I’m on the road again today, so none of my usual handy-dandy visual aids.
That’s okay, though, because today is actually all about coming up blank. As in white, empty, unmarred, nil; lights-on-but-no-one-home writing failure.
It happens to all of us. Every once in a while the spigot just won’t turn. A few stiff drinks can sometimes loosen the pipes, but that just lends itself to all sorts of other negative trends in life, so skip it.
So instead we have all these hokey little brain-jogger exercises floating around the internet. I suspect some of them have their origins in primary school classrooms. Take, for example, the wrenchingly cheesey yet almost elegant “drawing a blank” method, a literalist twist on the actual problem wherein you draw a blank square (or other shape, I suppose) on a piece of paper. As in create boundaries for your frustration.
All got it? Have we done it yet? Take your time — I want you all ready for the next part.
Now fill that shit in. Doesn’t matter with what. Words out of your head if you can get ’em. Random squiggles that you just like the shape of if you can’t. Make the blank space not blank.
I can’t tell if the sneaky part is reducing your writing-related goal for the day to an exercise a very small child can manage (thereby tanking away the fear and frustration of literary impotence) or creating such a literal metaphor that your brain can’t help but be convinced that it has, in fact, stopped drawing a blank. But either way it works much better than something so cutsey should.
Your own favorite drawing-a-blank solutions? Two or three good blog topics went into my head and right back out of it as I was driving and therefore unable to scribble them down, so I could sure use a good brain-jogger.