Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Writer’s Block

According to, writer's block is "a usually temporary condition in which a writer finds it impossible to proceed with the writing of a novel, play, or other work."

Phew! That's good news to me. I was so worried I had writer's block that I even made mention on both MySpace and Facebook. But writer's block isn't my problem at all if the definition above is correct, and I can confidently say that because of just one word in that definition. Proceed.

You see, I am stumped with a particular writing task, but it isn't a problem of "proceeding" with the writing. No, my problem is with "starting." Let me explain, and perhaps some of you can offer suggestions that will help me through this thing.

Several months ago, the Humble Fiction Cafe writers group embarked on a writing assignment whereby those participating made up and wrote letters. It could be any kind of letter; a love letter, business letter, Dear John letter, etc, with props and fancy stationary or envelopes allowed. We collected the letters, and making sure no one retrieved their own contribution, we randomly selected the letters as a basis for a story. The premise was that the letter would serve as inspiration, get our muse in gear, and maybe even force some of us to write in a genre we hadn't yet experimented with.

I very reluctantly pulled a letter after being assured we had no deadlines for this project, and that I could take all the time I wanted.

It was going to be a challenge for me to write a story based on the letter I received. After reading the letter several times and racking my brain for storyline ideas, I set it aside while I finished writing my short story, Reservations for Two. I'm the type writer that seems to work better on one project at a time.

Now it's time for me to start my "letter writing" story, but I'm stuck. My letter has not prompted the swell of ideas I had hoped for. In fact, I haven't come up with a single idea that doesn't stink!

By now I think everyone in the group has completed their assignment, so I'm sure the author of my letter must know I have it and be wondering why I haven't come forth with a story. Rest assured, I'm struggling with it working on it.

Let's hope that my muse will kick in and I'll have a flood of ideas soon. In the meantime, please feel free to offer your thoughts for getting out of this slump. It is surely appreciated.