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Knock-Out Writer's Block:
Listening To Your Inner Voice
By Celise Downs
When I was young, I used
to talk to myself. Long, drawn out, one-sided conversations. I didnít have an
imaginary friend, I just talked to myself. My mother says thatís why I became
a writer: because of my overactive imagination. I admit she may be right.
Those conversations currently get me through my worst cases of writerís block.
I have to laugh when I read articles on breaking through a writing slump. They always have tips like: go to the mall and make up a story about the people you see there..or..write down a dream you had the other night..or..think about the happiest moment in your childhood and write about it. You can even sign up and have a writing ďpromptĒ emailed to you everyday. And I canít help but think, Does this work for anyone? I mean, really? Iíve come to discover that Iím not like the average author. The normal methods of combating writerís block do not apply to me. In writing mode, I can only concentrate on one novel at a time. I get distracted easily, so writing something on the fly only leads me down one path: The- Hey-I-Just-Came-Up-With-Another-Great-Idea-For-A-New- Book-So-Iím-Gonna-Drop-The-One-Iím-Currently-Angsting- Over-And-Start-A-New-Novel path. Believe me, itís happened before. I was young (seventh grade to be exact), just starting out, and I didnít know any better.
Now, I just put the novel away..and wait. The wait has been known to last six months to a year. Sometimes longer. For others, the time frame may be shorter, but eventually they will come. The inner voices, I mean. I no longer hold verbal one-sided conversations with myself. My characters have one-sided conversations with me..in my head. When they start talking to me about dialogue and plot, that tells me itís time to pull out the novel and jump in again.
So, go on. You try it: Open up your mind and listen to your inner voice. If we ever meet at a conference or a book signing and you tell me that youíve been hearing voices, I wonít think youíre crazy. I promise.
Celise Downs; Reprinted with permission. Celise is a Young Adult fiction author and owner of Gemini Mojo Press. Her books, ďSecrets and KissesĒ (Mar 2004) and ďDance Jam ProductionsĒ (Sept 2004), are currently available on the publisher website at http://www.GeminiMojoPress.com.
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