Jan 6, 2007

On Writer's Block, Cameras, and Perspectives

Sun streaming through the clouds Sun streaming through the clouds

As I have transitioned into the world of letters I have become well acquainted with the curse known colloquially as writer's block. I have inspired days in which I can write 15-20 pages of quality prose, and languid days when just churning out a paragraph of hackneyed schlock is a burden.

Today is one of the latter days.

It's not as though I am without writing projects, either. I have a half-dozen academic and journalistic articles waiting for attention, plus two manuscripts that are approaching book length. I have blogs to visit, boards to post on, and ideas to pitch to editors.

One of the ways that I combat writer's block is to walk around my neighborhood for a while. Sometimes ideas come to me when I get a breath of fresh air, and sometimes the walk helps me focus on priorities.

When I take along my camera on my walks I often find an interesting picture worthy of a few words on a blog. At the very least an eye-catching image can buy me a few hours, until I have something more substantial to write.

At times it is simply a matter of getting away from the books, notes, and the keyboard to see the world from a new perspective. On my walk today, boisterous kids were playing a game they invented on a tennis court. The object was to bounce a tennis ball upward from a tennis racket while walking across the court, sort of like mobile paddleball.

I thought of taking a picture and interviewing them ("What do you call this game? How do you 'win' the game?"), but I decided to keep walking.

Just because I have writer's block doesn't mean I need to interrupt kids having fun on a Saturday afternoon. Besides, the sun was coming out from behind the clouds, and I now had a bit of motivation to break the block.


Jeffrey Smith said...

Can't help with the writer's block, but if you watch the sky and the changing colors of the river you'll never have photographer's block. Toledanos are in the middle of a kaleidoscope and don't even realize it.

Hooda Thunkit said...

Writers block???

Try going an an honest to goodness vacation with no computer, no digital note taker and a camera.

I have lots to write about, if only I could just remember...

Maybe the pictures will help.., eventually ;-)

Stephanie said...