Jan 15, 2014

Creatively Constipated? - Five Ways to Cure a Writer's Block (Part 1)

By Anum Ali

As a writer, sometimes, the creative system inside your mind just jams up. Writer’s Block works like constipation, and the reason is lack of inspirational fiber. Similar to the prevention and cure for a biological system jam problem, a writer needs to feed the mind well, and exercise it well to get things going. Ideas, once conceived, are like diarrhea - they do not stop!

Seek Adventure
“The world is not in your books and maps, it’s out there,” said Gandalf the Grey, the wizard, in the fantasy fiction movie, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2013), based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s literary masterpiece The Hobbit.

I am an introvert writer who functions at her best from the comforts of her writing study, nicknamed lovingly as The Madshack, with a cup of chai by my side. It is important, however, for a writer to step out of their comfort zone and seek adventure, in order to hunt for ideas. Just like pearls are found within the depths of the deepest, most dangerous seas, similarly, unique ideas also need to be sought. A writer, therefore, is required to be an adventurer.

Attending events, meeting people, traveling to exotic locations, attempting a feat as minimal as cooking or as daring as skydiving, and even a trip to a coffee cafe are all adventures that generate experiences. Experiences always develop great written masterpieces. Often writers, unwilling to go the extra mile or take risks, are the ones who suffer a Writer’s Block. Do not forget to go the extra mile to scoop up inspiration loads that take a while to exhaust before you need them again. I may be a lone ranger, but I have a unique eye for adventure.

In the words of Gandalf the Grey, “All good stories deserve embellishment. You will have a tale or two to tell of your own when you come back.”

Read to Write
The reading culture in America has registered a major decline according to a 2004 survey by the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency which supports arts and artists. A link has been established between this and the consequent decline in writing.

Reading is critical to the development of writing skills. I learned in Media Sciences School that all written fiction is structured on seven universal themes. The key to the uniqueness of a written piece is the way the writer twists the plot and decides to tell the story. Lord of the Rings and the Harry Potter series revolve around the same theme of good versus evil and a mission to destroy the dark villains. Reading sharpens the mind and polishes the skill of forming expressions.

In particular, for faith writers, such as those at Habibi Halaqas, it is of prime importance to read books such as the Quran and its translation and exegesis, books of Hadeeth and Sunnah, articles by scholars, and pieces by fellow writers. From personal experience I have discovered that reading religious literature and prose enhances my knowledge and results in the generation of writing ideas.

Reading blogs, newspapers (print or online), and online articles help identify topics that can be further written on. I like reading blogs by lifestyle bloggers. The narratives of incidents from their lives highlight issues that need to be written about in detail.

What do you do to cure your writer's block? Leave a comment in the comments section below :) 


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