Ahem...free-thought excercises may just be THE cure to WRITER'S BLOCK

United States
March 21, 2007 8:35pm CST
I sit down to write or type and nothing comes! That used to be my greatest fear. USED to be, because, now, I don't seem to suffer from this affliction anymore. Recently, I went to the library and picked out an interesting book. The title caught my attention: "I Can See You Naked!", um searching...that's not the one. *Cough, cough*. Ah, here it is! "Thinking on Paper". Thinking on paper...what an odd idea. How can you THINK on paper. Just doesn't make sense. Or does it? Think on this: We have been told time and time again, that when we think of something-don't let it go, write it down. This leads us to come to the mistaken conclusion that in order to have a thought in the first place, we have to first, THINK it! BAH! I've come to the understanding that you can very well become a better and more efficient thinker, if you start out by WRITING DOWN your thoughts, first. This sounds strange, but there is supporting evidence. I won't go into it here, of course, but what I will say, is that to get a different result, you may want to rethink the way you're looking at WRITING and THINKING. I find that when I write something down, it spurs me on to greater thoughts and connections than I had ever dreamed possible. People, myself included, make up so many plausible excuses and rationales for not writing. One of them involves our fair lady, the MUSE. We think that we have to be inspired before we can drum up anything relevant to say. While this may ADD to the power and insight and passion of a particularly well written piece, it isn't the ONLY trick in the book to cracking open what's in our heads. In fact, writing when we are not inspired can be a little like stirring some soup when all the good stuff is on the bottom. With a little effort, the good stuff comes to the top and mixes to make a great-tasting and fully satisfying bowl of soup. without stirring, AKA writing, we only enjoy the liquid parts and never get a chance to experience what the whole thing has to offer. Many writers despair when they run out of ideas. They sit in front of massive yellow, white, lined, or unlined paper that seems to suck the enjoyment of writing right out of their very soul. I don't want you to go through this. So listen to me, when I say that I've found another way. Here it is: Don't worry if it sounds good, if it pertains to what you want to write about, if it is grammatically correct, perfectly communicates what it is that you think you have to say.....just WRITE it down. That's all. And keep going. The more you let your pen or pencil do the dance across the page, the more you allow your mind to let go of all it's wonderous pearls of wisdom and insight. By trying to figure it all out BEFORE you write it, allows anxiety to creep in. Now, your not thinking; you're worrying. Clarity comes after the work. When you can no longer write anything down; you're spent and breathing hard with the excitement, know that you have just unearthed a heavenly truck-load of useful information. Part of the reason this works is that in the writing process, there are two main stages. You have the creative stage, and you have the critical stage. Trying to be creative and build a sand castle, while you let someone come by and kick a hole in one of the turrets boils down to your wasting of time by patching things up. Don't do that with your writing. Create first. Critique later. Otherwise, plan on getting no where or coming off as stilted and fragmented. The creation process uses the right side of your brain. The critical process involves the left side. You can't use both at once, without making one of them angry at you, and I can tell you, that when one side of the brain throws a fit, a pretty nasty headache can result. So...give your imagination free reign and don't allow yourself the luxury of misgivings. That will come later, when you have already done what you set out to do-WRITE!
3 people like this
5 responses
• United States
22 Mar 07
I often have to pasue when I'm typing, and it sucks. It's very bothersome and distractive. I'll try this out now and see how it goes for me. lol. I like the "I can see you naked..." nice lol
2 people like this
• United States
22 Mar 07
I type better too. I dont know why but I actually love the sound of the keys, it doesnt distract me at all. And I type faster than I write, and I also have bad hand writing when i hurry myself. I'm relativly new to mylot and I've noticed that most people I respond to are kind in what they say, which is good. Because I just can't stand rudeness!
1 person likes this
• United States
22 Mar 07
Me neither.
@patgalca (14479)
• Orangeville, Ontario
22 Mar 07
This is great that you took the time to type all this out. Julia Cameron has always said that we should write morning pages. Every morning sit down and write three pages. Just write. Go where the pen takes you. You may be getting troubles off your mind, you may be solving troubles, and these can result in a part of a story. As NIKE says, just do it.
2 people like this
@byfaithonly (10716)
• United States
22 Mar 07
I can't believe all the reading I've done over the years I've never heard of Julia Cameron. Looked her up on yahoo and am certainly going to hunt down several of her books. Are there any in particular you would recommend?
