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View Full Version : Poet's Block (writer's) Solved



Steppe
01-21-2015, 01:55 AM
The idea for this came to me when reading "Presto City" by John Moe in "What to Read in the Rain - 2011 - An 826 Seattle Anthology By Famous And Not-Yet-Famous Adult And Young Writers".

I am not quoting verbatim from his article but applying only his idea to my own.

So you have poet's block, or writer's?

You are at your desk. Nothing will come. Not even a good opening line or originating idea. There's nothing to write about, you think. I'm finished as a poet. The well is dry. I'm out of inspiration. I just as well give it up.

Try this. It works anywhere, but not when your are driving your car.
Look at something. You'll think (in your present state of mind) that it's bland, no happenings, the same-o, same-o!

Now close your eyes for 5-10 seconds, move your head a little right or left. Open eyes. Notice that the view has completely changed. New things. A spider building a web on the wall. A picture you all but forget about. A vase with long memories forgotten. They are still there painted in blue and gold.

Close them again. Do the same. A plant that needs water waving for attention. A book on a shelf you've not read yet. A post card tacked under the wall phone. A fly. A baby picture from ages past.

Try this away from home: at the store, the parking lot, in your parked car. On your daily walk.

You see things in pictures separate from other pictures you've just seen. You can write poems about these pictures or use them for originating ideas.

You can always get the view (picture) to change.

New sights, new sounds, new hues of color, new movements, new thoughts and inspirations.

Go to your child's room and do this. You'll see views that become pictures. Pictures you may not have seen before.

Road block solved.
Give it a change.

Practice!

zarada
01-21-2015, 03:19 AM
thanks, Steppe, i'll try that.

AlibasterToad
01-21-2015, 03:32 AM
I appreciate the message and hope to use your technique sometime for my own brainstorming. It reminded me of another technique I saw used in an online course for meditation, and before that exercise I learned in speech therapy as a teenager in order to break my line of thought.

A separate idea, but connected in some ways is "Mindfulness Meditation" as it was called for the course I took through a website. Mindfulness meditation in that class was a way to sit in a specific posture, and used breathing exercises as you kept your body as the big picture. For example, as certain thoughts would float up as you meditated in this posture... you would investigate, and ask a series of questions about why you feel this way or why you leg itches, or why you thought that. As you thought each thought out loud, you would pick it apart, and then let it go (or try to). With your eyes closed, the instruction was to concentrate on specific parts of your body as you inhaled while tightening the muscles in that area of the body, and then release those areas as air in your chest is exhaled. Both times instructed the individual to relax "...face, forehead, eyes, scalp and jaw...neck, shoulders, and arms...etc." As you thought of each area of the body to the back down to the legs.


Now close your eyes for 5-10 seconds, move your head a little right or left. Open eyes. Notice that the view has completely changed. New things. A spider building a web on the wall. A picture you all but forget about. A vase with long memories forgotten. They are still there painted in blue and gold.

Doing exercises like these can wipe away previous thoughts, doubts, worries. I enjoyed reading your thoughts on this, thank you. Any anxiety from writers block could go away by meditating for a few minutes, closing your eyes like you said, and releasing your mind from talking to itself. I think letting go of old thoughts and memories can be a good exercise for a little bit at a time. It will relax you to think of something else and when you do get back to writing later or fifteen minutes or whenever, you'll have something different to say on the page.

Steppe
01-21-2015, 05:08 AM
Thank you Zarada and AlibasterToad.

Another book to look into is "Snow Melting in a Silver Bowl". A book of active meditations by Nancy Brady Cunningham and Denise Geddes.

If any of you have additional thoughts on techniques, or books for the purpose of breaking writer's block, please go ahead and post them.

Teena
02-19-2015, 10:59 PM
I keep a list of poem fractions...two, five, eight words, maybe up to 3 full lines, that I haven't yet plumped into a poem. Or maybe they are minimalist, but seem to me to be unfinished. I re-visit them to get my juices flowing. Right now I have not so much new poetry written and 12 pages of these fractions, but they are there.

I'm going to try the changing perspective exercise that Steppe recommended because I'm struggling to write a verse for a dear friend's birthday card and none of my fractions fit.

Steppe
02-19-2015, 11:37 PM
Tenna - Remember that you have to float into what you see, the new perspective. Do it inside, then outside. Sometimes something will come to you while viewing things you just never thought would fit.

a car remembers a trip
a flower a wedding
a picture remembers someone who isn't in it or who was not there.

Teena
02-23-2015, 06:13 AM
Yes, thanks, Steppe. The exercise is quite surprising. Funny how the mind works in conjunction with the eyes. I look straight ahead and see a bullseye target - close my eyes and recall a really fun day. Close eyes, turn slightly right, and open to a bulletin board hosting the word 'Joy.' Close eyes and recall a moment watching a 2-week-old colt dance and run in its corral--the very essence of joy. This is a great suggestion, Steppe, and the surprise is the mental picture that comes unbidden. Hopefully the words will come too, and find me.