Alice’s Restaurant

July 14, 2007

Kissing the Blarney Stone

Filed under: writing, Writing Craft, Writing Life — aliceaudrey @ 9:17 am

How do you make yourself write?  I don’t need to know for myself.  At this late stage in the game I’m pretty comfortable with writer’s block and getting around it.  I need to know so I have something worth saying to those who are suffering.

When you have something to write about, but it may not be real clear yet, and you have the time, and the word processor is launched with a blank page waiting, how do you get over the lets-sharpen-the-pencil-one-more-time hurdle?

I do it by mentally kissing the Blarney stone.  Not that I imagine myself held by my ankles over a castle wall.  Knowing my imagination the next thing I’d visualize is the landing when the people holding my ankles gave out.

What I do is think about the way it feels to be chatty.  I spent most of my childhood as a chatterbox.  It’s easy to remember the pleasant vibration in my chest, the joy of forming words with lips and tongue, and the strange other-space my mind would occupy while going on and on about the metaphysics of bubble gum.

I visualize it, then wish for it, then channel it through my fingers.  Suddenly coming up with words isn’t so hard anymore.

I’m sure not everyone is so talkative.  So what do you do to get through that odd little barrier between about to write and writing?



  1. As an Irish-Canadian I am well-acquainted with the blarney stone. Sometimes what helps me re: writer’s block is just putting pen to paper and seeing where it takes me. The surrealists called it “automatic writing” and I’m always astonished at what my subconscious has stored up–sometimes it’s poetry or prose poems or a rant…I don’t pre-judge, just let the pen skitter across the surface of the page. I suppose it’s the aesthetic equivalent of the “blarney stone”,, making up the story as you go along and hoping the Irish in me will come up with a helluva punch line…

    Comment by Cliff Burns — July 14, 2007 @ 9:24 am

  2. My punchlines keep catching me by surprise. Over half the time I have no idea it’s coming until I get there.


    Comment by aliceaudrey — July 14, 2007 @ 9:26 am

  3. Alice-I wasn’t very chatty unless someone got me out of my shell and then I ramblel like an idiot do to nervousness, stuttering as I made my way. I always felt I had to be someone other than who I was. The me never seemed good enough or up to par for what people expected. I am still trying to discover who I am myself. I do try to take those emotions of what I thought was expected and write.

    Like Cliff said, sometimes it is rant, poetry. However I do tend to prejudge and I shouldn’t I have thought of writting stuff and pushed it aside for fear that I would be committed. I have written stuff so that I would feel better only to rip it up. Then I have my stuff that I keep, but it is well hidden for fear that someone might judge me by my writing.

    This is a topic that makes me think, and that lightbulb has just flashed. What would happen if I didn’t keep that part of me in the closet so to say?

    Comment by fairiegreen — July 14, 2007 @ 10:18 am

  4. I try and go into a daydream mode. Once I start visualizing the story, it flows from there. I’m not always successful getting to that place though. I’m easily distracted. I think the key for me is self-discipline and creative dreaming.


    Comment by Laurie — July 14, 2007 @ 5:41 pm

  5. I have to know my characters…I just got stuck on my recent WIP because I couldn’t come up with a good enough reason for the hero to be there. Once I figured that out…zing…

    Writer’s block isn’t the trouble with getting words on the paper for me….it’s trouble getting into the mental zone to write.

    Comment by Ericka Scott — July 14, 2007 @ 6:16 pm

  6. I can come closer to doing the automatic writing than anything else, as long as I don’t have expectations about what I am going to produce. If I’m trying to write something that has to follow a pre-established pattern, I start getting into trouble. I worry that what I come up with won’t be inventive or creative enough. I worry that it will sound stupid, or worse, that it will be dull. I worry about worrying and bothering everyone else with my paranoia and self-interest. Are you starting to get a picture here? I think I set out to sabotage myself most of the time, and I think it probably has to do with my fear of failure. Sort of a break your leg before the race starts kind of thing. Having said that, I’m leaving now to go write my thousand words for the day. Don’t know what I’ll write yet, but I won’t quit till it’s done.

    Comment by Donna — July 14, 2007 @ 9:19 pm

  7. The all time best way for me is to sit down with the story so fresh and demanding that I don’t even realize I’m writing until the first time I come up for air. I’m simply too busy trying to capture the story before I lose it to notice the blank page.


    Comment by aliceaudrey — July 15, 2007 @ 9:39 am

  8. Hey Bud,
    Got your comment. Haven’t talked to you in forever! I think about the only one left from the original critters is Jac.
    Have a good one.
    Nice blog site by the way!

    Comment by Sandra — July 15, 2007 @ 1:43 pm

  9. Sometimes I’m writing so quickly and happily, I’m practically channeling.

    Other times, I set the kitchen timer to 10 minutes. Then I take a break, return, and set it to 12 minutes. And so on…

    Comment by Toni Andrews — July 17, 2007 @ 8:56 am

  10. Hey Sandra! Good to see you again. I’ve scaled way back from FTH, but I’ll be back next fall. I’m critique wizard then.

    Toni I live for those days when the writing is like channeling. I love it.


    Comment by aliceaudrey — July 18, 2007 @ 10:59 pm

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