March 5, 2010

Writer’s Block In A Box

If you’re staring at your keyboard and would rather wipe than type, this might be a sign of writer’s block. Will it last forever? No. Is there anything you can do about it? Sure.

It’s like being boxed between cars in a parallel parking space. Tight, but you still have choices. So what do you do? You can wait until the owner of the other car comes along to free you. Or you can inch your vehicle by increments until you wiggle free.

Trying to think of something new to do sounds like an experiment in frustration when your thoughts already seem blah and fuzzy or singularly uninspired, but don't fret. Just remember: Wiggle.

Do something different. If you can’t go anywhere, stand on a chair or stretch out on the floor, but get a fresh perspective. Look up and notice the texture of the ceiling. Look down and describe your feet. Look around and notice the sound, smell, sight, taste, or feel of objects you’re around every day. Sip soup slowly and identify the flavors or compare. Listen to the hum of the heater then fill in words to fit that beat.

Getting away from your normal surroundings can help you to get out of the box sooner, which is why even a mini-vacation depends on vacating your home. So use writer’s block as your impetus for visiting that museum in town you keep forgetting. Or go to a movie with sub-titles. Check out a library book of poems totally unlike anything you usually read or write. Check out DVDs, too. For instance, look for a video of that country you hope to visit or, better yet, one you would never dare to set a foot inside. Pick up a travel magazine, and look at photographs of other places.

Get the picture? Writer’s block is a box that every poet or writer steps into occasionally, but you don’t have to stay there. Even if you’re really boxed in, you have choices. Jump out. Take a nap. Find a different view.

[If you need objective feedback on your work, you might find what you're looking for on The Poetry Editor website - .]
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