How to Launch a Visual War Against Writer’s Block
If there is one topic I have seen writers discuss online more than any other, it is writer’s block. I don’t know why this is. Perhaps it is because even when they feel blocked, writers still have to write something. Or it could be that when writing, they are busy; but when they hit a wall, they jump online for support.
Whatever the reason, writers seek ways to bust through that wall. One approach is to put words aside for a while, and focus on images, on visuals. We are, after all, a visual species. Here are a few tricks to harness the power of your eyes to bust through writer’s block.
DOODLE: That’s right, just take a pen or pencil and doodle away. Talk on the phone while doodling, if you must. See what comes up. See where your hand and pen lead you. I wrote about this at http://thgmwriters.com/blog/pictures-bust-writers-block/, inspired by a fellow writer.
LIBRARY: Head over to the library. They have an amazing collection of magazines. Pick one based on topic or pick one randomly. Start flipping through the pages, visualizing the images in your manuscript. Visualize your characters in the images. See what connections you can make. The bonus of this is that it gets you off your seat and moving, which has also been proven an effective tactic in the battle against writers block (and also good for your health).
BATHROOM: Tap into your secret library, that pile of magazines in your bathroom. The bonus of doing this is that you can scribble and doodle in them – you can physically sketch your characters into the images. There is no telling what a fertile mind and a few minutes in a bathroom full of magazines can concoct.
“There is no telling what a fertile mind and a few minutes in a bathroom full of magazines can concoct.”
– David Leonhardt
PINTEREST: The Internet is a warehouse of images. Websites like Pinterest, Manteresting, Flikr and Instagram are stock full of images. Flip through them. Wander through different categories. Picture your characters in the images. Let your imagination go wild.
CAMERA: Pick up your camera and head into town. Look for interesting scenes in parks, along the streets, inside stores – anywhere. Just snap photos of whatever or whomever you see. As you are snapping, think about how your character might fit into this situation, what he might do. When you get home, review the photos again. Try them out with a different character. You might find that you are creating not just a new situation for your characters, but even a new world for the story.
YOUTUBE: If still images just won’t do the trick, hop onto Youtube. You can easily blow a few hours of writing time browsing through videos, but it’s all worth it if you get that Aha! moment and can blaze a non-stop trail of words based on something that clicked in a video. So keep focused and keep tossing those characters into the videos as you watch.
Images are powerful. It has been said many times that a picture is worth a thousand words, so start flipping through those images, inserting your characters along the way, and maybe several thousand words will flow.