Tuesday, September 7, 2010

On how not to do it

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you a scientific experiment that may or may not have been conducted by yours truly in an honest attempt to test various strategies to beat writer’s block. I give you:

1) Lock yourself in your 2 by 2 square feet apartment (I’m only exaggerating a bit) with the logic that with NO distractions it has to crack. (Scientist’s note: it might also be an idea to unplug the internet for this tactic to be successful.)

2) Drink alcoholic beverages. Claims have been made that this is supposed to release the creative juices, but the test subject found that it only released a whole different set of juices.

3) Swear and curse at or into pillows. Nope. Not helping.

4) Paint your fingernails. Strangely enough this appears to not have an effect on the ability to crack the block.

5) Make and hang up a poster of 46 judgmental giraffes (and one penguin) with the hope that their penetrating stare will guilt you into writing.

6) Count the aforementioned giraffes (and penguin) to make sure you’ve got it right.

7) Allow a crappy movie to play in the background to make the task seem less serious and scary (Scientist’s note: this will interfere with the no distractions point)

8) Google “writer’s block”. (Actually, this might give you some clues of how to beat it for real, but what absolutely doesn’t help is when you put “writer’s clock” in the search field. I am now the owner of a very spiffy watch, though..)

Scientist's conclusion: None of the above were efficient.

33 comments:

welcome to my world of poetry said...

A most interesting read, did it work for you.....now about the swearing into tow pillows that's a good idea but somehow I will give this a miss,

Yvonne.

Piedmont Writer said...

My one sure fire way to beat writer's block has always been to clean. Something, anything, the house, the garage, the yard, my room, a closet, the kichen pantry. Whatever I can get my hands on, I scrub from top to bottom, rearrange within an inch of its life. Usually that works for me.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I've found that alcohol leads to a slew of new distractions. Not recommended!

Mason Canyon said...

While these attempts may not break writer's block, they do make for fun reading. BTW, the lone penguin poster needs a mate. :)

Mason
Thoughts in Progress

Cruella Collett said...

Yvonne - sadly, the effectiveness of all of these methods was somewhat limited...

PW - and if it doesn't work, at least your house is clean, right? I should do this...

Alex - so true! I never get those who can concentrate after a glass of wine.

Mason - glad you liked it :) And while it might be true that the penguin needs a mate, he does have a lot of giraffes to choose from...

Aubrie said...

Actually, having a glass of wine really does help me write!

Clarissa Draper said...

None of the above!? Hmm, how much alcohol did you drink?

I love the list. Well, next time I'm stuck, I know not to try the above.

CD

Jules said...

Alcohol would only make me want to talk to the lone penguin. How's that new spiffy watch working for you? :)

This was down right funny :D
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Melody said...

Haha, this is great!
...helps if you disconnect internet, yes. :)

Hart Johnson said...

Writer's clock. CLASSIC. I want a copy of that 46 judgmental giraffes poster (and a penguin) and I know a certain penguin who probably ALSO wants one.

You are too funny, Mari. (Now back to it--I want you to FINISH your thesis so you can just make stuff up again)

Cold As Heaven said...

Swearing and cursing help, I think >:)

Cold As Heaven

Holly Ruggiero, Southpaw said...

I love your list of suggestions to break the block. Those haven't worked for me either.

Erica said...

hahaha so so funny and true! Hello, by the way, new follower of yours :)

nonamedufus said...

Blogger's Block is a documented illness. Oh yeah. Not unlike the advice in the all too many medicinal ads I saw on TV last night I'd have to advise "if you're having suicidal thoughts, be sure and consult a doctor'. Of course, he was the same guy that prescribed the drug your taking in the first place. Oh, well. Good luck with that.

Cruella Collett said...

Aubrie - wow, lucky you! I just started singing, holding my arms around my thesis, acting like we were BFFs...

Clarissa - ha! Good question! I'm not sharing... (Nah, really, it wasn't so bad. I didn't have a lot. Perhaps not enough?)

Jules - tee hee - I didn't actually buy the watch... But you do get some funny results if you type "writer's clock" into Google images.

Melody - that is probably the best suggestion I've had so far. The problem is that a lot of my research material is online, actually, so turning it off entirely isn't always possible. But I wish it would kick me out from sites such as stumbleupon.com...

Tami - wish I remembered where I made the poster (there's a website, and you print it out at home), but the image is easy enough. It was, naturally, made by yours truly (and can be viewed here: http://thegiraffabilityofdigressions.blogspot.com/2010/07/on-randouvites.html)

Ketil - oh, I don't know. Perhaps if you don't do it to pillows... (I am inventing a whole new range of swear words, though. Such as CHAPTER FIVE!)

Holly - oh, you conducted this experiment as well? We should compare lab notes ;)

Erica - hello! Always nice to meet new followers :) Too bad you caught me in my current state of stress. I really am much nicer when I don't have terrile deadlines looming over me...

nonamedufus - those ads somehow always cracked me up when I was in the US. Especially the guy at the end, speakingwithoutanystopsjusttotellusofallthenastysideeffectsofthedrug. But we've been over that on this blog before... ;)

Pat Tillett said...

those damn giraffes! They are just a bit judgmental, aren't they? And with those long necks they can easily peek over your shoulder to what you are writing, if anything...

RosieC said...

