Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Overcoming Writer’s Block

Part Two:


I’m continuing today on what I consider to be a topic of utmost importance to writers.

Writing exercises can stimulate us mentally in our efforts to cope with writer’s block. I’m offering some suggestions that may prove helpful.

Memory writing is a useful resource. You don't have to be famous to write an autobiography. However, many well-known writers have used memories effectively in their writing. Some examples are:

JAMES JOYCE--A PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS A YOUNG MAN

TRUMAN CAPOTE--A CHRISTMAS MEMORY

EUGENE O'NEILL--LONG DAY'S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT

Here's a writing exercise guaranteed to produce results:

WRITE THE FOLLOWING:

1.  YOUR FIRST MEMORY.

2.  YOUR BEST MEMORY OR A GOOD MEMORY.

3.  YOUR WORST MEMORY OR A BAD MEMORY.

DESCRIBE IN DETAIL.  TRY TO RECREATE EACH MEMORY SO THAT SOMEONE ELSE CAN EXPERIENCE IT.

Another suggestion: keep a journal or diary. This kind of writing provides a sense of immediacy. We can capture feelings and impressions that might otherwise be lost. This can serve as excellent material for future work.

 From Biblical times, dreams have been thought to be prophetic. Freud certainly found much to analyze. Keep a notebook and pen beside your bed. When waking after a particularly vivid dream, describe it in as much detail as possible.

 There's an old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. A good picture is worth at least that and probably a lot more. Inspiration for writers can come not only from reading newspaper and magazine articles but also from looking at the photos. Interesting photographs are all around us and are worth saving as a resource.


There are many ways to improve your skill or writing technique. If, for instance, you have trouble creating good descriptive passages, try doing some sense imagery exercises.

            (a) Select a piece of fruit like a lemon or orange. Describe in writing what it looks like: color, shape, etc. Hold it in your hand. Describe the feel or texture of the fruit. Cut the fruit in half.  Now describe the smell and taste.

(b) Music and sound can create mood and stimulate writing. Try writing stream-of-consciousness technique while listening to music. Play three different types of instrumental music for at least ten minutes. Pause between each. Possible musical choices:  classical, jazz, rock.

Whenever possible, read magazine and newspaper articles and clip those you find of particular interest. You can obtain many ideas and inspiration for your own writing from them. Local weeklies are throwaways used to push advertising. However, they also report local news. Sometimes these journalistic article can spark fiction ideas. For instance, a political fight between the police chief and the mayor of the town I lived in for many years which got out of hand made a fascinating backdrop for my mystery novel THE BAD WIFE. Of course, I fictionalized it.

                                             http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00J6PCKVW

Be curious, interested in the world around you, and you can't help but find inspiration and new ideas for your writing. Writer’s block is only temporary. Most important, never give up, not if writing is what you really want to do. Publishing success will come if you keep perfecting your craft.

Comments welcome!


14 comments:

  1. Great suggestions, Jacqueline! I especially liked the last one. "Be curious." You know the old saying, "Curiosity killed the cat but satisfaction brought him back." :)

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  2. Hi, Patricia,

    Thanks for stopping by. I do think writers need to be curious about other people and the world they live in. It makes for good writing ideas.

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  3. Very good suggestions, Jacquie. I agree with Pat also on the importance of curiosity. I would add one suggestion that I came across years. If you tend to write short, almost abbreviated descriptions, read the work of someone who does the opposite.

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    1. Good suggestion! I particularly like the way you handle description in your novels.

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  4. All of these are good tips, Jacquie. Thanks.

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    1. Thanks, Nancy. I doubt that you need these tips, however.

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  5. I have used all of these excellent techniques while teaching creative writing. They also work for my own writing. Thanks for a thought-provoking post!

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    1. I used these techniques with my students as well, and with good results.

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  6. Good suggestions and some interesting writing exercises.

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    1. Thank you, Karen. I hope you find them useful.

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  7. Excellent tips. It's amazing how roadblocks can be swept away just by doing something, rather than marinating in indecision. Knowing that these exercises come from an experienced writer makes them even more powerful.

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    1. Thanks, Mike. There are many ways to defeat writer's block. Hopefully, these suggestions will benefit others.

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  8. Great tips. Need inspiration? Take a hike, literally. I hike every weekend. Need to set a mood? I play music for a romantic setting or something darker for a mysterious mood.

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  9. Carole,

    I agree with you. I find walks beneficial for mind and body. As to music, it does create mood.

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