Today’s guest blog post, on the topic of avoiding writer’s block, is brought to you by a new guest to this blog, heroic fantasy author Andean White. I know you’ll make him feel welcome. 🙂
Getting in the Zone – One Good Method
As writers, we love the euphoria when the story is streaming from the mind like a movie rental download. The right words appear on the screen (or paper), and the story telling is perfect. It’s a truly wonderful feeling to be in the zone—confident, consistent, clever, and capable.
At the other end of the spectrum is writer’s block—distracted, doubtful, discouraged, and daring the screen to sprout an idea.
This blog lists several similar methods for training the mind to find the zone more frequently.
At the start of a new job, athletic club, church, etc. it takes time to remember all the peoples’ names and special procedures. After a while the names just pop into your head. It’s the repetition—the mind has trained itself to make an instant connection between the face and the name.
Scientific experiments have proven that the mind can be trained. This suggests that repeatedly challenging the mind expands its capability. A few of us just need more repetitions.
There are booklets, iPad apps, and Internet sites dedicated to helping writer’s improve their creativity. Generally they work quite well—some by giving the writer an odd combination of unrelated stuff—for example: helicopter, elephant, and alarm clock. The challenge is to use the three items in a story of 1,000 words or less. Finding a way to link three randomly selected items is difficult at first, but becomes easier with practice.
Below is a list of other training systems.
- The website creativethinkingwith.com has three different exercises. The first one compares two items to find all the ways they can be combined.
- Micheal Michalko, internationally acclaimed creative thinking expert, has several books out; Thinkertoys, ThinkPak, and Cracking Creativity.
- Melissa Donovan, 101 Creative Writing Exercises. Her website is writingforward.com
- Searching with creative thinking for writers will produce many other options.
Provided here (below) is a story from Kathryn Elizabeth Jones of Idea Creations Press. It’s her having some fun with the helicopter, elephant, and alarm clock exercise. (Her response came about 20 minutes after an email inquiry).
“Once there was an elephant who woke up every morning to an alarm clock. He’d stretch his thick, wide legs in his sturdy bed and reach for the object that had always awakened him. Only this morning it wasn’t there. The alarm clock was gone!
He sat up. Where was he? He looked down. All he saw was sky, sky floating everywhere. And what, pray, was that ragged clicking sound? Why, he was in a helicopter!”
Thank you Kathryn.
As my piano teacher said, “You only get better if you practice, practice, practice.”
This method has worked well for me, what methods have you found successful for keeping you in the zone?
Absolutely. I say the same (and mention pianists / painters) to my students. Thank you, Andean, and welcome to my blog.
He was a young boy at family gatherings, listening to the men after a meal. The opinions around the subjects of politics, car brands, hippies, and rock n roll filled the room with energy like aromatic smoke from a pipe. But, when the story telling began he raced everyone for a seat or patch of floor. Sitting for hours absorbing the stories, fact or fiction, that shaped who he became and it strengthened his imagination. Fifty years later he is certain that a world without imagination would be pretty boring.
Retirement came a little earlier than wanted and he decided it was time for that dream job. Three years later, an aspiring writer telling stories that hopefully guides a reader’s imagination to a world of excitement, and provides a brief rest from the everyday duties.
Despite abduction, assassination plots, and jealousy, the princess and her true identity have been kept a secret. The king’s most distrusted enemy, Archbishop Thomas, has been kept in the dark.
And time is running out. The Archbishop has collected every resource he needs to execute his plot, the invaders from the north are raiding deeper into the country, and the king’s recent health has become a concern.
The truth of the princess becomes even clearer when Kendrick, Oscar’s son, meets the princess. Can Althea’s and Kendrick’s relationship endure the challenges that threaten them? Will the princess survive long enough to become queen?
And what of Oscar, trusted knight of the king?
Will the truth, finally and completely, end his own life as well as the life of his only son?
Soft cover books available at your favorite Internet bookstore, or at the website www.AndeanWhite.com. The e-book version is available at Amazon.com.
- and from this blog, my guests who have written on this topic are… Danika Dunsmore, Louisa Clarkson, Marlene Carolselli, Nicky Wells, Smoky Ziedel, and Tracey Alley.
If you would like to write a writing-related guest post for my blog then feel free to email me with an outline of what you would like to write about. Guidelines on guest-blogs. There are other options listed on opportunities-on-this-blog.
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For anyone looking for an editor, do take a look at Editing and Critique.
If you would like to send me a book review of another author’s books or like your book reviewed (short stories, contemporary crime / women’s novels or writing guides), see book-reviews for the guidelines. Other options listed on opportunities-on-this-blog. And I post writing exercises every weekday on four online writing groups.