Writer’s Block and the Game of Solitaire

I don’t run out of things to say. I just run out of intelligent things to say on occasion. That’s my version of writer’s block. When I find myself writing for the sake of writing and not for the sake of telling a story, I stop, print out what I have and then go play a few hands of Solitaire.

Sometimes I make believe that I have an invisible opponent and some days I just let my characters talk to me as if we were sitting down at the kitchen table having a game of Canasta. On really “lack of intelligent things to say” days, I talk to my characters out loud and answer myself out loud. Between the mindlessness of the game and the conversation, I manage to get things into perspective and me into a frame of mind for showing, not telling.

Once the conversation is completed, or at least, down to where I can tell the story again, I do a bit of writing. It may be on the current story or it could be a completely different  story, but I write for about an hour.  Then I go to my print out and start editing the garbage out. Or at least, editing it so that it’s no longer garbage but an important part of the story. I know it’s a bit old-fashioned to be printing out a story as I’m writing it. I find that it helps me “see” the problem better than if it were just on the computer screen.

That process, writing, playing Solitaire and talking to myself and my characters, is how I beat the tendency I have to ramble on. I write, then I shut up.

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