WRITER’S BLOCK? NO SUCH THING
by Linda Barnett-Johnson
The dark recesses of your brain, known as the cerebral cortex, is where the words to your many stories lay dormant. They’ve taken a leave of absence without any authorization. You know they’re there because you’ve accessed them many times before. Is this what is known as “writer’s block?”
Is there such a thing as “writer’s block?” Does our writing mind shut down like a factory when it’s time to go home? Does our writing ability go on vacation or enter la-la-land? Or does it act like a signal light going from green, writing without ceasing; yellow, slowing down - getting off the track; or red, complete meltdown - do not pass go or collect $200.00 - stopped dead in its tracks.
If writer’s block existed, you wouldn’t be able to write your name, make out a shopping list, pay your bills, or write down an appointment and keep it! So unless you’re dead or in a coma, there are many opportunities to get over your “writer’s block.”
Go to the park with pen and paper and write what you see. Then what you hear, smell, feel and taste. Your senses are always in working condition. For example: “The bird looked like it stood still in the air.” Now fill it in with more description. “The large hook-billed eagle hovered over the ground, looking for prey with his keen eyes.” Try it with all the senses.
Another trick is to take your dictionary and start reading the words. A lot of times this will trigger something loose. Or randomly pick a word and write about it. How about randomly picking a word and adding the word, land or village or town behind it. For example: I close my eyes and my finger lands on - “revolve.” Now put the word land behind it and you have - Revolve Land. I don’t know about you, but I can see a children’s story about a town that has revolving playgrounds or schools. Use your imagination and you’ll be surprised at what you come up with.
I have a fun project I started that keeps my brain from going to la-la-land.
1) Take a small box about 12”x12” (or a size that suits you), and write “Story Starters” on it. 2) Get some baggies, a black marker, pen, and notebook paper. 3) On one baggy write: “Character Names, another “Settings,” another “Emotions” and the last “Objects.” 4) a) Take your pen and paper and write as many “Character Names” you can think of. Just make up names. Get a phone book if you have trouble. Fill up the whole page. Now do the same with “Settings,” “Emotions,” and “Objects.” b) Cut and fold each one and put them in their individual marked baggy. c) Now draw a paper from each baggy. You now have a “Story Starter.”
Here’s an example:
Character Name Setting Object Emotion
Baron Colmsby Concert Baby Girl Funny
I choose one piece of paper from each baggy and this is what I come up with. My imagination is running wild. I visualize Baron Colmsby at a musical concert. Someone has brought a baby to the event. Think of funny incidents regarding the Baron and the baby. In fact, that would be a good title for the story - The Baron and the Baby. Could make for a funny story.
You can make a baggy for anything. How about: “Story Titles,” “occupations,” “mannerisms,” to name a few. That’s the fun of this project. I even have a baggy with “phobias.” Whatever phobia I pick from the bag, you can be sure that one of my characters has it. It’s a blast! There are tremendous possibilities, as well as a myriad of things to write about. Keep it simple, or make it as elaborate as you want.
So you see there are potentials all around us. All you need is your imagination and your senses. So, in my opinion, unless you have no imagination, there’s no reason for “writer’s block!”
Linda Barnett-Johnson - Originally from Southern California, I now reside in Montana, where I met and married my Christian husband, Karl. I started a writing site in 2001 called "Your Writing Friend" where I give monthly assignments, exercises, contests and writing links. If you're interested in joining, send a self introduction to firstname.lastname@example.org. I have a wide range of interests which include: oil painting, singing, playing the organ, directing a kids choir, church activities, gardening, canning, playing games, reading and writing. We have thirteen grandkids and 1 great-granddaughter.