As I was writing the introduction to Katherine Roberts’ guest post last week, I suddenly remembered that a workshop exercise I did with the Scattered Authors Society on another occasion had in fact previously appeared in a book*
I called that workshop ‘Busting through blocks,’ and it explored a basic collage technique I use a lot in my own writing practice. You can use it to create characters, examine relationships between your characters, develop settings, find titles, spark stories… pretty much anything.
Whatever the issue is, hold it in the back of your mind as you flick through some magazines. Don’t think about which images, colours, patterns, words you need, or how they will relate to your project; just tear out the ones that draw you, and trust they will be the right ones, the ones you need.
This works through synchronicity, like tarot or other divinatory practices; the outer world reflects what is going on in your inner world.
Limit the time you spend on tearing out pictures to 10 minutes max, because you don’t want to overthink it. The whole process should feel instinctual.
Now get a pritt stick and a piece of plain paper or card. Again, follow your instincts and don’t overthink it, as you put your collage together. Take 10 minutes max for this stage, too.
Sometimes, your collage will give you the inspiration you’re looking for straight away, but there will always be more, so put it somewhere you will see it, on your study wall, for example. Look at it often. It will gradually reveal more of itself, and its relationship with your writing project.
What are your top block-busting tips?
*The book is ‘How to write a blockbuster,’ by Lee Weatherly and Helen Corner. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Write-Blockbuster-Yourself-Creative-Writing/dp/0340916915/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1329746460&sr=1-2
Lee’s a bestselling children’s author, who attended the workshop, and Helen runs the Cornerstones Literary Consultancy http://www.cornerstones.co.uk/