InfoComm MCA-I Pro-Track: It was a dark and stormy night

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MCA-I Pro-Track: It was a dark and stormy night

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By Charlotte Powell 

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SOURCE: Tips from MCA-I Pro Track � POSTED: 03/22/05
By Charlotte Powell 

We’ve all seen the Peanuts character, Snoopy, sitting at his typewriter, with the infamous line, “It was a dark and stormy night,” written on his typing paper. Snoopy has always piqued my curiosity, and left me wondering what comes after his opening line. Perhaps he doesn’t have a second sentence to offer; maybe he, like most writers, is experiencing the dreaded “Writer’s Block!!”

I’ve heard of a few writers who never have writer’s block, but these people are in the minority. When your job is putting words on a blank page consistently, it isn’t uncommon to run dry.  One of the problems is something I call “mental laryngitis.”

You know your subject; you have your opening, but the farther along you get, the harder it is to complete your assignment. Your creative spark is gone; you’ve developed mental laryngitis and can’t find your writing voice. Work comes to a complete halt and nothing, including another cup of coffee or a bite of a Snicker’s bar, helps.

As a writer, who depends on the money I make from selling my work to help support my family, I had to find a way to conquer this problem, so I came up with some exercises that have helped me and might help you.

Though I now write fiction, I often find myself losing touch with my creative voice. When that happens nothing I write works on the page. If this is your problem, too, here is a tip that can set you back on track. Find something you’ve written that was very good and read it out loud.

Speaking your written words, hearing the rhythm of your unique style, is very powerful when dealing with writer’s block. Especially if the reason you’re stuck is external. External problems are something everyone faces, and can interfere with work no matter what you do for a living. For writers, though, it can be paralyzing.

Voices in your head, reminding you of everything that is going on in your life, both positive and negative, can drown out the creative voice that allows you to write. These are the voices that pull you from your writing, and linger afterward, crowding out your thoughts.

Someone once told me that a person can’t worry and read aloud at the same time. The best way to rid your head of other voices is to read your work out loud. Give it a try. I’ll bet it works.

Writer’s block comes in many forms. Be assured, though, there is a solution for each that will break the block and free you to send the words pouring forth onto your computer screen once again.