By C.L. Phillips
"My name is Sara and I'm a writer. It's been 12 days since my last writer's block."
Admit it. You'd sneak into a twelve step program for writers if it banished writer's block. So what do you do when the muse goes on vacation? After you've cleaned your desk, polished the stove, eradicated every cobweb in your house? How do you bootstrap your creativity?
I've got a new book with a thousand pictures. I'm on page three. I open the book, and write a five hundred word flash fiction story using the picture as my writing prompt. If you twist my arm, I'll tell you what the pictures are about. Hint - I was inspired by a recent best seller.
A dear friend, Patricia Lee Lewis (http://www.writingretreats.org/), posts a writing prompt each week on her blog. Each prompt comes with a time limit. You pick up the pen and write like a demon, usually for twenty-five minutes. Something magical happens as my fingers sprint against the clock with each word, shoving my writer's block into the corner. I simply do not have time to mess with the resistance. Instead, I smash it on the head and press on.
Sometimes I use these prompted writings in my current project. More often, I find after the exercise that something clicked in my brain. My characters start chatting to one another, and I'm off to the races. Writer's Block vanquished.
And what do I do when pictures and prompts fail? Poetry. Yep, that's right. I *cough*gag*spew read poetry. Not that I would ever admit that to my friends. Usually Robert Frost. Something about good fences or the road less traveled. His poetry tumbles around in my brain like the scrubbing bubbles on a bathtub, taking the ring of self-doubt and confusion down the drain.
As with any secret weapon, there's one final instruction. Do it when you first arise in the morning. Before life invades. At least, that's what I've found. When I prime the creativity pump, first thing in the morning, it never runs dry. As with any personal advice, I'm sure your mileage will vary.
What's your secret weapon? What exactly do you do to keep your creativity pump spewing like an oil rig in the Gulf? Oops, maybe I could have picked a better analogy. Better yet, while you are laughing, hit that comment button and share a little of your own magic. Like all good 12 step meetings or Weight Watcher meetings, the best advice comes from those on the path.
C.L Phillips writes mystery novels while nestled under a hundred-year live oak tree in downtown Austin. Except in August. C.L writes about the the gap between what people want and what they actually do. Broccoli or chocolate chip cookies, anyone? Check out her web site: www.clphillips.com or find her onTwitter: @clphillips787