Slaying a formidable foe: writer’s block

WellingtonThis past summer I high-tailed it from my home in Christchurch to Wellington for six weeks of creative writing acrobatics. For years I’ve been wanting to take the Iowa Workshop for prose at Victoria University and this year, I did!

A summer in Wellington! Home of cafes and culture and, well, a lot of wind. If only that famous wind could have blown some writing inspiration my way. I had picked up my life and work and moved them to Wellington in order to write, write, write for the summer. My goal: complete two new short stories during the course. Didn’t happen. Just like someone turned off the faucet of ideas.

Damn that formidable foe of every writer: writer’s block!

Is it real? Imagined? Not sure. But when ideas aren’t flowing, it seem like nothing can force the faucet of writing back on.

I presented my dilemma to the course tutor, Evan. Since I am not the first writer in the history of writing to face this adversary, Evan had some ready advice. Here it is.

Slay writer’s block free writing exercise:

  • Find ten minutes every day to sit down quietly.
  • Grab your laptop or pen and switch off all distractions.
  • Begin to write. Don’t think about what you’re writing, just write. Even if it’s, “I don’t know what to write. I don’t know what to write…” write  that and don’t stop, whatever you do. Eventually, something will sneak into your fingers and begin writing itself. And viola, if the faucet isn’t flowing, at least there’s a drip. And you know how annoying dripping faucets are. That steady drip, drip, drip, drip, drip can’t be ignored.

Try it! Let me know about your results.

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One comment

  1. Thanks for the reminder

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