Today, I’m going to share a way to avoid writer’s block and have a good time doing so. Writer’s block is that evil thing that keeps you from translating the stories in your head into words on the page. It occurs at the most inconvenient time and it is an annoying plague for most writers. I don’t think that I know anyone who can write fluently, on command, at any time of the day or night.
Hence, the writing exercise. It’s a way to loosen up and turn off that irritating internal editor that is offering unwanted criticism. The internal editor needs to sleep when you are writing. It can wake up when you’re in the rewrite stage and you need your story or article to make sense.
For today’s creative writing exercise, I went to this website:
Random Subject Generator
Click onto “generate a subject,” and you will get a subject. If you don’t like the subject, click again, and it will give you a different subject. The subject that I got was “write about a phobia.” I thought about writing about driving tests because I just managed to fail a second driving test. But then I thought that might encourage a phobia that would cause a third road test fiasco. So I’ll do some random free writing, avoiding the topic of “cars.”
If you’re having trouble coming up with a first line for your free writing activity, you can use a “random first-line prompt.” You can find it at: random first line prompt
I’m going to paraphrase the prompt, as I am writing in the first person. It said, “It was time. She’d fought against it for so long…”
The next thing is to set a timer for ten minutes. You can write your first line before setting the timer. Then turn on the timer and write nonstop for ten minutes. Don’t worry about spelling or grammar. Don’t worry about making sense. Just write. Let the words flow freely. Enjoy the process. It will feel good. The ten minutes will sail by.
It was time. I’d fought against it for so long. I had to walk over that overpass. Ugh. I just said it. Traffic. Cars. I wasn’t going to write about cars. OK, well, I will. But not about driving the things. About the noise and chaos of cars going everywhere, to my side, beneath me. Everywhere. The terrible noise on an overpass. I walked with my friend onto the overpass. We were singing. I was trying to get over my fear of bridges and overpasses. Get over. Um. No. That wasn’t happening. Not that day. As I walked, the terror increased dramatically. Not incrementally. Dramatically. I could feel my heart pounding as the sound of all of those vehicles burned into my ears and landed in the center of my head. As the chaotic noise got louder to the point of deafening, I could feel my body but I couldn’t tell where it was in space. I was being eaten alive by noise. The noise everywhere. The noise in my head. The noise taking over my heartbeat. My friend could sense my panic and she turned me around and we went to a field where I sat down and started to cry in relief and sadness that, once again, I had failed to conquer my demon, my phobia.
Conquering a phobia is not easy and is usually not successful. I have found that I’ve been able to conquer many hurdles in life, such as being unable to find steady employment by running a seasonal gardening business. But I have been unable to conquer my phobias, specifically my fear of bridges and overpasses, as well as claustrophobia and fear of crowds. When you add in sensory processing disorder, this attempt to cure phobias becomes a formidable project.
I have no answer for how to conquer a phobia. Generally, I go for avoidance. Avoid walking on those terrifying overpasses. Avoid going into crowded places. If I see a crowded elevator, I take the stairs. Apparently, having phobias can be a benefit at times because walking up stairs is a good cardiovascular exercise. OK, so I am panicky but I am in good shape. Well, I guess that is OK.
At that place where I failed to cross the overpass, I did manage to get a ride from a friend who understood my fear. She said that it was OK and that I was brave for having made the attempt to overcome the phobia. That it didn’t happen was not my fault. It is OK not to succeed. It is not possible to be a success all of the time.
Anyway, I was happy that I did not have to cross that overpass, and I won’t be looking for overpasses to cross. So what more can I say about phobias? They are real. They seem at times to rule my life. But that’s OK….
Time is up.
So that’s what you do. As you can see, this story is fairly rough. It gets across the feelings, but it needs editing. That is fine. It is easier to edit your story if you have something there. That’s why you want to write your first draft quickly and then get to the editing stage.
Have fun and do a creative writing exercise.