There have been times when I write freely and times when I stare at a blank screen or sheet of paper. For some reason, nothing shows up. Writer’s block is perfectionism whispering in your ear. There is fear in making a mistake or some other ridiculous notion. Or you have ideas but are not ready to start writing. It’s okay.
So what do I do? I step away. I go for a walk. I read. I watch TV. I listen to music. I call a friend. Things that make me laugh usually stir the creative juices. Then I return and start with one word. If I have to write or type that word a few times to get going, I do. Most of the time, something develops. If writing doesn’t happen that day, it happens the next.
Apple. Apple. Apple. Apple. Apple. Apple. Apple. Apple. It was early morning when the apple fell to the ground. The snake knew. It was slithering toward the tree. Not far away, Eve was making her way to the clearing. She knew the snake would try to take it. She stopped a couple of feet from the tree. Settled her bow and arrow, took aim and fired. There was a rope attached to the arrow. The minute it hit the apple, she pulled it toward her. The snake reached the clearing just as the apple was being snapped away. It raised its head and stared. Eve smiled and said, “Not this time.” She dropped the apple into her sack and walked away.
I’ve started a few stories that way. Just typing thoughts that suddenly reveal a character or a storyline. When my son was in grade school, he hated English—hated writing assignments. He was an athlete and he did not have the patience to write. I used to have to tell him to go back into his room and jot down ideas. Gather his thoughts and start writing. I told him that he was psyching himself out. Kind of like the ball player who’s up to bat and freezes. He always reappeared with a good essay.
Working on more than one book, story or article also helps. When you’re not into one, you can work on the other. Keeping a journal is another way to get into the habit of writing every day. Write about your day. Write about what bothers you. Write about things you wonder about. Write about what makes you laugh.
Create a routine that will free you to write. Remember that storytelling is creative. Whether it’s fiction or nonfiction, writing falls in the artistic field. The trick is to find methods that work for you. It’s all about freeing us from any doubts, fears, or self-conscious feelings. Children color outside the lines. They are completely caught up in the moment. Be as free as a child and create.