Did you know that BTSeMag has a daily blog featuring a different author each day? You should really check it out. I’ve written a handful for them and always have a blast creating something new. You can read the blog here each day. It is also good to note that if you are a blogger you can help advertise for BTSeMag and make some great connections, as well as earning surprise benefits.
Today, I decided to share my most recent blog from BTSeMag and you can find it on the page here. I really enjoyed writing this piece, especially considering how frustrated I have been with writer’s block lately. Enjoy!
Back in a Flash
By Author Elissa Daye
Many times I have sat with a blinking cursor glaring at me on white document screen. My insides churn and my head starts to explode, as the frustration of a mental block strikes its blow again. It’s never easy fighting your stoic demons, when you are armed with nothing but an idea that poofs into your head for a fleeting moment, then disappears like a dandelion tuft floating away to some mysterious place that you just know would captivate you for longer than ten seconds, if you could just hang on to it. Why me, I wonder. Why can’t I just hold onto it long enough to etch it into my memory? I’ve sat at my computer several times, just staring until the sides of my screen shut out the rest of my peripheral vision like some new aged horse blinders, but then realize that all I’m doing is giving myself a headache from my efforts.
So then what? I take a walk, mumbling words under my breath—some nice, some, well you can take a guess at what they might sound like. I’ve shouted into pillows, as I cranked up the noise, hoping my pleas to the gods to just let me write something might go answered before the neighbors call the cops to come lock up their lunatic neighbor.
Okay, so maybe not all of this has happened. I am a writer, so I guess the description does get indulged from time to time, but I have suffered writer’s block and it is the worst punishment anyone who loves to write can suffer. Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever been left feeling frustrated, irritational, and blue because your muse has taken the first flight to nowheresville when you just need her to stick around long enough to create a new idea? If you answered yes, and if you’re a writer for any forum, then I’m sure you can relate.
What can you do to fight writer’s block? I’ve learned there is no fail safe cure for it. What may have worked one time, might not work another. What I have learned though is that usually my block is my brain’s way of saying I need a break from this story. So I step away and rethink my options. I could continue to write on this path that is covered with thorny bushes, ravenous wolves, and thundering storms, or I can take the other path that says “Hey you! It’s sunny over here and we’ve got plenty of plot lines waiting for you here in a flash!” Right, easy way out then. I tread over to the path that promises an easy go and give it a try.
What do I mean? I know, I’m having way too much fun writing this piece. What I mean to say is that when I am having difficulty with a story, it’s because I’ve put too much pressure on myself to finish a story, when instead I could write a journal entry, a poem, anything that doesn’t require absolute completion. It’s called Flash Fiction and it’s really quite simple. I’ve done them two different ways.
The first way is to take a word, any old word you want, and throw it into a small story. The first time I did this, I think my word was wind. My mind started to think about the many different ways wind could be in a story and I pictured a person leaping from a window and being carried on the wind like a feather floating to safety on the ground below. It was a pretty piece, and I never did turn it into a story, but it got me writing and that was what I needed it to do. I continued to do one of these each week and each time, another part of me unlocked. By writing anything at all, I started to feel successful. I was then able to pick up the story that would not write itself, and the words started to leap onto the screen.
So now, you’re probably wondering what the other way was. After all, I did mention two ways. The second was using a picture to help fuel a story and with this challenge I was limited to 500 words. This one worked even better for me, for these little snippets have actually become scenes for some of my published works. Some, I’m still saving for a future story idea.
In a way, these Flash Fictions remind me of the free writing we did in my Creative Writing class in high school. The challenge there was to write, write, and write. Anything at all was fine, even if you just repeated the same word over and over again. How many times can you write rutabaga, before you start wondering whether it is a fruit or vegetable? Then the whole rest of your writing turns into why in the world is a tomato a fruit, yet tastes like a vegetable. The only problem with this stream of consciousness writing is that you can’t always use most of what you write because the writing is nonsensical, but in short it too can still aid the wall that separates you from your writing.
Never fear. Blocks don’t seem to last forever. If you find yourself ramming your head into a wall because your story line has deserted you, give one of these strategies a try. It may not be the end all cure, but who knows, your muse could be back in a flash.