Sometimes writer’s block is inevitable. Suddenly–without even knowing how–you hit the wall and there’s nothing to do but try to break your way through it. So what do in that situation? Do you just sit and wallow in your inability to write?
The secret to getting through writer’s block is write your way through it but when you’re in the depths of creative nothingness, it can be difficult to get back into writing gear. This is when a survival kit comes in handy.
I have a Writer’s Block Survival Kit, which I lovingly call The ORACLE because it’s where I go when I need to find inspiration. Just like the people of the ancient world who would seek out oracles for guidance and help in hard times, I turn to my oracle (which resides on a small table beside my desk, a place of honor for this important shrine). Also ORACLE makes for a nice acronym (it stands for: Outrageous Ridiculous Absurd Creative Literary Exercises). The photo above shows a wooden treasure chest which contains various tools that help me kick-start my writing.
When you open the ORACLE, this is what you find:
The contents change from time to time, but some of the basics stay the same. My survival kit includes postcards and images clipped from magazines, paint chips, a word box (box containing slips of paper with words on them) and dice. I’ll share how I use these tools to make writing exercises in later posts.
Weekend Prompt: This weekend, choose a container that is fun and festive. Fill it with things that will help inspire your writing. Maybe you need a big Survival Kit like my ORACLE which occupies an entire table. Or maybe you can fit all you need into a pocket-sized pouch and carry it with you when writing on-the-go. Whatever you choose, make sure it works for you.
Fill your kit with at least 5 tools that can inspire writing ideas. Some ideas for what you can include in your own survival kit:
• Images that prompt story ideas
• Index cards with writing prompts or exercises on them
• A pocket-sized book of writing prompts
• Slips of paper with your favorite opening lines
• CD with music that inspires you
• Anything else that might inspire you…
How to use your survival kit:
When you find yourself drained by writer’s block, go through your kit, take out one tool and use it. If after using the first tool you still feel blocked, try another… and another. The idea here is that by the time you go through a couple of prompts or exercises, you’ll hit on an idea that resonates with you and suddenly you’ll stop needing the survival kit and will just be able to continue writing.