I’m a pencil-pushing scribe. Here’s a modified part of a chapter from my book: 3, 321, 453 short-cuts to Becoming a Successfull Writer.



    Short-Cut Number Fifty Five:  The Dreaded Writer’s Block  


    Sometimes you sit down with the best of intentions to write but nothing flows from your imagination. First off, don’t panick, it happens to everyone. Even Shakespeare experienced writer’s block. Some scholars understand Hamlet’s struggle to take action to be an embodiment of Shakespeare’s inability to come up with a character flaw for the titular character: to write or not to write that was his question. The brilliance of Shakespeare was that he turned writer’s block into a memorable play. Certainly, there are other scholars who suggest that Shakespeare was simply the pen name of a semi-literate bar wench named Lucy who wrote her plays based on the affairs that she had with well heeled men over sixty but I would suggest that even she must have struggled with writer’s block. Some scholars of the Torah suggest that the 7th day of creation, God’s day off, was really a case of  writer’s block, creater’s block.  Or in the word’s of a Canadian rocker from the 80’s, Kim Mitchell, “Might as well go for a soda.”

     Here’s my trick to overcoming writer’s block:

     Okay close your eyes and imagine you’re in a dark room. (This will be easy since closing your eyes creates a sense of darkness.  Imagining you’re in a dark room with your eyes open is very challenging.  Actually keep your eyes open but imagine you’re in a dark room.  This will be a more effective test of your imagination.  If you want you can imagine you’re closing your eyes to find your way into that dark room but I’d prefer you didn’t rely on that kind of mental crutch.  Just remember your eyes are actually open but you’re imagining that you are in a dark room.  You can’t see anything. (Even these words. (Let’s just say you’re remembering them so clearly it’s like you’re visualizing them in your mind’s eye.)))

      Now reach your hand out and feel around for a doorknob.  So you’re feeling around for this doorknob which has the warmth of a human hand.  When you find the knob you feel like you’re shaking somebodies hand.  It’s inviting.  It’s warm.  It’s just a doorknob though and this isn’t a creepy doorknob like in a horror movie where all parts of the house are made out of human body parts.  Okay don’t be scared, don’t be scared.  Its okay.  I’m here.

    This is writing.  You’re a writer.  You are overcoming writer’s block.  Just remind yourself of that.  That is your mantra.  This is my mantra.  My mantra is this.  My mantra is this.  When I first tried to find my own mantra I found the word itself so strange and foreign at first that I was just repeating the word mantra to remember it.  Mantra became my mantra.  So my mantra became, this is my mantra.  It’s very simple and self contained.  For me it means being able to remember something even though its strange and foreign sounding.

    So back to our cure for the dreaded writer’s block.  You are holding the doorknob that’s shaped like a hand and then you turn it like you would turn someone’s wrist in a self-defense move.  You are not angry but that’s just what its like and you open the door and what do you suddenly see but a mirrored reflection of yourself. 

    Quick sit down and write the first think that comes into your head about the last time you saw yourself in a mirror.  Were you wearing a hat ?  Was an animal wearing a Richard Nixon mask perched somewhere on the hat ?  What kind of animal was it ?  (Notice I’m letting my imagination take me away from my real memories.  I’m using my real memories as springboards into an imaginative realm where anything is possible. Including… a break through of that nasty old writer’s block.)

     Begin within yourself and then move out from yourself.  This is my mantra.  This is my mantra.  This is my mantra.

     Next week we’ll explore ways of searching deep within yourself to find that perfect literary agent just for you.