Conquering Writer's Block
[I] went through a couple of ideas for a Ruminate blog post, but neither of them went anywhere. It’s been an odd month or so of fires, remembering September 11, and juggling kids' new schedules. I thought for sure I could come with something, but I could only get the first paragraph written of a post. When in doubt about what to write, there’s always the topic of not knowing what to write. This got me thinking about three tips I use for conquering writer’s block. 1. Sneak up on it. My favorite method for overcoming writer’s block is sneaking up on a project. When I feel the pull to not start a project, I take very small steps and ignore the big, looming project. The dialogue with myself goes something like this: “I’m just going to open my computer and turn it on. . . . I’m just going to check e-mail and maybe organize some files. . . . I’m just going to open the document and check the first page. . . . I’m just going to add a paragraph here. . . . I’m just going to work on that sentence.” Before I know it, I’ve overcome the initial hesitation of starting and am well on my way to actually writing. 2. Cheat with a prompt. I have two books that I keep handy for good writing prompts. They are, “The Writer’s Idea Book: How to develop great ideas for fiction, nonfiction, poetry and screenplays
” by Jack Heffron and “What If? Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers
” by Anne Bernays and Pamela Painter. Both have been helpful in jumpstarting and reinvigorating projects. 3. Don’t finish that sentence. National Public Radio recently interviewed two writers included in the new book (which I haven’t read but am quite intrigued to) “Don't Quit Your Day Job: Acclaimed Authors and the Day Jobs They Quit
” by Sonny Brewer. The interviewer asked the authors if they had any advice for writers. Besides the sage advice to write every day no matter what, one of them suggested not finishing the last sentence you are working on. When you pick up the piece the next day, you have a great place to start and motivation to get started, if just to finish that sentence (kind of like sneaking up on it). I’ve used this idea without really meaning to as kids’ schedules interrupt my writing, and it works quite nicely (especially if you can’t stand leaving things unfinished). I also find that reading, taking breaks from projects, and going on help with overcoming writer’s block. Although, this month, even with all these methods, I wasn’t able to get much beyond thinking about unblocking.
Leave a comment
Comments will be approved before showing up. We don't allow comments that are disrespectful or personally attack our blog writers.
Also in The Waking
Call it Grace is not so much a primer on theology as it is a way of animating it. At its base, it’s a memoir and a telling of Jones’ life story overlaid with a theological lens. The book is full of the people that populate her world:
My soul loss is healing. “Live with fire and grace” has become my guide. I find that paradoxically to lose oneself in creativity is a way to find your place in life and to make this world a home.
Are we even capable of telling new stories and by doing so changing the social narrative? Stories don’t only teach us about other cultures or help us improve our vocabulary. Stories also teach us about ourselves. They tell us how we can see and understand one another.