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Friday, February 13, 2009

Keeping the Inaction Beast at Bay

Per a previous post (Writer’s Block? Patooey!), looking at a blank screen or piece of paper while trying to create something worthwhile can be intimidating. But what if you’re stuck? What if those words simple refuse to emerge from those invisible corners of your cranium?

While repeatedly banging your head against the wall might seem like the prudent thing to do in the heat of frustration, it is not in you r best interest. Try creative exercises instead. When I took a Creative Writing class at Hudson Valley Community College , the instructor had us do some terrific writing exercises that pried, cajoled and freed those elusive words from the gray matter. Here are a few of them, and though geared mostly to poetry and creative writing, they’re a great way for writers in any genre to slap those creative juices back into shape:

  • Cut out words from magazines, books, newspapers or catalogs and jumble them up. Match them up to create interesting, unexpected combinations. Similar to Magnetic Poetry, but with two big differences: it’s free and there’s no restriction on the number or types of words you can play with.

  • Along the same lines, take full pages from magazines, books or whatever and cut into quarters. Match them up to concoct provocative, surprising sentences.

  • Take an excerpt from a book or magazine that’s written in a foreign language you can’t read. Translate it into English just based on the appearance of the words and your feelings. Don’t think too hard; just do.

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