Picture this: it’s Sunday morning and I’m staring out the window as the rain is falling, all forlorn and disgustingly miserable while sirens are probably undulating off in the distance somewhere. You can picture it, right? Probably because you’ve seen it in every typical sad scene involving rain and windows. That was me this past Sunday. And Monday, Tuesday, and probably Wednesday. All because I had writer’s block, straight static fuzz where there should’ve been creative juices flowing in 1080p.
Now bare with me, of course the forlorn stares and self-thrown pity party stemmed from a deeper place. Like you know it’s bad if you’re dropping words like forlorn. My journey so far with writing has been a series of bright and exciting sunny days followed by prolonged periods of rainy days, not just because of writer’s block but because of everything that comes along with leaving familiarity to follow what you think is your calling. For myself, writer’s block is the symptom of larger issues like fear, stress, and uncertainty to name a few. I often create my own barriers to writing by overwhelming myself with questions and possibilities: Should I focus on short-fiction or freelance articles? How long will it take to reach my goals, see returns on my work? Am I even any good? Is my work thought-provoking or entertaining in the slightest? What kind of job can I get in the meantime if it all doesn’t work out? Will all these little projects amount to anything? Who’s gonna die next on Stranger Things? Should I have kept my day job? What is the meaning of this obstacle course we call life? Cue the forlorn stares into what can only be a deep, dark black hole.
So after several stress naps evoked by the above overwhelming doubt, I finally decided to get back up and shake it off. I was also kindly reminded of my last post on making revolutionary resolutions and just couldn’t bare being labeled a hypocrite so early on in the year. I was overcomplicating my situation and so I carved out a brilliant plan to simplify things, go back to basics. It consists of some exercises and simple tools and resources such as word prompts like the one on WordPress itself, as well as some more nuanced exercises involving jars filled with random words, phrases, and pictures that can be grouped together to carve out a story.
If you’ve also got writer’s block and are moments away from forlorn stares out your window, below is a list of what I have in my jars:
T – Things or Objects (Microwave, TV, kettle)
Q – Qualities or Attributes (Redemption, forgiveness, creativity)
P – Places or Settings (Park, Theatre, Church, Hospital)
G – Genres or Themes (Comedy, romance, thriller)
L – Line from another story OR pictures from a magazine
You can do a combination of any or all of the jars. Jars 1 and 2 go particularly well together for creating metaphors. Jars 2, 3, 4 go well for creating a specific scene. I’ve started with Jar 5, a random picture from a magazine, and I’ve been building a story from that picture. Stay tuned for the story.
In the meantime, happy writing!