Curing Writer's Block
You know how it is, prrt? Some days the words don't come like you want them to. If any do come, they are just trite or nonsense or boring. No one would want to read them. Even you don't want to read them. Here is a series of magical things you can do get back to your usual scintillating, erudite, and witty style of writing. Several of them are bound to work, but I put the others in to make this longer and in case the guaranteed ones don't work. It may seem like we ought to be able to just sit down and write, but it is important to prepare both the space and ourselves for writing.
The first thing is to clear your desk. Just toss all the papers and things on it into one of your old cardboard boxes — or two or three boxes if it's really cluttered. Put any lumpy things on the bottom so you can cushion them on top with the papers in case you want to nap there later. Shove the box under a chair or table somewhere handy, but it is best out of sight.
Once I'd cleared my desk for this photo, I realized that the desk was black — a dark, depressing black. No wonder I was having problems! So I painted it a nice blue tartan pattern, very orderly and neat. Prrt. There are flowers for a nice scent, my reference books, and a window with a pleasant but not-too distracting view to gaze through for resting my eyes. It has a good, soft light on the keyboard. Once that was all organized it was a bit late in the day so of course I needed a break for munchies and a nap, but after that I was ready for the next step. All set? Ready to go on?
It's a good idea to dress up. Everyone feels more business-like and intelligent dressed up. It's a known fact that clothes make the man — although no one ever mentions what they make him. So choose your attire for what you want to become — a famous literary figure of international stature.
Wearing flowers or a crown are good choices. The flowers should be chosen for their aromatheraputic properties of brightening the mind, and the crown helps you to feel in command of things. The crown especially should sparkle brightly and be lightly scented of catnip. Other clothes are optional, but well-groomed fur (your own) is always impressive. Otherwise, silks and satins are good and feel luscious on the skin.
In the photo above, I am wearing my golden orchid Valentine hat, a gift from Clover Dezno, whose wonderful shop, Totally Tinies, has provided many of the lovely things that the other kellas sith dos and I wear (located at Raglan Shire (140,239,22) in SecondLife.com). Gifts always bring good luck. I also wore my tiara over my hat because it is my blessed writing tiara. The red daisies I am wearing are also fortunate, especially in faery lore, so I am all ready for creative endeavors! (I do not get paid for endorsements of these things I may mention to you — I tell you about them entirely because I want to share good and helpful things with you!)
Next, stare at the blank page. Like your physical desktop, clear your computer desktop of all distractions. Then, try looking at it from many angles. Climb up on your desk and bend over to look at it between your legs. Meditate on the pure white clearness of the page. Let your mind be as blank as the page. Take some deep, slow breaths. Just as soon as you try hard to clear your mind you will find that knackerty knotions soon begin popping up from nowhere. Minds are perverse that way. With your fast paws, grab them quickly before they get away and write them down.
Another sure source of ideas is to put a crystal ball on your desk and gaze at it for a while. Everyone knows there are wonderful things to be seen in a crystal ball, but for some reason most people don't even think to look at them for ideas for writing. This is the time to start! If you see food, it is time for munchies, unless you are a cookbook author or you write restaurant reviews. Anything else is potential inspiration. Write about whatever you see.
I saw myself, high in the air about the island, surrounded by the light of the Merry Dancers, the aurora. I was all alone up there. It feels scary and yet exciting — I don't know why I'm there. There is a story here, if I choose to let myself see what it is...
The next thing to try is truly magical — your oracle or tarot cards. You can use it to find out more about what you saw in your crystal ball, or you can use it to find something new to write about if you didn't see anything in the crystal. So there are two things to try, depending. If you are going to follow on with an image from the crystal you can ask whatever makes sense. Here I would first ask, "Why am I up in the air?" Then I could ask, "Where am I going?" And then, because three is a nice number, I could ask, "What will I find there?"
(The cards I use are the Faeries' Oracle, which my Herself wrote about and which were painted by Brian Froud, but you can use whatever works best for you!)
So, I drew my cards and they were the Journeyman (going on a learning journey), the Faery Godmother (looking for or finding someone who can grant wishes), and then Solus, who is the one you go to for help when you don't know what to do. This gives me a lot of ideas about what I could write... If I have the courage to be honest with what comes.
