Article

WRITER’S BLOCK (OUT THE HATERS)

Five minutes go by…ten minutes…is this you? Fifteen minutes have passed and you’re still staring at a blank piece of paper. Some may call this a “writer’s block”, which means an author loses the ability to write or has a creative shut-down. Fortunately, writers have been experiencing “blocks” for ages and have come up with ways to bypass them. One place a blocked author can start is with thinking maps. Although thinking maps are used mainly in elementary schools, if you have nothing else going for you, they can come in handy. There are eight main types: circle map, tree map, bubble map, double bubble map, flow map, multi-flow map, brace map, and bridge map.

Circle maps and bubble maps are similar, and the most common. Both are used to define or describe a topic. These maps can help you simply “dump your brain” and find a place to start, by writing down all the words that come into your head when you see that topic. A tree map’s purpose is for classifying and separating topics into categories, and double bubble maps are used for comparing. Flow maps deal with sequencing or the order of a story, and multi-flow maps focus on cause and effect. The last two, brace map and bridge map, are less popular and serve unusual purposes. Brace maps look at parts in relation to a whole, and bridge maps illustrate analogies, also known as comparisons.

Examples of thinking maps can be found everywhere, with Google as the most obvious answer. Yet you don’t need to feel pressured into using a map for its exact purpose. Brainstorming can be messy and unorganized. Combining two or three maps can often help you look at a subject from a new angle.

Say you are not being forced to write but enjoy writing, and see it as a pleasurable experience when a teacher isn’t breathing over your shoulder and grading your every pencil stroke. A writer’s block is still a very real problem either way. If you are writing for fiction (or want to but are stuck doodling), here are 15 quick prompts to get your wheels turning:

  • everyone else was laughing…
  • late again…
  • at that moment I should have left…
  • then, the lights went out…
  • all I have left is this photo
  • I should have lied…
  • not again…
  • my father used to say…
  • of course, it was illegal…
  • it was time to change schools again…
  • trouble, big trouble…
  • never again will I…
  • it wasn’t my idea…
  • everyone was staring…
  • it was just a game before…

If by this point you’re on your knees and ready to scrap the whole thing, or your eyes are wide and you feel like procrastination wouldn’t be too bad, I get it. Writing a masterpiece at first glance is nearly impossible. So put down your pencil, rub your eyes, and put aside your article. Don’t throw it away, but calmly shove it under a pile of junk until you feel ready to look at it with fresh eyes or even start over completely. (Just don’t forget to pull it out a day or two before it’s due!)

 

By: Becky Wood

Photo Credits: philmckinney.com

Categories: Article

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