Writer’s block. We all get it in some way or another, from time to time. I’m no exception. For example, this week, I had writer’s block trying to come up with this blog.
I always approach writer’s block one of two ways. For writing of a type that makes up a blog, I simply start shopping around for ideas. Because my writer’s block on this blog always begins and ends with finding a topic. I don’t want to bore you, or me, for that matter. And my background in journalism makes me more of a reporter than a creator of topics.
So, when I found myself stumped for a topic this week—I mean, other than talking about our Fiction River Kickstarter project again, which is what has my mind so preoccupied this week—I asked my colleagues for ideas. The brilliant Jane Kennedy (WMG audio director) responded by telling me to write about what was already on my mind: the block. I can work with that, I thought.
What Jane prompted me to do was what my very first creative writing instructor had us do in class oh so many years ago. He made us keep a journal. I say made, because I resisted at first. I hate discussing my inner thoughts, and writing them down was worse because they were no longer safely ensconced in my head. But I’m an overachieving rule follower, so I did my assignment. I wrote things down. And I found myself liking it. Dammit.
But the part I found the most fascinating was that we had to write down whatever we were thinking for some period of time. (I can’t remember exactly how long now, but probably a minute or two.) And if we couldn’t think of anything to write, we had to write: “I don’t know what to write. I don’t know what to write. I don’t know what to write…” until something finally popped into our heads. And you know what, it always worked. It always unlocked my creativity. Inner thoughts would turn to poetry. And I enjoyed it immensely.
A bad life experience made me stop doing this exercise my senior year in high school. But it might be high time I started again.
I still use the “I don’t know what to write” trick, though. That’s the second way I approach writer’s block.
So, there you go. A blog about nothing. Not as funny as “a show about nothing” perhaps, but hopefully mildly entertaining, at least.
And if you didn’t find yourself mildly entertained after reading this, then let me make it up to you. And once again, Jane Kennedy will come to the rescue—with a dog, a kitten, and a story about cookies. Check out our latest and greatest Kickstarter video, “How to Create an Anthology.”
And now, I need a cookie.
Allyson Longueira is publisher of WMG Publishing. She is an award-winning writer, editor and designer.