Storytelling – Blocks

Posted on July 13, 2011

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Some days are tough. You have to tell a story, write a blog post, complete a writing assignment, or come up with a song, and nothing comes. What do you do?

Every storyteller has a different trick. Some people make lists of names, places, plot items, or themes. Some people take their minds off the story with some task that requires their total concentration. Some people clean the house. Some people retreat to a favorite book, movie, or album.

My point is, everyone has a different way to get past a block. You may have to try several before you find what works for you. What works once may not work the next time.

I think you have to know two things. First, every storyteller goes through patches like that. It’s a membership card, if not a badge of honor. Second, you will get through it. Don’t panic. Panic just makes it worse.

Try this: Make it Opposite Day. Write the opposite of your thesis or theme. If you’re writing about two people meeting and falling in love, start writing about a break-up. If you’re writing something serious, get through a block with comedy. Make yourself laugh. It will help you relax. Once you relax, you can create.

If worst comes to worst, write crap. Just put some stream-of-consciousness on “paper” about how stuck you are, how frustrating it is, and how much you hate this task. Exaggerate your emotions and go nuts. I hope you find yourself transitioning from your feelings to real ideas for your story. It’s happened to me.

Inspiration is everywhere. Once you fight through the blocks, you’ll see it. It’s waiting right there, for you to be ready to notice it.

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