Friday, June 22, 2012

Samantha Gray on Writer's Blog: With A Twist of Orange

Today we have a new guest blogger for you. Samantha Gray takes an old subject and gives it an (orange!) twist!

5 Ways to Clear That Writer's Block

Even the most prolific among us have days where, well, it just ain't happening. This can often lead to a spiral of despair, in which we can't write because we can't stop thinking about how we can't write. Has this ever happened to you? If not, you either haven't been writing long or, as Rudyard Kipling wrote, "by the livin' Gawd that made you, you're a better man than I am, Gunga Din!"

Here are my 5 Personal Secret Custom Methods™ for breaking that blockage loose:

1.     The Magazine Method

Walk to the nearest place where you can buy a magazine. (Or get in the car and drive, if you live in the suburbs.) Read the whole thing, if you're in the mood, or just skim. Take an article, any article, as your point of departure. Start writing on that topic and see where your mind leads you.

2.     The Orange Method

Same first step as above, unless you have an orange in your home (but getting out into the world is often one of the best things for writer's block anyway). Buy an orange. Peel. Examine. Eat. Now freewrite your sensory impressions, all five senses. Notice how, almost without trying, your language comes out vivid and immediate. Remember this technique when a piece of writing seems dead: it probably just needs some sensory juice!

3.     The Stopwatch Method

You know what makes me a great comedian?
Timing. That's right, timing is everything. Try timing yourself. Give yourself 10 minutes on the clock, and freewrite furiously. Stream of consciousness. Everything that comes to mind. Now, pencils down. What did you come up with? Was there something on your mind you didn't even know was there, but that you can use now to lead you into a real publishable piece?

4.     The Bedtime Prayer Method

Remember when you were a child, and you used to pray, "Now I lay me down to sleep…" for all the people you wanted God to look out for? Maybe you're even still in the habit. Well, do that, but on paper: think of all the friends, relatives, and acquaintances who are on your mind. What's going on in their worlds? This one's good for the soul as well as idea generation.

5.     The Radio Method

Turn on the radio. Start writing down what you hear, whether it's a commercial, a song, whatever. Just transcribe as quickly and faithfully as possible, as though you were a court reporter. When you've got a few paragraphs, stop and turn the radio off. Now look at what's on the page. Does it read well, or like, well, bad ad copy? Anything inspiring? Pick some sentences you would rewrite or improve. What would your radio show be like? What does this tell you about your writing voice?

Samantha Gray, who has attended both traditional and online schools for her college education, understands the value of a bachelor's degree. She is now a freelance writer who enjoys guiding readers through the sometimes labyrinthine process of pursuing a college education and a rewarding career. If you have questions or comments, please feel free to contact Samantha at samanthagray024@gmail.com


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Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and how to books for writers including the award-winning second ediction of, The Frugal Book Promoter: How to get nearly free publicity on your own or by partnering with your publisher; The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success; and Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers . The Great First Impression Book Proposal is her newest booklet for writers. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. Some of her other blogs are TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor . If your followers at Twitter would benefit from this blog post, please use the little Green widget to let them know about this blog:

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