Lately I’ve been doing whatever I can to get out of writing. This is bad. This is very bad, for several reasons.
The first of these reasons is of course that writing is an outlet for all my frustration and confusion, and I’ve been very frustrated and confused recently, which is one of the reasons I haven’t been writing. However, my excuse for not using this outlet is that my current project, The Quiet Ones, doesn’t contain the same sort of frustration that I’m feeling so isn’t a good way of getting rid of it. Whatever. I know, I’m just making excuses.
It’s bad because my readers on Protagonize are going to feel betrayed. After all, I haven’t posted anything in months and then I posted five pages a day for a week, and now nothing since Saturday? That’s hardly the way to build up a loyal readership. Sure, it keeps them on their toes, but after a while you get muscle pains and go for a sit down.
It’s bad because to be a good writer, you need to keep flexing that creative muscle. And reading, which I haven’t done much of recently. I read most of To Kill A Mockingbird today, but that was the only thing I read since last week pretty much, so I’ve got no excuse. In fact, yesterday lunchtime I was playing Sopio instead of writing (and my dear Latin scholar friend might find that name amusing), so I really can’t pretend to have a reason for this.
It’s bad because, well, when I don’t write I get grumpy, and I also lose the plot of the story so it’s harder to get going again.
But the main reason it’s bad is that I get most of my ideas for blog posts from writing and the things that happen with novels and editing, and if I don’t write I don’t have any ideas and I get behind with my posts. Yeah, you’ve noticed they’ve been a bit sporadic recently, haven’t you? Well that’s because of this. Because I’m confused and lazy and have been procrastinating for several days.
Sorry about all that.
I decided to tell you about a method of destroying Writer’s Block. At the very least, it’s pretty fun.
You will need: A brain; a pack of Sopio cards or a friend with a pack of Sopio cards; a patch of the planet on which to stand or sit or squat.
You may want: A piece of paper and a pen; a chair; a camera; a friend
Have a friend pick out three Sopio cards from a pack at random. If you don’t have any friends and are playing ‘Solopio’, pick them out yourself. You may find yourself with three cards like this:
jaggler (a man juggling with jaguars)
dyslexic zombie (brian! briannnn!)
back half of a teleporting man (-100 points, unless combined with the front half, in which case +500)
Look at your three cards. Think about your writers block. Is it severe? In which case, go for a sentence. Combine your three cards into a sentence and write it down / post it on Facebook / make your friend giggle-snort.
If it’s not quite so bad, try making a paragraph. And if you’re feeling up to the challenge, go for a short story. A page, two pages. Who knows, maybe in the future I’ll run a short competition for stories made out of Sopio cards on my blog, in which case it’d be handy to have them up your sleeves, hmm?
You’ll need the cards. The first mention of the game is in fact a link, if you click on it. Don’t blame me for wasting your life.
Anti Writer’s Block Recipe No.2!
This one doesn’t involve Sopio. It’s more serious, and probably more helpful. Think of a conversation you’ve had with a friend recently. A serious one is best, although it can be something like an argument over something stupid.
Write a page about that conversation.
Ah, but here’s the trick. Write it from their point of view. And there’s no speech either, no conversations. This is an internal monologue of the other person’s. So, if you really don’t get their perspective, now’s your chance. Here’s an example.
If you’re feeling brave, send it to your friend and ask them how close you were. If you’re not, don’t worry. You’ve just got inside someone else’s head – well done! Try it again another time. To make it harder, choose someone who is almost the same as you, but not quite – you differ on important points.
As I said on Twitter yesterday, I get inside people’s heads and pull them apart until I understand them.
I hashtagged it with #writernotpsycho.