Wednesday, January 12, 2011
A Way to Use Writer's Block
I seldom get writer's block. From time to time a lull does arise, and I turn to doing crosswords or house cleaning projects or weeding the garden. But this time was not a "lull" This time it was prolonged. So I decided to make the time useful. I started making lists. What kinds of lists? Whatever occurred to me.
I described clouds every way I could think of.
I listed names of trees.
I described hairdos and hair color.
I listed every kind of cloth I could think of.
I listed verbs of motion.
I listed sounds -- everything from peeps and tweets to lilts and drawls, honks and buzzes... you get the idea.
I listed smells, and words associated with the sense of smell.
I went through colors of the rainbow, listing every name for red I could think of, red, then red-orange, then orange, then yellow-orange, etc. Then names for brown, black, gray, and white, and descriptions of metals. Here are three samples:
red – alizarin, apple, beet-red, blood red, cadmium, cardinal, carmine, cherry, cochineal, crimson, fire-engine, flame, lobster, madder,port, rubicund, ruby, ruddy, scarlet, strawberry, vermilion,
red-orange – auburn, claret, coral, ginger, peach, rusty, salmon, sandy,
orange – amber, apricot, ginger, cantaloupe, copper, marmalade, peach,
salmon, tangerine, terra cotta
And one day I finally was finished with all that and was able to go back to writing. But not before I typed all these lists and filed them on my computer in a folder I call "Grab Bag". It was a useful venture. From time to time I open that folder to find another way to describe something, and I'm really glad I wasn't just doing crosswords or laundry during that period.
How about you? Do you ever have writer's block? If so, what are some of the things you do to work your way out of it?