Curation Corner: 9 Ways to Chip Away at Writer’s Block

This 2019 Writer’s Digest guest column by Hope Bolinger shares

9 Weird Ways to Beat Writer’s Block

New to me:

Change your font. (Comic Sans gets some props here.)

Two I’m willing to try tomorrow:

Change your font

Take a shower. My wife will appreciate that. In fact, the whole neighborhood will.

By the way, these block-busting ideas are just as valuable as simple kicks in the keister.

Curation Corner: Quotes to inspire writers

Some of my favorites…

“I wish I’d written more and worried less.” —Meg LaTorre from “Breaking In”

“Don’t live or write in a bubble. My creativity is fueled when I talk with other creative people.” —Melissa Croce from “Breaking In” [I have to work on this one. TH]

“A good twist should never leave the readers feeling tricked.” —Simon Gervais from “Twisty Business”

Challenge: Find at least one quote that can serve as bulletin board material.

Curation Corner: focusmate.com

Image by Tumisu from Pixabay 

I just finished a short Getting Our Creative Minds Back for 2022 session hosted by Jill Badonsky.

One resource she shared: focusmate.com–Where life gets done, together™

Here’s a helpful four-minute video overview from the University of Waterloo.

Highlights:

— 3 free sessions per week. No credit card required.

— clear community guidelines

— use of behavioral triggers to achieve a flow state:

Pre-commitment

Implementation intentions

Social pressure

Accountability

Specificity in task definition

If you feel mired in procrastination and self-doubt, why not give it a try?

My first appointment is this coming Friday. Will let you know how it turns out.

Curation Corner: Time for some advice…or not.

Image by Michael Arwin Urban from Pixabay

So, let me give you a little advice… ;-|

5 Pieces of Common Writing Advice You Should Absolutely Ignore

A few comments:

Some folks have written complete books on item #1.

Sometimes that longer word just does the work much more effectively.

We’ve all heard about that ‘filthy first draft’ [I prefer the alliterative version.]. But knowing there is a massive clean-up operation ahead often steers me anywhere but there.

The best piece of advice came at the end: “use the wisdom that works for you and discard the rest.”

Keep putting words on the page! Unless, of course, it’s one of your off-days. Or you don’t feel like ‘showing, not telling’. Or you prefer to simply ‘not edit” period/ever/I’ll smack anyone who suggests it!’ vs. ‘edit-as-you-go to’!

There now, wasn’t that helpful?

Curation Corner: 30 uses for those half-used or blank notebooks

Lots of good ideas in Shelby Abrahamsen’s

30 FUN AND EFFECTIVE WAYS
TO USE A BLANK NOTEBOOK

You’ll see some of my favorites in the intro graphic.

Plus, there is something non-threatening to picking up a half-used notebook and diving in with your latest brainstorm. Just my observation…

Curation Corner: Can/should writers multitask? A verdict.

I couldn’t help myself. This image just spoke to the ‘task-switcher’ in me.

First off, my posting this is the epitome of multitasking, as I was in the middle of a search for online images for another project. I guess that makes me as qualified as anybody to post this. (Further proof of my qualifications: Dating back a couple of weeks, I have three separate posts in draft mode.)

Sadie Chelsea of thehonestwriter.org breaks down the issue for us here.

One thought: Sadie’s post claims “Multitasking can even impair cognitive ability…” For me, that’s assuming I have any left.

Another thought: There are some mindless tasks that can be accomplished while, say, exerbiking or with the TV on. Granted, it may well erode that cognitive ability discussed above.

A third thought: I’ve run out of cognitive ability for the moment. Time to click ‘publish’.

Stuck for writing topics? Visit Quora.

Image by Dean Moriarty from Pixabay 

Okay, so here I sit and there is a dog on the floor beside me who is morally (possibly even biologically) opposed to humans using technology when he’s nearby. In other words, he’s smarter than most humans, including me.

Despite the canine objections…seeing as how I’m well into retirement, I was struck with this thought: At what age does a man become a codger?

So I clicked over to Quora. Lots of ideas and discussion [and ads, but I’m sure you’re as adept as I am at looking past that stuff.]

Then, in the right column ‘Are you a geezer, codger, or coot? caught my eye.

Seemed like a fun little etymology exercise.

And it set off my idea machine [ten ideas ideally on a single topic] exercise for the day:

Find ten writing topics from this page on Quora.

