Friday, January 21, 2011

What If...1 Step to Conquering Writer's Block


Isn't it incredible the capacity we have to imagine? We can imagine anything...everything, and even beyond that.

Even if you're not a writer, or a poet, or an artist, you're sure to ask even once a day, "What if...". Your mind may wander, even for the briefest of moments, following the train of thought you're humanly inclined to wonder, and suddenly, you're creating a story in your head (some may call it fantasizing, or daydreaming but it's still all the same).

Each of us creates our own stories, perhaps several times a day.

Fellow writers and artists. Take this as a prose--a writing exercise. Especially useful if you find yourself struggling with writer's block. Start small. Consider this, while you're driving in the morning going to wherever it is you're going to, imagine...what if I ran the next red light I see?

Imagine the conclusions your mind will conjure. If I run the next light I see, I could get rammed in the side, or get pulled over by a hiding cop. Or, I could freak out and slam the brakes, causing my car to whip out of control and I'll slam into something--a pole, another car, a person...

If I run the next light I see, I could forever alter the course of my life...and maybe end someone else's. And then think about how that would happen, how your life would forever be altered. Whether it's devastating, such as a death, or finding God.

Very deep I know (smirk). Writer's block is a funny thing. But with simple exercises and the willingness to push aside our fears of inferior writing, we can shatter that block and get our minds listing out all the possibilities. I kept the above example very simple. But I know that when it comes to creative writing, we're going to need to push ourselves even beyond that.

Consider my latest work, Violet Storm. I came up with the idea very simply at first. "What if a young girl several hundreds of years from now, in a fractured civilization, woke up remembering nothing--not even how she got into a shed, far away from home, with no memory of what's happened to her? What if she lost a month of her life? What happened in that month? And why is she suddenly exhibiting special...abilities?"

My imagination ran into overdrive. I wanted to answer these questions. I wanted to know this young girl and I wanted to help her. But she was going to have to go through some very tough obstacles. And she was going to have to kill someone before the story ended.

So take a pen, take a photograph, take a piece of music, and just let your imagination do what its damn good at doing...and see where the journey takes you.

Below are some photographs I found that I've been studying. I seek out the emotions behind them. I ask the questions that I know may never be answered, but that my imagination is willing to fill in.


Above is a girl with doves wings...because they're too small to be angels wings. I wonder if she's pretty, or if she's disfigured considering the way she turns her back to me. Isn't she cold? Why is she outside? Does anyone else know her secret?

Is the rain as warm as her smile? I wonder what she dreams of when she closes her eyes? She's going to raise her head up to the sky soon, isn't she? Motion, I sense motion. She's dancing in the rain.

Happy writing...to all of us.

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