I’ll tell you a secret: when I get stuck and I simply cannot even pretend to know how to put words together to form some sort of creative, cohesive thought, when that officially happens, I play with similes. Listen, they happen to be one of my favorite things, ever. I don’t care that they are taboo; in fact, I am pretty sure that’s part of what’s so attractive.
It’s true. I go after the bad boy even in my writing process.
Anyway, we were talking about similes. Oh, and writer’s block. So yea, let’s be real, it’s not always flowing. It’s just not. It’s not even possible for it to always be flowing.
Sometimes there are legitimate reasons:
– I need to get out of the house and go live some [because really what right do I have to write about anything having to do with humanity if I refuse to even attempt to connect with said humanity]
– I’ve been writing for hours and I have nothing left to spat onto the page [be satisfied with that one: it is a rare glory].
But, there are also other moments when I am staring at my notebook or my computer screen, dumbfounded and forlorn, positive that I will never again be able to create, positive that the last drop of creative sweat has left my body, positive that from that point onward I am destined to trudge through the rest of life unable to even piece together a decent email!
Okay that may be a tad on the melodramatic side. Nonetheless, those moments come. Often, when they come, they come with an obstinacy that rivals even my personality. Then, like I said, I play with similes. Seriously, it’s so much easier than it sounds. Start with something stupid. Example: The dancer had feet like butterfly wings. Then, simply keep going.
The dancer had feet like butterfly wings. Wings like damp hay woven into panels. Hay like the golden streaks of a Hawaiian sunset. A sunset that moves me like the warmth of holding a newborn child. Warmth that spreads like soft butter on hot toast.
You get the point. I basically keep going until I fall upon some image or some feeling that I cannot let go of, something that pushes me out of “flight-of-fancy” world and back into brainstorming ideas, mentally developing characters and plot arcs, and general excitement about writing. Sometimes these little seeds become nothing and the next day I have to do the exercise again or I end up preferring to work on something else.
But once in awhile, I get a nugget of something good. And sometimes, that something good fuels an entire new piece. And once or twice, that new piece has ended up being some of my most endeared work.
Plus, that moment, the moment that follows a whole slew of doubtful or frustrated moments, it helps me remember: hey, this is you being a writer.
In this section, we invite writers we’ve had the pleasure of interacting with to talk about the writing process. For our first ever Guest Post we are thrilled to present Rachel Noelani Bovee who co-facilitated two workshops with us.
About Rachel Noelani Bovee
rachel noelani bovee recieved her mfa in creative writing from california college of the arts. as a writer, rachel finds capitalization to be uncomfortably formal and, in her more casual communication and pieces, chooses to use it for emphasizing purposes only. right now, she is fancying herself a temporary banglorean life, pieced together by spicier food than she’s been able to handle ever, more colorful clothing than she’s worn her entire adult life combined, and a brigade of beautiful souls- with her very dearest friend in the whole world at the forefront. when she’s not traipsing halfway around the globe, she lives and writes in a charming san franciscan flat in the fog near the ocean with her pup, pablo.
What do you make of this advice? Do you have your own way of getting rid of writer’s block? Share it with us. Leave us a comment.