxicated? The reasons for BLOCK are many, varied, and unpredictable.
The question really is how to overcome them? The suggestion I offer you today is that of playing a game. This is a little writing prompt I use whenever I am feeling the urge to chuck my current manuscript out the door, or spill Cola on the keyboard of the computer. The game is simple. First and foremost: step away from the computer. Grab a pen/pencil and some paper, if you can go outside: if not, indoors will also work. This is just an exercise to get your muse working with you again. Start with the letter A…write the first word that comes to your mind. Example: A: alley. Now, write a sentence in which one of your characters does something or has something to do with the word. Example: Jonathan skirted the alley, to afraid to enter. Why was he afraid? Could you write more than one sentence? If not, that’s okay. Next go to the letter B. Example: B-bills: Jonathan worried about how he was going to pay the bills now. He would have to tell Judy that he’d lost his job at the mill, or would he, he thought to himself. Keep playing as long as you can, or if you come up with something that sparks your creativity in your work in progress go back to the computer.
You can switch up the characters, scenes, and use descriptions, whatever you want to do, as long as you are writing. When you find that really sparks your creativity on a certain letters/letters’ keep going. The longer and more you are able to put down the better. Pretty soon the words will be flowing, the ideas bursting into your head like popcorn in a popper. Save your prompts, they could be an idea for a future article or story. You can review them when you are at a standstill, or begin anew with a new alphabet game cycle. Finally, always be gentle to your muse. Cindi Beavers