Writing Exercise #3: Working with Writer’s Block

This week’s exercise comes from Scottish novelist Karen Campbell, who is a frequent tutor at Moniack. It is for those moments when you find yourself staring at a blank page, not knowing where to start. She explains, in her own words, how to work with this feeling to create something new and exciting.

Writing Exercise #3: Working with Writer’s Block

If you’re staring at a blank screen or an empty piece of paper, getting more and more fed up because you don’t know what to write – well, write about that. How are you feeling at that exact moment? Are you angry, frustrated, panicky, scared, confused? What do your hands feel like – are they tense, open, are your shoulders hunched? What can you hear and see?

Now think about who is feeling and seeing these things – Not you! If you are a boy, imagine it’s a girl feeling this way, seeing and smelling these things. If you are young, imagine that you’re old. Then ask yourself why? Why is this old woman here, why is she feeling this way? Who or what made her feel like that?

Before you know it, you’ve taken the blank frustration you were feeling and have begun to build a character and a story from it. Even if you end up not using this writing, it will help to ‘open the tap’ and get you creating. Far better than moaning ‘I don’t know what to write’ and ripping up your paper!

As always, the online forum is there for you to share your work or to tell us how it is going. We love to hear from you!

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