In this Writing Wednesday, we’re going to talk about the other literary ‘He who must not be Named,’ writers’ block. Nothing in the world is more frustrating than pounding out pages of literary inspiration only to hit a wall of creative absence. You can google hundreds of recommended techniques to overcome this debilitating hurdle: talk to an imaginary friend, take a walk, chug caffeine, change the time that you choose to write, go to a bookstore, curse like a sailor. I’ve tried all of these at some point. Some of them I did unconsciously. 😉
But I would have to say that my favorite antidote to writers’ block would have to be writing prompts. A woman is walking down the sidewalk with a fish bowl and a flashlight, go! Sometimes getting outside your own story while still generating the creative juices is precisely what is needed, and has worked plenty of times for me. Although, there have been times that I’ve gotten too absorbed in these little side tales, so I came up with a compromise that helped stimulate creativity directly beneficial to my story; I use writing prompts that involve the characters from my novels in situations that they would never find themselves a part of in my story. My protagonist is captain of the Enterprise and finds himself under a Klingon attack. And while I can not include any of that in a novel about set in the present day South, I feel that if gives my mind a fun, distracting break, while still building the development of my character’s personalities. Which aids me greatly when figuring out how my heroine will handle a situation taking place in my own tale.
So the next time you find yourself stuck, have your character stationed in the middle of the Congo, learning how to effectively change a diaper on a baby chimpanzee. Not only will it give you a laugh, you’ll learn something about your character that you never consciously considered before.