Writing Groups Help with Writer’s Block

Not writing? Tell your group.  Go anyway and say you’re blocked and read what you’ve written about being blocked. Bring anything you’ve written and take part. Ask the group for suggestions and take them. Or at least one suggestion. Ask the group to just listen and make no suggestions so you can feel free to talk and be part of the group.

There’s no shame in writer’s block. Most writers experience blocks from time to time. Write a poem in images of the next part of your memoir. Maybe it could be a stepping stone. Write another with more images and see what you’re writing.

Sometimes I will bring a list of strong verbs to use . Sometimes I write transitional phrases like in other words or thinking of the past, I. I might bring these off assignments to help myself and others write better. Or, bring a passage I love like the last line of James Joyce’s The Dubliners so everyone can hear great, poetic writing.

Be sure when you’re off assignment to yourself that you’re not just tired, hungry, angry or lonely. If you are one of those states, take care of it and get to work writing. If you are in balance, you’ll be better able to write. And, don’t get lost helping others. Remember that self care is important and you can’t truly help another until you’ve helped yourself. If you feel too self absorbed, do the opposite and help someone else!

I’ve even heard of writers writing in a meditative way just to see what they’d write. Or write your name or the name of your chapter again and again and see what comes up. Try free association: think of chair and then what, wood. Then what, forest. Then what, hike. Then what, family. Then what healthy things family did that could be included. Then don’t make everything dark. Write about happy times, playing Hansel and Gretel with sisters. You get the idea.

A writer I respect told me last week that she thinks of a subject, looks at the rhyming dictionary for words on the subject that rhymne for good poetic memoir prose. She checks out a couple of random books and maybe an unusally off magazine for her subject and she’s off writing a memory just a little more rich than she first thought!

Another therapeutic technique is to put “someone” you are going to include in your memoir in another chair and have a dialogue with that person. What s/he would say and what you would respond. See if there’s a new response or a response that must be included in your memoir.


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