SOMETIMES WHEN the dread hits, it feels insurmountable.
A common fear is that we won’t do justice to the nuanced scenes we can see in the mind’s eye.
By trying to solve things from the outside, we forget how the imagination (our inner writer) can supply solutions, if only we would get out of its way and let the mojo happen.
Like all good magic, your imagination cannot be forced to produce. Sometimes it’ll wait in the wings until you’re distracted and then slip in quietly with the exact flow of words you need for your story.
Romancing your inner writer can provide the right kind of distraction. It’s about passion, fun and letting the chemistry happen.
A straightforward kissing scene probably won’t smash through writer’s block and set you on fire. Out of fear of degenerating into the formulaic writing associated with cheap romance novels, you might even be avoiding an upcoming kissing scene for your novel.
Instead, look for something unexpected. Think of two characters in your story who would likely never want to kiss each other — and then make ’em do it. Gross, maybe. Or way off beam for who your characters are. But guaranteed to get your creative juices flowing.
The unlikely kissing scene doesn’t have to end up in the manuscript. Remember, you’re just looking for ways to feel passion or fun instead of dread.
Flirting can feel deliciously dangerous. It can be racy or subtle. Connecting with these types of feelings can make you forget your writer’s block.
You can do it by flirting with words. Pick one of your favorite words and use it in as many throw-away sentences as you can.
You can do it by remembering a flirting scene from your past and writing it with homage to that old lover. (Or current spouse.)
You can do it with characters from your story. In an unofficial scene, one character delivers a sexy innuendo or surprise compliment. What effect does this have on its recipient?
Sometimes you really need to just get away. Stop staring at that screen and beating yourself up. Instead, take yourself to the bookstore or other favorite type of shop and buy yourself something wonderful.
The best gifts are when someone knows us so intimately, they know exactly what we’d love to receive. Like a lover in the first year of the relationship.
Be your own lover and buy yourself something special. Make it clear on the gift tag that it’s a gift because you’re a writer.
Don’t be tempted to tell yourself you won’t deserve a gift for being a writer unless you’re actually writing. Or until your book is published.
Remember, this is romance. You already deserve the love. Loving yourself more will help you relax. And relaxation is conducive to creativity.
Got any costumes around the house? Perhaps something you wore to the last fancy dress party? Or perhaps Halloween. . . .
Anything that puts some spice or some fun back into your day can be classified as romance.
If you’re short on costumes, try browsing your wardrobe for something elegant to wear out to an imaginary romantic dinner with your soul mate. The act of browsing might already trigger a creative breakthrough for you. If not, try something on. Get dressed to the nines.
If you’re struck by creative lightning while you’re all dressed up, write in your finery. Who knows what hidden feelings you’ll tap by wearing something special while you write.
Using either your two main characters or some off-the-cuff characters, write the romantic dinner: what was worn, what was eaten, what was drunk, what was said, what the waiter spilled and how this led to a secret being revealed.
The writing doesn’t have to be anything special. The point is to find your flow.
An easy way to get started is to choose your setting. Go online and look for restaurants. Choose something exotic, maybe even in an overseas country. (Check out Marrakech restaurants on Google images for ideas.)
Study the website of your chosen restaurant. Glance through the menu for ideas on what your characters might order. Think about whether they’ll want to share an appetizer (romantic) or whether an argument breaks out over food allergies, which leads to a big blow-up. And the opportunity for a reconciliation scene later that night.
You’ll be so distracted with this exercise, your imagination will have a chance to work on your story problem without any pressure from you.
Most of us would rather be romanced than forced to cough something up. The imagination’s no different. The next time it badly needs some affection, try romancing your inner writer.
As our grandmothers love to say, “You’ll catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.”
Love. Fall in love and stay in love. Write only what you love, and love what you write. The key word is love. You have to get up in the morning and write something you love, something to live for.
— Ray Bradbury