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What works for me.

I've learned a few things in twenty years, and I have to remind myself of them when times are hard. What might work for somebody else may not work for me, and what works for me might work only for me. That said, I think it's good to share on the basis of giving people options. When the boat is leaking, holding your finger over the hole sounds silly, but it might get you back to shore.

Recently, I've found writer's block to be problematic. One piece of advice on that front is to simply keep banging away and eventually come back. For me, that's the worst possible advice because—things get a little strange here but try to keep up—not being able to sit and have ideas flow from me is the problem! If I could keep the good stuff flowing, I wouldn't have a problem! For some, continuing to try is good advice and it clicks on that writing mode which then brings forth the good stuff. For me, that doesn't work. I sit for hours and the stream of consciousness doesn't come back. I'm just sitting there typing gibberish that isn't fit to read.

A better angle for me is to stop writing for a while. Yeah, it's that simple for me. Go do something else for a while. I've found better successes by switching into another creative process like drawing. Some of my best writing ideas came to me when I was drawing. It's weird, but it's almost like turning off the writing mode lets the idea generating process take a break. When it reengages, I have to hang on because I'm going for a ride. That I do digital drawing means that all I have to do is switch to my word processor program and begin, get those good ideas written down enough that I can pick it up from there. Then I put away the drawing stuff (tablet, etc) and write.

At other times I have problems generating ideas. This is a real problem because you have to be careful where you generate ideas, lest you end up ripping off someone else. The solution I have: Image searches. Go to your favorite search engine, and the odds are great that it has an image search function. Go in there and type something. It doesn't matter what you type, so type the first thing that pops into your mind. It can be anything that's on your mind: puppy, guitar, corn, fire, peanut, cloud, sky, octopus… Anything, just type something in to get the idea generator working for you. How does it work? Open your mind and start looking at the pictures. I will caution, if you have little eyes around, it might be a wise idea to make sure that the search filter safeguards are on because the internet can be a really “educational” place…

In 90% of the times I've done this, seeing a picture will snap an idea into my head that gets my mind working again. If you need more help, maybe type in a single word that suits your genre. Fantasy, horror, humor, romance, finance, it'll get you seeing things that could kick your brain back into production mode. You're a fantasy fan and you see a fantasy mermaid working as a wrangler on a unicorn ranch. That idea isn't valid because it's not yours, but what other ideas do you have that someone else didn't have first. Perhaps your fantasy mermaid is actually a princess who's into horses, (what princess isn't?) Her prized steed Floogerblowny is stolen by the wicked Goorgon who intends to serve him as main course at a birthday party. Congrats, you just got a new idea. At worst, it won't work as planned, but you looked at pictures for five minutes. Sometimes it takes only one picture to make your mind go “Oh, wait a minute, why couldn't we…” and you're back in business.

When I'm trying to get something done, I find that other humanoids tend to be less than helpful in my efforts. Distractions are extremely commonplace when the people around you seemingly don't care that you're doing. Worse, for me, it's not terribly difficult to be distracted. At times, I'm only thinking five words ahead of the ones I'm typing. Due to that, it's very easy to screw up my process. Once an idea is lost, it may be an hour trying to get it back. Sometimes you can recover by rereading the last two paragraphs you just wrote, it might get your mind back on what you were trying to write. The second option for me is simple: If you can lower the volume of other noises, increase the volume in your head. Get the headphones on and start pushing music into your skull. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn't. Occasionally, the sound of the music is more distracting than the small distractions outside, so it's prohibitive to try it. The third option? Homicide… I'm still in the research stage on this one, but it's not looking like a viable option at this point.

Comments

Good advice done with a humorous touch- You got those writing bones....


my warmest
bbo
 
A better angle for me is to stop writing for a while. Yeah, it's that simple for me. Go do something else for a while.

This works for me up to a point, but then problem is I start jumping from one thing to another. In the end I've started 20 different tasks and complete none of them. I find myself easily distracted is this a problem for you?
 
Why I write. I love words and writing, I love to see my thoughts turn to the printed word for I cannot see them in my mind. I use to not write structurally, but whatever came to mind, be it babble or rhetoric. Reading others writing is a great help to me. Great Post. curious Paul
 
(I'm not sure why none of these posts showed up in my activity stream. I see every other blog post comment... Stupid internet.)

Thanks Bob. :)

Pip: I live with two people who don't see writing as being more than play, so I have a maelstrom of distractions constantly. Due to that, I've had to develop a method to my madness. If I've given a single piece three good tries and I still can't hit it, the cause is either that the concept is too tough for me to master, or it's just a weak piece that's hard to write to. So, I'm not above scrapping one piece into my scraps folder and beginning anew. Oftentimes I can write a new piece much much faster than I can save a piece I'm not mature enough to write. The key for me is to always come back and try the piece I was stuck on again. Give it a legitimate chance, and if I can't get it to go after a couple tries, in my case it's not the distractions, lol.

Case in point, I've found a topic that I want to write, I feel like I need to write it, but I can't write it. I've considered having somebody on WF browbeat me to write it, but that'd put me in position to be screwed: I'd have to put it together, and that scares me to death.

Paul, reading others is a great tool, and it does help get the creative juices flowing. The bad thing with me is that I'm incredibly easy to redirect. I can read someone else's work, and that may help me, or then again it may just get me reading their work for a month and I don't get back to what I was trying to do, lol.

Life is very difficult when you've got the attention span of an aroused amoeba.
 

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