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Sandbox writing -- by Critique Circle

It is a sad (but perhaps strangely reassuring?) fact: all writers have trouble getting to work and staying on track (there is the possible exception of Isaac Asimov who reportedly never wanted to do anything but write....).

There are some strange stories out there. John McPhee is said to have tied himself to a chair with the belt from his bathrobe. Victor Hugo had a servant take away his clothes and leave him alone in his office with no distractions from his pen and paper. Schiller liked to have rotten apples nearby as he worked -- and we seem to recall some writer liked to stand in a tub of cold water to keep himself alert.
While you figure out your own weird way that works for you, here are some ideas for you to step way outside the box in your fight against writer's block:
  • Find a crayon and a large sheet of construction paper and scribble away. Try finger painting, too. Focus on words and images relevant to your story and see where this leads you. Then write your 300 words.
  •  Sit down to write first thing in the morning. Yes, we mean very first thing - before you even go to the toilet. You're not allowed to go until your 300 words are completed!
  •  Change your scenery. And no, we are not talking about a café in Paris or a beach in Spain. Sit under your kitchen table. Lie down on your living room floor. Go to a playground and sprawl out in the sandbox. Notice the different perspective, smell, textures and see what comes to mind. Stay put until your 300 words are completed.
  • Get some playing dough -- you can make your own in just a few minutes. Form words out of the dough, try to see if you can figure out the key words important to your work. See if their shape in your hands gives you new insight. And write your 300 words.
  • Play out your dialogue using a couple of dolls or figurines. You will feel silly at first, but stick with it, you may be pleasantly surprised at how their dialog unfolds. Enough for 300 words of dialogue?
Report back and tell us if any of this worked for you. Do you have suggestions of your own?
Or did you at least finally clean that mystery stain of the kitchen table leg? ;)


Posted by Critique Circle 3 Aug 2012 at 13:35
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