Today’s prompt is to write about a lesson that I’ve learned that helped me overcome a challenge that I was facing. I struggled to come up with some way of writing about a challenge and the lesson that I learned that resulted in me triumphing over it. The more I thought, the more confused I became. In fact, I managed to develop a very stubborn type of writers block in a very short amount of time.
So now the blogging challenge has morphed into a crazy writing issue. Also I saw that my time was nearly up for getting the blog post in on Saturday. But wait. Does my blog post turn into a pumpkin at midnight? Oh, and on the west coast, it’s only 9 p.m. So I’m going to keep on writing.
But am I following the original prompt or is my blog post morphing into something else? Maybe it is the original prompt. Only I am writing about a challenge that is occurring right now, which is, “how do I come up with something to write about that is on topic when I am unable to come up with ideas and my writers block has reached epic levels?”
OK, so how about if I just sort of brainstorm until I get an idea? In my blog, for everyone to read. Actually, though, this is based on advice that I read in a book called “Writing Down The Bones,” by Natalie Goldberg. She has a gift for encouraging people to express themselves via the written word. She said that writing is not a linear process. You can write about anything. If you want to write about an avocado, write about that avocado. Maybe you have mad love for the avocado and you want to write a love poem to the avocado. That is OK.
Well, one of the ways to brainstorm is to do a timed writing. I think that I’ve mentioned this before. So, a timed writing is sort of like stretching before you run. You need to make sure that your muscles are ready for a good run, and the best way to do that is to stretch them so they don’t become stressed out by the run. A timed writing acts in a similar way. You get a few words or a sentence to start you off. Then you write nonstop for as long as you like. It could be five minutes, fifteen minutes, or even an hour. The key is to turn off that editor side of the brain. That’s the part of the brain that is constantly making commentary about what you’re writing and it isn’t usually complimentary.
“Hey, Alice, you’re off topic.”
“Hey, Alice, did you just misspell a word? Care to turn on the spell Czech?”
“Hey, Alice, no one cares about your topic. That’s why you only had two readers and they read your post only because they had to wait longer than usual for their toast to pop up!”
“Hey, Alice, wouldn’t you rather sweep the floor than write this drivel?”
And on and on it goes. Sort of like Bert and Ernie in Sesame Street.
When you turn off the internal editor, you give your imagination free rein. Or was that free reign? See what happens when your internal critic is taking a nap?
Natalie Goldberg, however, believes that there is a writer just waiting to pop out of every one of us if we would just encourage that internal critic to take a nap and let the imagination that we all possess come out and dance for a while on the page.
I guess that the lesson would be that I can tell my story. It’s the story of a challenge that I just overcame. I literally managed to write my way out of writers’ block. I think that you can apply that to other aspects of life, such as painting, storytelling, or even rearranging a closet. Turn off that internal critic and let yourself enjoy that creative spirit that is inside of you.