Tag Archives: creative writing

5 Ways To Cure Writer’s Block

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The creative writing community is a tight knit one, and an experience that each member can identify with is that of Writer’s block. It’s terrible, especially the anxious feeling of doom that comes with an impending deadline. Even as I’m writing this right now, I’m finding trouble in getting my words to flow because it’s 7:39 on a Saturday and due in a few short hours. So it’s time to practice what I’m preaching, and relay to you a list of techniques I find helpful to get rid of my Writer’s block.

1) Get Out Of Your House
It is impossible to do work in a room where you sleep or eat, and most of us don’t have the pleasure of living alone, so there is the perpetual distraction of roommates as well. I always go to the library of a coffee shop to get things done. Leaving comfortable surroundings and traveling to one that is associated with quiet and work is the first step to climbing the wall of Writer’s block.

2) Turn Off Your Phone, Deactivate Your Facebook
The constant distraction of the constant connection of the world is one of the most detrimental factors to the hindrance of the creative process. Restrain yourself from the petty distractions of real life! Reading, “Alex Smith wants to be you’d friend!” Or “heyyyyyyy wut r u doin 2nite?”, does absolutely for your writing, so just stop it, seriously.

3) Listen to Calm, Thought Provoking Music/Block Out All Sounds
I guess this tip is kind of relative to the person and type of writing. When I write creative writing, I always like to have headphones playing music quietly (sometimes mellow chill beats, sometimes classical musical), but sometimes with academic writing I just need silence; but some people can’t write with music under any circumstances. Do what is most conducive to your own creative process, while taking the type of writing into consideration.

4) Take a Damn Break
Sometimes I see people in the library who look like they’re strung out on heroin because they’re so exhausted, physically and mentally, from the work they’re doing; don’t do that to yourselves. Take the appropriate amount of time away from your writing, though not too long to the point of procrastination. In certain situations it’s good to just walk down the street and get some coffee or something, but in others just get some sleep; writing that comes from an exhausted mind can be down right haggard, so save yourself the time it would take to edit, and just don’t do it.

5) Sensory Deprivation?
If all else fails, it might be time to take out the big guns and deprive yourself of all your senses. Sounds a bit extreme I know, but I’ve been doing research into the topic and it seems to be a really enlightening experience that provokes the mind. How one goes about doing this is to go to a place that offers the service, and you enter this giant tank that is both sound and light proof where you float in body temperature water. The point of it is to deprive your body of all of it’s senses, so nothing is distracting the mind from thought. I think this is awesome and I really want to try it. I found a place called Space Time Tanks, that is right by DePaul University, and offers this. I think I am going to try it and I am really curious if anyone reading that has. If depriving the mind from every humanly possible distraction doesn’t cure your Writer’s block, I don’t know what will.

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The Drunken Boat

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The online literary journal The Drunken Boat, publishes all kinds of contemporary creative works, fiction and non-fiction, some besides just literature. In their newest edition, they feature poems, short stories, personal statements, and book reviews throughout the categories of Debt, Fiction, Librotaficante, Ocean, Poetry, Reviews, and Video_Dumbo. Their page is rather interesting, I gather from looking at past issues that the more specific topics change each issue, which allows the journal to not just publish beautiful pieces of creative writing of random topics, but also highlights a group of creative works all delving into a certain issue, giving the reader a broad perspective. The layout of the journal makes the different categories easy to discern, being labeled across the top of the page, and the design is appealing to they eye. One of my favorite categories is “Debt“, which is aptly named, and features a collection of poems and short works about debt, something a college student can definitely relate to. One of my favorite poems about debt was written by Brian Laidlaw named “Ante Matter”:

Pretty good work if you can get it, making paradises in abandoned banks
Stony exterior, marble interior,
The registers like a failed carillon (toneless) striking all hours at all hours.
Every noon the ghost attendants ghost-walk up to the kiosk,
Throw down nobody’s money
(The two days you are proud of a boat are the day you buy it and the day you sell it)
Trading in the heart for the farm, buying the farm,
Selling the bucket to kick
The can, selling the farm when you kick the bucket.
It doesn’t make sense to dream of a time after the apocalypse because
That’s a time of permanent wakefulness anyway: high-level emissions,
Grainy disturbances. Until then
Remember the language of contracts: you can bank on love
& When that bank collapses, your worries are the least of your worries.

Another category that sparked my interest was “Librotraficante“, a collection of works by people associated with the Librotraficante movement, which is a group dedicated to smuggling banned books to certain high schools in Arizona and Texas who have omitted Latino studies from their curriculum. They hand out the contraband literature, set up “underground libraries”, and organize press conferences in an attempt to stand up for the banned literature. The group is what I’d like to refer to as “literary martyrs”.

The journal definitely takes advantage of the online medium, by posting sound clips of many of the authors reading their work. They also feature many videos in the journal, like on the main page of the category “Ocean” which contains videos of scuba diving as well as a vivid photo galley. The “Video_Dumbo” section is devoted solely to visual pieces of art. My favorite piece, named “Mixed Signals” by Lee Arnold, was abstract to say the least, trying to emulate synesthesia with a flash of different bright colorshttp://www.drunkenboat.com/db18/lee-arnold.

At the moment, The Drunken Boat is not accepting general submissions, however they editors are looking for humorous short stories, essay, poems, and audiovisual performances, with a maximum length of 750 words, to feature in their Spring 2014 edition. The Drunken Boat publishes a great medley of different creative works, both literary, audio, and visual, and I would definitely like to submit my work to them because of their incorporation of variety into their journal.