By Susan Reichert, Editor-in-Chief for Southern Writers Magazine
Have you ever been sitting at your computer, the story is pouring out of your head; you’re writing as fast as your fingers will go, then all of a sudden the words stop. Nothing! It’s like your mind just turned off. You’re blank.
Most writers have experienced this at least once. I have, on more than one occasion and the first time it happened I panicked. Yes, it rattled me; and I don’t rattle easy.
Eventually I got up from the computer, turned it off. Went to another room, grabbed a cup of coffee, a new mystery book, plopped down in my favorite chair and began to read. But that worm of doubt started to rear its ugly head and I wondered was it over? Was my writing over? Would I not be able to write again? What would happen to my job? I didn’t know how long this would last.
The next morning, I went to the computer, turned it on, pulled up my story, reread the last chapter I was working on and got to the part where I stopped. I tried, but the words would not come.
Rather than sit there and squirm, worry and fill up with more doubt, I got up from the computer and went for a walk.
When I got back, I remembered the exercise of choosing three words.
With pen and paper, I chose three words at random, ones that just popped into my head and wrote them down.
Then sitting down at the computer, I chose one of the three words to begin my first sentence with and used the other two in one paragraph. There was no pressure because I knew it didn’t have to make sense, the object was to use those three words in a paragraph regardless of how it turned out.
When I got to the end of the paragraph I kept writing, the words were still coming.
I was back in action. Somehow, that exercise got my creative juices flowing again.
I wound up with 2483 words before I knew it. Then I pulled up my story, reread the last chapter and was able to pick right up where I left off.
Maybe the next time your words don’t want to cooperate, try this exercise.
By the way, I went back and reread the 2483 words I wrote and with some editing, a tad of rewriting,
I will have a short story I can send off. Who knows, this piece might just get published.