Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The Blank Mind Cure

Image by Mark Turnauckas, via Flickr
What do you do when your mind goes blank? Don’t tell me yours never does, because if you do I won’t believe you. Here is one way I deal with that awful blank page or screen, when suddenly your mind is as empty as the screen.

Be like a boy scout: Be Prepared. If you know this will happen to you (it happens to every writer), one thing that might help is to have a prepared list of things you are interested in. Make this list when your mind is not blank, but teeming with too many subjects that interest you. What is actually on the list doesn’t matter, as long as you have an interest, and preferably a passion, for the subject. Don’t elaborate, just write them down. Then save this list!

Here’s a list I made a couple of years ago. Some of the subjects I’ve already written about, others I no longer have an interest in. But others are still fertile ground waiting for me to plow through them. If one of them interests you, I’m happy to share.

Bee-keeping. Paganism. Candle-making. Hippies of the 1960s. Growing large zucchini and making zucchini boats. Spider webs. Starting a new business. The role of grandmothers. Aromatherapy. Community softball. Bungee cord jumping and those insane enough to try it. Television sitcoms and what they show about us. Siamese cats. The psychological effects of constipation. What you can learn from Alzheimer’s victims. Square dancing for round folks. True love and what it doesn’t conquer. The long shadows of lies. How Google is eliminating wonder. The sex lives of worms.

That’s my list. What’s on yours?

Kim Pearson is an author, ghostwriter, and owner of Primary Sources, a writing service that helps others become authors of professional and compelling books and articles. She has authored 12 books of her own, and ghostwritten more than 45 non-fiction books and memoirs. To learn more about her books or services, visit kimpearson.me.

5 comments :

  1. Your list is very entertaining in itself, Kim. I never thought of doing that -- I usually just go to my idea folder and check out all the "amazing" first sentences I've written and stuffed in there to see if one captures my imagination.

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  2. I have a folder titled "Widows & Orphans that has notes for story ideas, dream, and interesting articles that are story seeds.

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  3. You could create a really cool poem from that list, which should get those creative juices flowing. I just may make a poetic list of my own interests and tuck it away to cure those blank screen days.

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  4. I have an extensive list of anything and everything that I find interesting. I particularly note down what movies, TV shows, and books I enjoyed and try to dig out exactly what themes and ideas I responded to: friendship is a big one for me. I love stories about complicated and deep friendships. And, yes, if I get stuck, I look at my file and usually find something I can add to get the cogs moving again.

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  5. Being a crime fiction writer, I'm afraid my list would get me investigated. Right now, I'm trying to figure out how to make someone violently ill for a few days.

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The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.

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