Writer's Block

A Closer Look

Poetry hows and whys

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Sometimes you work at it and boom! Little blue strip. Results. Sometimes you do little and get a windfall of words, purse, passion. Sometimes no matter how you bang away working at it, nada.

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Writer's Block Advice

  • Go for a run or do something to make your blood start pumping hard and drink lots of water to refresh the thoughts.

  • Get some exercise. For example, at  http://oneword.com a new word is posted every day. You have 60 seconds to write about it. Plus you get to see what others have written. Excellent writing exercise!

  • Let your mind drift into almost sleep imagery and jot down useful bits.

  • Writing Fix has writing prompts.

  • Audit conversations and listen for rhymes. Observe and try to use all adverbs to keen your  mental balancing.

  • Take out some ancent pieces and rewrite them from a new point of view and attitude. Shift the perspective in someone else's poem or do it in a different form. For example from sonnet to cleihew (aabb, comdy) to break your own fixated tension.

  • Take a page and fold it twice so you have three columns. Head the first with a concrete noun or a job. Fill the column with 5 adjectives, 5 nouns, an adverb associated with the work.  Turn the page. The second column should be headed with a different job. Add a list of 6-8 verbs and half a dozen free association words about the job down the column. Flip the page so you can only see the third empty column now. Pick a famous figure. Do free association with the idea of the person. Make 12-15 association. Open the page. Read across the lines. Are there any phrases that make new ideas? List a few promising ones. See if they can fit together. Pick the best one(s) as your prompt to elaborate into a poem or story.

  • It's like losing weight, it's a matter of habit change dismissing the niggling doubts that what you do has no effect. Allow yourself some cheesecake for the soul. But balance that with discipline and exercise.

  • Just like exercise push the limits and believe you can inch by inch, word by word, will take you farther than you can hope.

  • Try a new form to pour yourself into ;-) Try a new-to-you poetic form such as one of these

  • Remember: Writing exercises are not a curseword. Athletes train, writers train. Practice is like weight exercises to increase your capacity when real-life tests come...Doing them doesn't make you a hack, nor an amateur, it makes you an explorer, one who tries.

  • Keep a list of words that strike your fancy for lean times but whenever you can press the hand to write one more line.

  • Get concrete. Don't permit any metaphors or analogies, no future nor past, no contrast. Do visualizations: Picture a word and a scene where you felt the word. For example, safety, disinterested, eager, free. Use all five senses...

    Close your eyes mentally and discover what you smell, hear, taste?
    What is the size of the space? Humidity? Temperature?
    How do your muscles feel? How does your skin feel?
    Is there cold of tension isolated in one part of you?
    Finally look, what is straight ahead, to the sides, peripheries, behind you?

  • Elaborate further, farther, forever, then trim off the excess.

  • Write back to the basics - Process Writing...
    A. Pre-write -- imagine, brainstorm, visualize, free-write, chat, research, react
    B. Write and get all the good and bad out...
    C. Revise it i.e. see where you could be clearer, more elaborate, more interesting, more evocative and cut the crap and re-draft a few times...Add, reaarange, replace, remove.
    D. Edit it i.e. fine tooth comb time: read it aloud, fine tune to smoothly polish it for tone, voice consistency, typos, share it, workshop it, then maybe go back to C, A or B.
    E. Publicize it -- send it away.

  • Writing, like preaching, must be done constantly, in and out of season,but not so much as even the preacher is fatigued and bored with his own words.

  • Poems are like money and love. Returns aren't guaranteed but don't let that spur to to stolid balking unless you're a right donkey.

  • Keep up a persistant effort, maintain a sense of play and perspective...enjoy what you read, drop what you don't but only after you have given it a fair try.

  • Keep yourself informed and out there...No one needs to be a society of one. 

  • If there is a time and place, it's not here and now for giving yourself a headache...

  • Try these young poets workshop starters of things to think about or asssignments from the poetry syllabus from Middlebury to get the brain elsewhere. Here's some prosey ideas: http://www.poewar.com/articles/15_exercises.htm

  • Give it a break. Sure, everything is chemistry, everything is power, everything is perception, everything is poetry. Put whatever metric or filter you like, but remember, the constant here is "everything is" - no filter. Play with a variety of toys and tools.

  • Go fishing (metaphorically speaking). Reflection in isolation can only build so many connections. Do things unrelated. The greatest ideas come in country walks, showers, while absorbed in something else. When ideas dance your way, let them play on the line, a fish that you have hooked may get away, or may tire, may be bait for a bigger trout. When you've got something without a doubt.

  • Because sometimes the music box of the soul needs rewinding....read and read and read.

  • Check out these ideas too: http://www.taverners-koans.com/10.html

  • Make yourself a nice day.

 


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