1. When did I become a codger?

2. Does my dog think I’m a codger? [An interview]

And I came across, this guy on Quora, who fed me all kinds of topics—

He says he still believes in ‘silly little things like:

3, “Life is simply a never ending series of decisions.”

4. “We are in control of our destiny, although politicians think they are.”

And my favorite…

5. “Worry is the most egregious mistreatment of imagination that there is.”

This person is also shooting to live to 112 1/2—a source of multiple topics…

6. “What if I knew I’d live that long? How would I live my life right now?”

7. “Do I want to live that long?”

8. “If I knew the exact date, or even month, of my passing, how would I treat those last few months?”

And circling back to the original ‘When did I become a codger?’…

9. Would there be a new classification/label for someone who’s hanging around at 112? 

10. Where would I be warehoused at that age?

11. Would I still have a dog at that age?

12. When should we decide to NOT have a dog? [i.e. don’t want to leave him ownerless/homeless if I should pass—or— don’t want to be so feeble that I can’t take good care of him]

So these are thoughts that might have entered my mind as I celebrated World Baking Day yesterday. Instead, I focused on chocolate chip-peanut butter-cranberry cookies and a fresh loaf of Italian cheese bear bread.

Other stuff I’m doing:

retiredguys.net

and more Goodwill Words Project letters.

Curation Corner: Make your writing fit and trim.

Photo by Patrick Kool on Unsplash

I ran across this post from vappingo.com (a valuable new find) that’s all about ridding your work of ‘flabby words and expressions’.

Exact Title: 164 PHRASES AND WORDS YOU SHOULD NEVER USE IN AN ESSAY—AND THE POWERFUL ALTERNATIVES YOU SHOULD

I like the ‘powerful alternatives’ part…

A few examples:

— Use ‘will differ’ instead of ‘will be different’.

— Use ’emphasize’ instead of ‘point out’.

–Use ‘Start by’ instead of ‘The first step is to…’

While I don’t write essays, a quick scan of the list awakened me to lazy expressions I’ve used in my posts and letters.

Note: After reviewing the post, I’m now paranoid about every word I’m writing. Probably a good idea to NOT check out this post…

Photo by Anderson Rian on Unsplash

before your first drafts.

There are 17 more pages of Vappingo posts here.

Curation Corner: Are you a writer who’s stuck? Try freewalking.

Photo by Jamie Street (Unsplash)

Hey, it works for Jessica Lourey!

I’ve enjoyed seven of her Mira James Mysteries (set in Battle Lake, Minnesota–population 927) books, so I looked up Jessica Lourey on Amazon and voilà!

Check out her May 2, 2021 Freewalking post.

Some excerpts:

“Every time I finish these emotionally honest books, I free a piece of Little Jessie…” (herself)

The Pretender will be my twenty-first novel, so you’d think I’d have things figured out by now, and I do when it comes to the mechanics of it. My experience, though, has been that writing’s always hard, and my fears grow to fit the space I give them.”

“So when I say I have something that works despite, know that I’m not just blowing smoke. I’m coming at you from the trenches.
Here it is, my miracle cure for don’t-writis: freewalking.”

Here also is Jess’s TedX Rapid City talk: Use Fiction to Rewrite Your Life

Hope you enjoy and learn a little something!

Curation for Writers: Become an Idea Machine

Photo by CJ Dayrit on Unsplash

I ran across this photo and it immediately revived my appreciation for Become An Idea Machine by Claudia Azula Altucher and James Altucher.

A few quotes from the book’s foreword by James:

“…idea generation, of the good kind, the kind that helps you AND OTHERS, which is the type you will exercise in this book, is worth ten times that, or more.”

“You can’t trust the old style of thinking anymore…You have to come up with a new way of thinking, a new way of having ideas…we can train it (the mind) to work for us, and to move us in the direction of a life of fulfillment. One day at a time.”

“The way is this: Come up with ten ideas a day.
That’s it.”

“Coming up with ten ideas a day is like exercise. And exercise makes the idea muscle grow stronger.”

***

NOTE: The Kindle version is 99 cents. Yes, 99 cents! For a 251-page ebook with lots of…you guessed it, IDEAS!
The link to the book is an affiliate link. If you happen to buy the book through that link, it doesn’t NOT affect the price, but it does give me a small commission, which I’ll be using to buy my small island in the Caribbean…or the yacht I’ll need to get to that island…or my therapist who’s exhausted himself trying to dispel my daily delusions.