But... what if you didn't see anything? How else can the cards help you?
If you have a complete blank on what to write about, no ideas at all, take out your oracle or tarot cards and pull one card, asking, "What shall I write about first?" Consider the card for a little bit and then start writing about what you see in the picture. Bounce along with that for 10 minutes, with whatever comes into your head. See if it leads you somewhere interesting. If it doesn't, try again. Do that three times and see where it takes you. This is fun if you let it be, and purry fun things stimulate creativity.
On the other hand, If you're already writing something, there are many interesting things you can do with an oracle. Are you jammed up about a character's motivation? Ask for a card that tells you about his motives. Then write about what you see, imagine, or intuit. He may surprise you – sometimes good people have bad motives or bad people have good motives or they just have twisty ideas that you might not have thought of without the help of the cards. Once you know the motive, you have a good idea how to write the action. So that takes care of motivation. When it comes to action, you can ask about that too and the cards will have ideas for you. Then when you see the right one, it will be purry easy to write about it.
But what if all that fails and you are still stuck? We still have more things to try! Murrrrt!
Go climb a tree. Climb up to where the branches get thin and bendy, and MRRROOOWLLLL! for help. Intermittent wails are good too. Breathe in really deeply – "to inspire" is also to "breathe in". Mrrrrooowling loudly is a great way to release frustration and get your brain open. Be really loud and passionate, and soon exciting, fun things may happen. Fire engines might even come! Or other things with sirens. If an eagle comes, do not worry — he may help catch you if you fall.
Other people may start shouting and screaming too. Do not let them put a funny jacket on you and take you away in an ambulance and do make sure your Himself or Herself is nearby before you let them get down!) After they carefully get you down again, continue to whimper and lie limply in their arms. (This may be quite easy by now.) Your people will most certainly take you home and wrap you in a warm blanket and comfort you with catnip tea or cocoa or something else really nice, like thin munchies with tuna on them. It's well worth a try and it would certainly give you an interesting topic for some more practice writing.
This may give you ideas for a travel article. Where is your favorite escape place? Under the bed? The neighbor's roof? Herself likes to go to an island named Iona, but I prefer the top shelf in the back bedroom closet where all the soft things are – it's so much closer to my dinner bowl. Where do you dream of going?
After all that hard work, perhaps something more sedentary would help you get inspired. On the internet there are a sesquillion inspiring ideas ("sesquillion" - a faery word for a number higher than you can count). You just need to find the ones that work for you. Find out what your favorite authors are writing about and get the stories written before they do. Read something that makes you feel good about yourself so that, even if you're a miserable failure as a writer, you can still feel good about yourself regardless. Read, read, and read. And eat chocolate to raise your endorphins, unless you are cat and need a good, fresh catnip mouse instead.
You've been working hard and certainly need some more fresh air by now. Perhaps it's time for another excursion. Go shopping somewhere you've never been before. Seriously consider buying something hugely expensive and wonderfull strange — perhaps even silly. This may so shock your brain that you may, if you don't go into cortical shutdown, escape by hiding in an alley somewhere nearby and feverishly scribble notes for an epic saga in seven volumes.
Not working? Try looking for something very expensive that you would really seriously definitely like to have instead. I found lots of interesting things — a whole forest city made from ginormous tree stumps and a huge castle both quite appealed, but ... I like sharing Herself's cottage and having my own wee vardo all to myself in SecondLife, and a big castle... well, I'd need a lot of humans to look after it. The place would be all cluttered up with them and their things. But then I found exactly the thing...
O! This would be the best of all worlds! A flying treehouse! Just imagine the wonder, the joy! But... O, mai! I only have L$20 and it costs hundreds! But I have always most desperately wanted a flying tree house! (Or at least, I would have if I'd known they existed.) I must rush right home and finish my book, which is certain to be a best-seller! I am full of ideas now!
You see? If you keep looking, you'll find something to get you going! Anyone can do that! And that's all there is to it – one word after another. It's magical but it's not magic. Just do it. I'll have some more writing tips for you another day, but now it's time to write and write on my book and then have a snack and a nice purry snooze in my cardboard box. It was fun helping you. Off to work you go!