1 person likes this
• United States
22 Mar 07
The Artist's Way. Still have it. Back when my aunt learned that this very impressionable thirteen year old was reading way above his limit and was interested in psychology and art, she decided to give him a few books to munch on. I've been at it, ever since. I think, patgalca, that Morning pages comes from that book. It's been a while since I read it last, so I'm not one hundred percent certain... but that's my take. She said something about writing while you're still groggy from sleep. Actually another book, "Write it down, make it happen", suggested the very same thing. I had to check that the author wasn't the same one who wrote, "The Artist's Way" A story has been forming for me. Now, don't steal my idea! *nudge, nudge* I was thinking of connecting that story about the angel with my own life troubles. I want to write about a young and up and coming writer who is working on a story. Egads! He must be crazy, they say! There's a twist though...several if you count them carefully. He will have a minature angel appear on his shoulder in the form of a sexy librarian. She will have a cat named, Romeo...no...hmmm thinking. Ah! Got it, Cassanova! He was an eighteenth century librarian who was always off to a good adventure. He was also a seducer of women. I actually had to get out of my chair and go over to the television set and stare up at the rows of books and DVDs, before his name popped into my head. Sometimes you need a quick break, when the name of something is on the tip of your tongue! So, this writer guy, will get advice for writing and DATING from the best source. I kind of think that I will have them there in the first place as a sort of pennance for being bad! How's that sound?
1 person likes this
@patgalca (14479)
• Orangeville, Ontario
22 Mar 07
Yes, it is from The Artist's Way. That is the only book of hers I have read. It was forced upon me by my writing group friends. LOL! Another book that is supposed to be good is "Writing Down the Bones". I'm not sure if that is Julia Cameron or another writers' writer who I can't remember the name of write now.
2 people like this
@Lavera1 (897)
• United States
23 Mar 07
Thanks for your information on writing, anew. I really needed that.
1 person likes this
• United States
31 Mar 07
No problemo...glad to be of service. Now go forth and multiply! Cough, Cough...ah, go forth and write! That's it.
@byfaithonly (10716)
• United States
22 Mar 07
Agree totally with you, I've practiced this for many years and is actually the main reason I signed up with mylot - responding to discussions keeps me writing even though I'm not writing. Years ago I heard a taped interview of author James Mitchner (Hawaii, Texas, Centenial, The Drifters....) in the interview he said pretty much the same as you've said here - write, no matter what, write your thoughts, feelings, what your seeing at the time, hearing, call on all of your senses but just keep writing. He also said it's very important to keep a journal. This is just another way of keeping you writing. While doing this you will find yourself getting "ideas" and writing them down as they come, as you think more on that and write whatever you'll find yourself drifting back to that topic and adding to as you go. Well over half of what will eventually go into my book is already in journals or written on slips of paper, in letters, e-mails, even some has been mentioned briefly on discussions here. Just write, don't worry about what or why just keep doing it and it will come easier and easier.
1 person likes this
• United States
22 Mar 07
Main reasons for signing up with myLot... I've gotta think on THAT one. Do you find yourself rereading what you wrote, or responses, or do you just move forward because you don't have the time to dilly-dally? I like to dilly-dally. I like to reread things so that I get the sense behind the words that I might have failed to get on one read-through. I find that you keep surprising me, Faith. I like that. Cheers, and hold up your glass for us goofy intelligent types who's wheels never seem to stop spinning...*clink* I could learn a lot from you, I'm sure. Tell me more about this Mitchner fellow. Was he an inspirational speaker, or did he focus on practical matters more? I'm always up for a late-night discussion. Chit chat, chit chat, what was that, I think I heard a rat. Oh he's in the corner, by the stove, scritchin' and scratchin' and hoping I'll move. Chit chat, chit chat, now up on the stove, he's hoping I won't seem him divn' into the clam chowder I just made, while he may be a daredevil he's not necessarily brave! Chit chat, chit chat, what's that? More of them have come to play. I only wish my cat would stop washing himself and make that rat scat back to his lonely stage! Chit chat, chit chat...the rat's on the move; don't scare him, he'll be back, I think that he's found his groove!
23 Mar 07
A writer,i cant get his name into my head presently,said these words which aptly tunes in with what u had said and it goes like this:'dont get it right,get it written'. I guess,thats the best advice anyone can give to aspiring writers.