Wednesday, August 24, 2011

7 Get-Those-Creative-Juices-Flowing Activities

There’s no such thing as “writer’s block.” There are plenty of detours, dead ends, merges, yields, stop signs and U-turns, but an actual blockage in writing? I ain’t buying it.

It’s an excuse.

Sure, we all experience times when we can’t figure out what’s going to happen next in our story, or we get stuck on how to say something in just the right way. And the more we work on it and fret about it, the further away the solution appears to be. But that’s not “writer’s block.”

That’s just a sign that you’ve been sitting in your chair for way too long, and you need to take a break so your mind can do magical things all by itself.

So here are 7 Get-Those-Creative-Juices-Flowing Activities that I indulge in to help me get over any writing speed bumps:

Eat ice cream – A bowl of Cookies n’ Cream covered in chocolate syrup usually does it for me. And if I’m still stuck after the first bowl, there’s always room for a little more.

Read the newspaper – I usually read the newspaper to criticize it. Not that I’m all Mr. Perfect or anything, but it makes me feel better knowing that I’m a much better writer than a lot of people who are actually getting paid to do it.

Take photographs of birds – You have to be perfectly still and quiet to take bird photos. Stillness helps the mind recover. Quietness puts you in touch with your inner muse. If you’re lucky, an adventurous bird will use your shoulder as a perch. If you're unlucky, the bird will poop on your shoulder, but at least you'll have something new to write about.

Pee – I usually get new ideas while I’m using the toilet, like “That’s what I forgot to put on my shopping list – toilet paper.”

Wash the dishes – When you’re washing the dishes by hand, it’s all about soap, water and greasy spoons. Your mind meanders, your mind plays, your mind wonders why YOU are always the one to do the dishes, especially since you have kids in the house who are perfectly capable of washing their own. And that includes your no-good wife who’s always sitting on the couch, drinking beer, belching while watching ESPN, and not giving a care to the fact that you’d much rather be writing than scrubbing pots and pans. And don’t get me started on washing clothes.

Think of creative excuses for not mowing the yard – Creative is the key word here. “I don’t want to,” just doesn’t cut it anymore. “My eardrums have been invaded by nano-mites, and any sound louder than a coffee maker percolating my favorite cup of java is just too much for me to handle. Maybe the kids should mow the yard while I wash the dishes and contemplate the meaning of my existence. And why isn't the wife doing it? Because she's sitting on the couch watching ESPN, yelling at the TV and scratching herself in very unlady-like places,” is a much more obscenely-creative excuse.

Play the banjo – It’s the only thing that puts a smile on MY face these days.

And there you have it. Maybe one of these activities will spur your brain into finding the solutions you seek. Just don't go overboard on the "creative excuses" advice. You want to sleep INSIDE the house, don't ya?

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