Writer’s block

creativity killers

It’s #ThrowbackThursday, and we’re looking back to a post from 2009. How do you spark your creative process when you’re stumped?

The creativity killers have invaded

creativity killers

The creativity killers have invaded, and I’m stumped on how to spark my creativity. I’m at an odd place in my writing – too close to the end of one book to be interested in it (no surprises left) and not far enough into another to know what the characters are doing. Plus, it’s summer, and my attention has been pulled toward vacations, sunny days, and a four-day work week.
What to do, then, to spark the creative side of my mind and get back into the swing of writing?
Not plotting. Not goal, motivation and conflict.

We’re going back to old school, folks.

Hand writing. It’s an exercise called Morning Pages, and it’s the brainchild of Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way. The premise is to set aside a specific time every day and free write until three pages of 8-1/2″ x 11″ paper is filled.  No plotting, no stories, just whatever comes into your head and DON’T REREAD.  The thought is deeply buried problems will be revealed as well as the solutions.  After a specific period of time (I was given seven weeks.  I’ve made it through three days so far)  you’re to reread all your writing, circling the items you want changed and underlining action steps.  More often than not, the solutions are tucked away within your gripes.

Now, I haven’t read the book yet, and I’m taking the exercise from someone who participated in a class a decade or more ago, but it sounds like a solid theory.  I’m willing to give it a try.  So far, the writing has swung between griping about not having enough organization in my life and lists of ways I could organize it.  See, it’s working already.

Off now to put in my pages for the day.

Good luck on yours.

***2018 Cheryl returning****

p.s. I’ve since purchased The Artist’s Way.

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How do you kickstart your muse when you're stuck writing?

#Throwback Thursday

This post originally appeared October 25, 2009. None of the advice to kickstart your muse has lost its relevance. . .

I’m back from a weekend writing retreat and feeling recharged. It’s one thing to say “If I just had a chunk of time. . .” and actually sitting down and writing. I pushed through and finished my latest W.I.P.

How can you kickstart your muse?

How do you kickstart your muse when you're stuck writing?


  • Don’t get out of the habit of daily writing.  It’s easy to do. Life intrudes and “I’ll write tomorrow” can become a mantra. Instead, set your alarm for 10 minutes. You’ll be surprised how much you can write in that time and how much over the limit you’ll go.
  • Turn off your inner editor. Don’t search for the perfect word. I’m a fan of XXX. When in doubt for the best word, the name of that character in the 2nd chapter, or whatever it is that you’re stuck on, insert XXX. When you come back to it during your edits, it won’t seem as important.
  • Don’t reread what you’ve written. In preparation for this retreat, I printed off the last ten pages of what I’d written. I never looked at them. I started from the last sentence and pushed on from there.
  • Even if you think you’re writing dreck, it’s good dreck. Not every building can be the Taj Mahal. Sometimes you have to start with a straw hut and make a lot of improvements.

Now that my book is done, I have a week to go through it and make my first cut of edits. On Nov. 1st, I’m starting a new story. I won’t be shooting for the full 50,000 words, but I’ll be participating in my own version of NaNoWriMo http://www.nanowrimo.org/ and taking my own advice.

Happy writing!

****2017 Cheryl returning****I’m not sure which book I was stuck on as I don’t keep a book diary (bad me), but from the MSWord doc files I have stored, it might have been Tall, Dark and Slayer. Buy it here.

Thank you for joining me in the WayBack Machine.

I want to take my Alexa Rank to the next level with My Friend Alexa





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A writng prompt can spark your imagination

A writing prompt using the way-back machine

Do you use a writing prompt when you get a big case of writer’s block or to spark your writing?

A writing prompt can spark your imagination.Here’s one from 2005, when the Grand Rapids Region Writers Group first started and lacked a speaker for their meeting.

The dead make good neighbors; I mean, they don’t trot over at all hours and beat upon one’s domicile door for a bit of sugar or whatnot; they don’t accost one after church and press ragged tickets upon one for some bally fete or another, nor bung off to Bath after dropping their beastly pets for me to watch; no, as a whole, your graveyard corpse is a quiet, peaceful sort of Johnnie.

(whew!  Talk about your run-on sentences)

Here’s what I wrote in the 15 minutes allotted:

I never minded living next door to the cemetery.  Except for the occasional police car parked in the drive, the officers taking a break from donuts and the high crime of our sleepy little town, hoping to catch a speeding car as they punched through the 30 m.p.h. limits coming out of town.  Halloween was even quiet, the citizens preferring old man Mooney’s yard to festoon with toilet paper or to upend small cars on Main Street.

I thought I had a good deal, living next to the quiet dead, who, as previously mentioned, make pretty good neighbors.

That is, until the drug drops started.

It seems the local riff-raff, the pillars of let’s-take-advantage-of-children society, decided the cemetery was the perfect place to conduct business.  Think about it.  The back of the cemetery was secluded, away from curious eyes, everything you’d want to conduct a drug deal.  And, if anything went wrong, they wouldn’t have to transport the body far.

This had gone for about a month, undetected by the local law, when the dead decided they’d had enough interruption of their eternal rest.

Ghosts in the cemetary take umbrage to late night crime

Do you use writing prompts?

What’s your favorite prompt?






Thank you for traveling in my time machine to 2005. If you’ve enjoyed this little exercise, please use the share buttons on the left.

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Blessings to all!


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