Monday, June 17, 2013

Boosting Creativity to Recover from Writers' Block

Even for the most prolific of writers, the well does run dry sometimes. Yes, the writer must have the discipline to sit in the chair (BICHOK: butt in chair hands on keyboard) and write, but what if you sit there for fifteen minutes staring at a blank page and blinking cursor? What can you do to jumpstart that creative side of the brain?

Here are a few tricks I try (before giving up to sit in a lounge chair on the beach with a fruity umbrella drink—I'm joking... sort-of... well... a liquid restorative might be part of the plan, but the beach part is not doable where I live).

Music Soundtracks
Over the years, I have collected late 18th C and early 19th C music or music from period movies. I then collected all the tracks into a playlist on Windows Media Player. So I simply start at the top and let the music impart the sense of place and expansiveness of movement in that space.

Hey, who doesn't like scrolling through beautiful pictures? Take a look at my Georgian-Regency board. Those pins are a good jumping off point to other pins or websites with blogs and pictures.

Research Books
I'll pull out a random book from my shelves of research books and leaf through it. Sometimes, I'll get an inkling of an idea that after I dash off a few hundred or a few thousand words dies the horrible death of deletion, but once I start writing, I am writing.

I'm a reproduction furniture catalog junkie. I love reading those catalogs and imagining the pieces in my characters' homes. I also enjoy looking through gardening magazines to imagine terrace and other outdoor scenes. Pictures of British country manors is pure unadulterated pleasure. Oh, to be able to actually go and see some of those houses!

Retail therapy at the writing supply stores. I'll buy a beautiful journal or thick creamy notepaper and a fresh bottle of ink (I love my lovely Mont Blanc fountain pen) or a new fangled smooth-as-butter fine-tip pen, and start writing out the scene that's percolating but not germinating. Something in the physical act of writing longhand—the cramping fingers, the hand moving across smooth paper, the flowing ink, the words appearing in blue (or violet or black or green) on the page in my handwriting—makes the words come easier and with wider latitude.

If all else fails, there's always the restorative, jus' sayin'...