3 Winning Ways to Outsmart “Writer’s Block”
When Your Imaginary Friends Won't Talk To You
3 Winning Ways to Outsmart “Writer’s Block”
What’s the first thing you think of when you’re trying to shake yourself out of your slump?
- What can I do to get this off my mind?
- Why am I having such trouble getting started? (or perhaps you’re thinking)
- I’m wasting so much time and all I can think of is … nothing?
- I can’t get started!
- I want to cry, help me!!!
If this is you, you’re in good company. I’ve lived there before, many times. They know me well. When I enter a room, they yell, "SAN!" Tough crowd.
Sometimes I just don’t know where to start or how to take that first step to get out of the slump, but, if I can get out of my own way and just do something, it’s sure to pass, and I can get back to the creative guru that I know so well, right?
No? You say you can’t even take that first step, or have a clue what that first step even is that you can’t seem to make, or, every time you read someone else’s “9 Surefire Ways to Cure Writer’s Block,” “50 Ways to Stoke Your Creative Juices,” or, and this is my favorite, “You Can’t Lose With My 10 Tips For Targeted Tipping,” you go slightly crazy?
Okay, yes, I made all those up, but my point,
Are We There Yet?
Didya get all that, or are your eyes crossed and you no longer know who or what POTUS is … and even if you did, you wish you didn’t?
Well, I can tell you that this is exactly why I have a fierce desire to find ONE (1) definitive resource that tells me only what I want to know, in layman’s terms, make that elementary terms, make that:
talk to me like
I'm a 5-year-old, please
terms and maybe then I’ll understand it, and that fear I have of: (a) failure, (b) not being good enough or (c) panic: I don’t know how or what to do so I do nothing, will go away and I can get started already.
|Unfortunately, folks, there is a “writer’s block,” for every occasion; you have to know how to jump over whatever hurdle is blocking you to get to the good stuff.
Yes We Are, Charlie, Yes We Are
Here are some great starters for times you just can’t make that first move, and your couch now sports 3 permanent indentations: one for your head, one for your butt, and one for your bowl of ice cream (but be warned, they may become addictive):
Dab a brush in paint and throw it. Hopefully, you have paper ready to receive it, or a wall, or something; or splatter paint on something porous and spread your fingers through it.
It’s called finger painting. We’re getting’ back to basics, people.
Write “The End” and work your way backwards. Just do it and walk away. Don’t be surprised if you find your thoughts falling all over themselves to get those words down.
Now’s a great time to invest in a voice recorder. Siri, add that to my cart.
Stand, stretch and just kick a leg out; or wring your fingers; or brush the tips of your toes through the air. Before you know it you’ll be doing 5 pirouettes.
They don’t have to be cute, you simply want to move.
Sometimes, we just need someone to push us, or give us a direction, or something. I believe what I like most about school and the lessons is … the lessons. Having an activity to accomplish gives me purpose. I loved playing school when I was a kid, and I did well playing alone because no one else in my family thought it was fun. My brother and sister would look at me like I’d lost my marbles, or like I'd taken theirs, and my cousins were no better, so I played school by myself.
As much as I loved that part, I find, to this day, it’s still often difficult to “create on demand” and that’s how I feel when I’m thinking of new patterns or projects, even though I have so much inspiration to choose from, that that particular block is not my problem. I get in my own way because of having so many choices, and wanting to make This, and That, and The Other all at the same time ...
What do I mean by “create on demand”? School lessons and the subsequent homework would often be “make such and such and add some random parts to it and call it a day, oh, and it’s due by tomorrow.” You had to come up with something quick, even though you might not even know what they were asking of you.
Example: the time I was in school most recently and the teacher had to “approve” of the project before the students could proceed. We had a deadline, and if we couldn’t come up with a entire book topic and design that she thought was good enough, we’d fail the class. Why? Because we were running out of time, and two (2) books had to go into production to be ready before the end of the semester. I never understood why she needed 2, and not just 1. I thought maybe she was going to use one to present to her future classes as “What Not To Do” but I never got that answer.
I just knew it was expensive, because I ordered 2 books for myself as well, and that total of 4 books set me w-a-a-a-y-y-y back. Creating the content was stressful, because it wasn’t what we wanted it was what she wanted. Every step of the way, as she suddenly became “the client” and so we really had to cater to her. That wasn’t enjoyable at all, but I liked the process, and I still have my two books. My topic? Drought. Chuckle.
BTW: she’s also the teacher who described one of my typeset projects as “horsey,” told me “my grandfather can design better than that,” and dodged a question of mine, saying “you’re in college now, you should know that” … huh? I’m PAYING for this education and your tutelage, so aren’t you OBLIGATED to answer my questions? Needless to say, I approached her class with dread, my studies suddenly had an overcast sheen and were cloudy with a chance of rain until that semester ended.
Unfortunately for me, she “taught” several courses and chaired the department … sigh … the fact that that institution is being sued as I write does not escape me. There will be an upcoming post regarding letting go, so stay tuned. She might earn a spot in it, because I know I’ve got some cleaning up to do when it comes to hanging on to old wounds, hundreds of old emails, and baggage, but we’ll see, I might not want to muddy the waters by referencing it again. Hope I don’t develop some sort of block, twitch or start getting hives.
So, my friends, that’s it, in a nutshell. If you’d like a gentle push, and your passion is not listed here, feel free to contact us and we’ll whip up a set of activities to “toss you into the deep end.” Don’t worry, I can’t swim, so my deep end is just at 5 feet … although, I had to take a swimming class, and pass, to pass 11th grade, so I know I can, I just don’t go near the water.
