Writer’s Block Salvation School: Story Gluttony

Writer’s block has hit. You’ve tried free writing, to no avail. Things are getting dire. So what’s next?

You’re going to need to set aside a day, or at least most of one. This technique is time-consuming, but effective! I call this one Story Gluttony. Basically, we are going to overload on as many stories as possible in as short amount of time as possible, to get our creative brain moving.

Step 1: Choosing Your Stories

To complete this exercise, you need to choose 1 full-length book and 2 movies to feast on, that you’ve never read or watched before.

Which you choose comes down to what you need to write. If you’re writing fiction, go for things in the genre you’re writing in.

If you’re writing non-fiction, I still want you to choose fiction to read and watch.

Look for something that relates to your topic: if you’re writing a spiritual piece, choose a movie like Eat Pray Love to watch (it’s a non-fiction book, but the movie counts as fiction!), and a book like The Alchemist to read.

If you’re writing a sport / health piece, choose sporty fiction! The Blind Side, Friday Night Lights, and so on are good choices.

For business, Wall Street or The Wolf of Wall Street for movies, Bonfire of the Vanities or One Hundred Years of Solitude for novels.

Whatever your topic, just make sure there is some relation to the fiction you choose. But, I hear you ask, how is watching movies and reading a novel going to help you finish your book or article?

Step 2: Opening Your Brain

One of the least effective ways to inspire creativity is staring at a blank screen. There’s really nothing inspiring about a big block of white.

What IS inspiring, is watching and reading the creative output of masterful storytellers. That’s why we’re going to overload on these things today. So put down your pen, and put on your first movie.

You’re not allowed to take notes, or think about how it applies to your own writing. Just get lost in the story! Enjoy the plot, and the characters. Let it take you away.

When it’s done—you’re still not to write. Put on your second movie, and follow the same instructions. Get lost in it!

When the second movie is done, it’s time to move on to the novel. Depending on how fast you read and how good the book is, you might be able to finish this by the end of the day. Push thoughts of your own writing as far out of your mind as possible, and focus on the story.

If you’re not on a deadline, take as many days as you need to finish the book. If you are, just read as much as you can by the end of the day.

When you’ve finished or read as much as you can, now it’s time to switch your creative brain on. If you chose your movies and book well, you should be feeling creative and inspired!

But I don’t want you to start writing your original piece… yet! Instead, I want you to free write. Spend 20 – 30 minutes free writing, letting any and every word that wants to spill onto the page do so.

FINALLY, when that’s done, go back to your original piece. I guarantee (not a real guarantee) that your blank screen will feel a lot less intimidating now!

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