Haha. Thanks for running such detailed experiments. I don't know if it would help or not, but I have a post today about getting out of your comfort zone. Maybe you could do something that's not directly writing-related.

Although, really, I find the best way to beat writer's block is to tell myself I *can't* write for X number of days, and two days before that's up I'm chomping at the bit to get back at it with all kinds of new ideas.

Good luck! And what watch did you buy? :)

PS--I always work with a glass of wine. Of course, any night after 7pm I have a glass of wine (just one or two, though, don't worry!). But maybe Jules is right about drinking and talking to the penguin. Maybe you guys can bounce some ideas off of each other.

A penguin and a giraffe walk into a bar.... :)

Claudia said...

Hi C.C,
I thought the alcoholic beverage would help a bit, LOL! ;)
Hmmm, you mentioned TV but not music. That always works for me. Music, yeah!

Deb and Barbara said...

Writer's clock? I want one. In fact, I think that's just the ticket.

B

Ellie said...

Wine, painted nails, giraffes...Wow!
This sounds like an indie film in itself or maybe an idea for a book!
YOU have unblocked yourself...lol!

M.J. Nicholls said...

You've actually given me Comment Writer's Block. I can't think of an adequate response.

Maybe I've absorbed your block and now you are free. I hope not (for my sake) and I hope so (for your sake).

Cruella Collett said...

Pat - so true. They blink their long eyelashes and look at me with their big, black eyes. "Why, Cruella, why didn't you write anything yet? WHY?"

Rosie - oh, I must check that out. Though frankly, I've felt out of my comfort zone for months now. There is nothing comfortable about this thesis! And your "no writing until Y" sounds like a plan. If I had more time, that is.

"A penguin and a giraffe walk into a bar..." I'll have to think about this one!

Claudia - that is true. I do like to listen to music when I write (or do anything else, really). Often the trick is to turn the music off if it's on, or on if it's off, or just to change the music I listen to. Sometimes I find I write better with classical music, sometimes I prefer pop. Music is definitely a great motivator for me.

Barbara - I want mine to say "stop procrastinating, start writing!"

Ellie - haha, perhaps I should write about myself having a writer's block! Metafiction, anyone ;)

Mark - oh, no; oh, dieu! That is a terrible infliction, and I am truly sorry to have caused it. Did you remember to nudify?

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

Love your list and think I’ve tried most everything on it, except perhaps for #5 and #6. I've discovered that playing solitaire is not a very effective method for removing writer's block either.

LTM said...

oh, god! It's the worst, I know... But LOL at your funny list... alcoholic bevs... :D Nope! But fun~

Sometimes exercise helps? Maybe??? Or take a shower and relax... I read somewhere that the greatest ideas come in the shower b/c you're so relaxed...

Helpful? :D

Patricia Stoltey said...

I'm sorry to laugh, but that's a very funny post. If you have writer's block, sit down and write something about your childhood instead of working on the blocked topic. You'll either end up creating your memoir, or you'll break through the block and starting getting new ideas.

Patricia

Talli Roland said...

Oh no...!

I hope you beat it! I'm with Anne - cleaning is one way to get me back in the chair! Good luck - sending you lots of positive vibes.

Cruella Collett said...

Jane - haha, no, I would assume #5 and #6 isn't something the average writer attemps. But I figured - let no road block be left unclimbed! You never know what might work, right? ;)
And I agree - Solitare has never been a friend of people who wants to get things done!

Leigh - exercise might help, though often it puts me in a "I've already been good today" frame of mind, and then I can't make myself work more... As for showers - my mind tends to drift away. It's like any good ideas follow the water down the drain. Perhaps I need to block it for good measure?

Patricia - why not let my misery cheer others up, right? And your advice sounds like a good one. If nothing else my childhood was so uninteresting that I will have to write something more interesting sooner or later ;)

Talli - thank you! I guess no one escapes it completly, so I take all the advice I can for when it returns...

Jen said...

Bahaha, for someone who isn't having the best of luck currently sorting out their ideas this was brilliant!!! I had a great laugh at my insanity (and yours) and have started to feel somewhat lighter... yes only somewhat, can't push it!!

I hope you're climbing out of the writer's block hole and into writing bliss!!! If not, I'd say if the wine didn't help, it at least takes the edge off. That or a cookie, the cookie always helps me :)

Cruella Collett said...

Jen - glad that I could actually help you find some motivation, and not just a giggle ;) You'll get there!

Now I want a cookie...

Claudia said...

i thought the one penguin may brings the breakthrough….smiles
fun read!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Try peanut M&M's and icey-cold Mountain Dew! :-)

DLCurran said...

I'm still laughing! I try watching documentaries on National Geographic channel and pulling parts out to weave into my story. But then I have to look up all the words I don't know and change everything I've already got down and... maybe I should give those giraffes a try?
Looking forward to coming back here! :)

Cruella Collett said...

Claudia - perhaps I need to give the penguin another chance? ;)

Shannon - aaaah, now I crave m&m's! We don't really have them in Norway. We have something that's almost like them. And then there are stores that have really expensive, really small packs of the real deal, but only the regular ones (or perhaps also peanut? I have never seen the purple peanut ones, at least, and those are my favourite).
Uhm.. You were saying..? Ah, writer's block! ;)

DLC - oh, the giraffes can be very helpful with words you don't know. They make up new ones for you! Mostly giraffe-related words, though...

Related Posts with Thumbnails