By Lucille Howe
So, you’ve decided to write? Only, now you’ve also decided the front room could do with a quick Hoover, then the mantelpiece could do with a dusting and, ‘hmm, are those Kit-Kats still in the cupboard?’ The blank page is where all the fun happens, so here are FIVE ways to beat your block:
1. Spontaneously set your Smart Phone alarm and write for THREE minutes. Yep, just three minutes. Knowing you only have to commit to that short a period will allow you to freestyle. I like closing my MacBook and grabbing some old school pen and paper for this one…something about the physicality of writing helps me get stuck in.
2. Scribble FOUR feelings on scraps of paper. Try, LUST, ENVY, LOVE and GUILT for starters. Fold ‘em up and place in a cup. Write a couple of paragraphs introducing a character entering a party. High drama stakes! Only, write this guy/gal as the personification of the feeling you pull from the pile. It’s a fun way into characterisation.
3. Pimp a simile! Cold as ice, high as a kite, as good as gold…what if they were as cold as an assassin, as high as a teenage truant, as good as a fry-up on a hangover? Love this one for encouraging the writer to draw on modern, cultural references.
4. Are you mad for the Mona Lisa? Bonkers for Banksy? Wild for Warhol? Google Image your favourite work of art then write a paragraph on the story behind the picture. What has happened just before the image has captured? What went down between the people in it? Where is it set? What happened next?
5. Don’t try and mask how you’re feeling. If you’re distracted…bored…irritated…excited…is there a part of the piece you are working on that would be crazy-good if you channelled your ‘right now’ into your work?
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Lucille first became a published writer in 1991 in Premiere film magazine and has since contributed to most major magazines and newspapers, from The Mirror to Marie Claire. In 2001, she relocated to Australia where she worked as Features Editor for Cosmopolitan magazine. She then returned to the UK in 2006 to work as commissioning editor for Grazia and editor of the in-flight travel magazine, JetAway (for Jet2.com airlines). When she's not writing advertorials for the Australian tourist board, Lucille runs creative writing workshops for Channel 4 Television, as well as hosting in-house events as a presenter. You can find her at her website and on Twitter.