Alot of people feel like writer’s block is something you just have to power through, but I’ve never found that worked for me. I find being brave and doing it anyway just feels stinky and frightening and makes me more blocked the next time I show up to write.
So I came up with a game that makes the writer’s block go away so that I don’t have to power through something that, when you think about it, is self-generated and therefore just as powerful as I am and therefore, I cannot really defeat. (Picture Superman and Bizarro Superman spinning in a death grip into the bottom of an abyss…not fun.) Instead, I made friends with writer’s block.
I say, Ok, you win, WB, I’m not going to work on that project right now. Instead, I’m going to read the prompt for the project (assignment, book, etc) and then I’m going to write whatever comes into my head on that topic for two minutes straight.
For that two minutes, I am not allowed to stop writing. I am not allowed to look up. I have to keep the pencil moving or the keyboard tapping. What’s more, I am not allowed to judge my writing at all.
JUST TWO MINUTES.
After two minutes, I get a cookie or a cup of coffee or, if I’m lucky, a cannoli. (God I love cannolis).
Then I set my timer again for SEVEN WHOLE HORRIBLE MINUTES.
And I write and write and write. I write anything that comes into my head even if it isn’t about, in this case, an experience with education. If I have to resort to writing, gee I can’t think of what to say, then that’s what I write. It doesn’t matter as long as I’m practicing letting it rip —
Because if it do this every day, it isn’t long before I’m lighting up the page, skating across it, making that magic happen. Instead of trying to come up with something to say, I am trying to get my ideas down fast so I don’t forget any!!
Once I’ve done that for a few sessions, I take a break. And I read the nonsense I’ve written. Often times it is filled with silliness! But then I find those nuggets… and a nugget of gold is worth the whole filthy mining process, isn’t it? I mean, if you come up with a bucket of gravel and dirt but oh there’s that one nugget of gold, well that’s worth the whole trip, isn’t it? I mean no one complains, when they find gold, that they also found gravel. That would be ludicrous!!! Of course you found gravel, people would shout! Everyone has gravel! But not everyone has the gold!!!
But wait, there’s more.
Now you copy those good ideas down careful.
The time Ms. Sharp wouldn’t let me play with the feather ostrich.
The time my best friend cried in my arms because she had failed Algebra for the 3rd time.
The time I went to that nice calm tutor in the library and she helped me and I wasn’t sure how she’d done it.
And then I have my ideas for what I’m going to write about and a little outline to go with it. Because all that is missing for it to be a “proper” outline are those silly roman numerals.
Why I Became a teacher Essay (Education Narrative)
I. Ms. Sharp wouldn’t let me play with the feather ostrich marionette.
II. My best friend cried in my arms because she had failed Algebra for the 3rd time.
III. I went to this nice calm tutor in the library and she helped me and I wasn’t sure how she’d done it.