Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Writer's block

Led my Matrix group of experienced writers this morning. Writer's block was on their request list. Don't we all have it from time to time in larger and smaller degrees. After a quote or two from writers' interviews I'd recently read we had a good spontaneous airing of 8 people's stuckness. Blocks ranged from 'finished one thing, 3 weeks dryness' to 'was going fine, now dwindled to 2 forced sentences per session' to 'hating and waiting for agents before I can move on' to '3 year block on one project' to outright depression. Whew.

This discussion led naturally to lots of helpful ideas, swaps of 'what works for me'. Then we looked at a list of 20 sources of blocks from Eric Maisel's A Life in the Arts (1994, Tarcher/Putnam, NY) and, by vote (which blocks seem to apply to you?) explored some more deeply. I had us stand up and do a couple of mild brain-mind physical excercises -- always good to remember we writers have bodies. Ended with some guided writing questions including, finally, an animated visualisation of the frozen-in-fear block, and getting the creature to move.

One of the best things about teaching experienced writers, for me, is that I get to work on myself at the same time that I'm helping the writers in the group.

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