You’re probably wondering why I chose to talk about Writer’s Block and you’re thinking, I’m not an Author (nor am I a Painter or Dancer), so why am I reading something like that here?
Nothin’ to See Here, Folks,
Let’s Move Along
That would be because writer’s come in all packages, and, yes, folks, bloggers are authors, too. As are content creators, instructors, and just about anyone who “posts” online. I’ll leave you with one of my favorite lessons from that same institute I mentioned above, but it was from a creative writing class, so I thoroughly enjoyed that.
This is from my English Composition 2: Narrative Storytelling class. We were given a writing prompt, as a beginning, from author William Kittredge's writing exercise, as an attempt to give our writing focus.
The prompt is entitled: "Where were you last night?" and here is my offering ... please enjoy:
I struggled with whether to include some links to items I find I can’t live without, use daily, and make it easy to jot down notes when I wake up in the middle of the night to stay creative. I won that battle, so here are a few nifty pieces to keep in this particular toolkit, leading with, of course, what to write on, my Handy Dandy:
This little notebook is chock full of pages, that open to lie flat, and it was handcrafted, meaning, I sewed, glued, and spit-shined every inch of it, every little bit. The images are in the process of being updated as well as the design (in fact the whole site is getting a facelift) and I thought you might like to see what goes into the crafting of these little buggers, and they make perfect Back to School gifts.
Commentary: Freddy likes that I’ve added more eyelets because he’s a stickler for symmetry, and my Left of Center brain decided to give in this time, because I like it a bit random sometimes, off-center and that might simply be because I have been known to leave the house with only one sock on. Unintentional, but it didn’t bother me one bit:
Update, by Divine Intervention, 082219
I was stressing trying to find the image above, and simply had too many to look through and decided to publish this post without it. I currently have 16,055 photos and 222 videos on my phone, so it was challenging.
Fast forward to today, and I have a little time, so I'm transferring files from one old flash drive (had to take off the case to access the data), and low and behold, I saw a folder entitled "will this auto-delete" and couldn't imagine what was in it. I found photos and the one above is 002.JPG!!! Right at the top. Hurrah!!! I have no clue why the folder has that name, or what I meant so that remains a mystery. I'm just marveling that I found something I was struggling to find over the course of a week, and today, by pure chance (?), it drops into my field of vision. The powers that be are crazy good that way.
So, let’s keep it going. But first (Hey, Julie!), I am an Amazon Associate and participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This post contains affiliate links to Amazon.com, an advertising program designed to provide means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon.com. Thank you for your support.
Back to basics, here are some of my favorite products, that play nice with my AWBM Whatever Notebook:
My favorite tool, is the mighty, mighty #2 pencil: I’ll take that with a side of HB and just a touch of lead … These make perfect Back to School gifts, too.
These are so versatile and come in a bulk pack of 96, great for teachers, parents and anyone with a sketchy finger. Ninety-six is a lot-t-t of lead, people and I can do some serious damage with these, but, guess what, these make perfect Back to School gifts, or the perfect gift to keep the mind active, entertained, and thoroughly engaged … for hours, sometimes days, and just imagine what you can get done when your little ones are busy drawing new universes, the latest runway fashions or conquering the world … I’m jus’ saying … Click the link or image to get yours before they all disappear.
Here’s a great option for colored pencils on the affordable side, that come in a variety of gorgeous colors and it's a great value.
These pencils come in a embossed tin, which will always come in handy to prevent broken pencils, keep tips sharp and provide a protective carry case. In this case, tin beats paper, every time. Plus, if you ever lose all of the pencils, you have a lovely tin to put other stuff in … like perhaps more coloured pencils … I like the vividness of the cover image and how vibrant it feels, like she’s jumping off the tin, the embossed tin, no less, and they make great gifts for the little artists in everyone.
Bet you thought I was gonna mention Back to School, eh? Tsk, tsk, tsk.
Last but never least, you have to have somewhere for all that sharpened stuff to go, no? Oui, oui, and the beauty of this product is that it is cost-efficient, easy to use, and totally self-contained. No need to get pencil shavings all over the place, unless you want to!!! Lovely finds that fit into pencil holders with ease. Nice.
AND, they come in great colours so my kids and their friends can each have one of their own, and stop "borrowing" mine.
Hopefully, the ideas presented here will get you pumped up and ready to paint, write, Twist and Shout.
Or, better yet, when it comes to creativity or all things Amazon, feel free to explore and we'll start with one of my grandsons' favorites:
Remind me to ask Shopify engineers why they like playing with text colours and table spacing ... or is it just my monitor, folks?
Update 092419: After a few additional blog posts, I realize, it's not me, it's you. I viewed the post on my iPhone and was horrified at the table headings and images overlapping the text (so I reformatted that text), and the text colours shift unexpectedly so fear not, my fellow readers/listeners, I am not messing with your mind or trying to drive you crazy. It ain't me.
- I thought I'd also let you, and Google Analytics, know, that I'm not absentmindedly repeating image text. My audio guy, let's call him Luther, doesn't read the text on the images, and that's why I add it. I was listening the other day and some of the key points or punch lines, if you will, decidedly get lost in translation.
- And last but not least, today is my big sis' birthday. Happy Birthday, Cherie!!!
'Til next time, my friends, Ciao.
AWBM Blog Post #14 | 19 August 2019