You’ve got far more ideas lurking in the dark depths of your mind than you think. It’s a cave crammed with suggested answers to the question, “What if…?”
Do you remember an old-time radio drama, The Shadow, “Who knows what lurks in the hearts (and minds) of men? The Shadow knows.” It continues to inspire me. To refresh your memory, or if you never knew, visit YouTube and search Orson Welles intro and music of The Shadow.
Who knows what ideas lurk in your mind? You do! Here are some hints to lure some of them forth.
1. Pick a…
Everyone needs to get past writer’s block at some time or another. Here are five tips to get you on your way when you are up against it.
1. STOP. Stop creative-killing, self-deprecating, internal self-talk. Your imagination can not breathe in that poisoned air. You may think you don’t know what to do next, but you do. You merely have to get to it.
Remember the story of the Zen Monk and the apprentice? As they sat having tea, the Monk continued to pour past the cup full or overflowing. Alarmed, the apprentice shouted for him to stop since the…
After thirty-five years of a forty-year sentence, I’ll be released from here on January 30th. Just three weeks more to go. I guess I’ve spent my last Christmas confined. I doubt I’d know what a home Christmas would be like.
No family anymore. My wife divorced me and moved away. I only remember the kids as a baby and three-year-old. I think she re-married. That’s what my father told me before he died. At sixty, I don’t know anyone on the outside. Those I may have known will choose to forget me. This has been my home for so long…
My life, as I knew it, ended ten days ago.
“Ten,” the party organizer shouted over the loudspeaker at the New Year’s Eve Party, as he began the countdown to 2020.
Yeah, Ten. What a number. Ten days ago. December 21st, the day she tore me to pieces with a letter she handed me out the window of her car as she backed out of her driveway. Saying she had Christmas shopping to do, and she assumed I knew this was coming.
Seeing the fear in her face as she rolled up the window and backed away, my hands trembled…
“Miss, that’s the greatest and fastest wrapping job I’ve ever seen for a department store.”
Marjorie’s tedium got a lift as she looked up at the dark-haired, brown-eyed mature man. His smile caused her heart rate to increase. It felt delicious.
“Why, thank you. I’ve wrapped thousands in my life and learned at a very early age.”
“Your family taught you?”
“No, at the home where I was raised with all the other girls. Because I was good at it, my job at Christmas was to wrap everyone’s gifts, including my own. It broke the routine of that life.”
Want to bust that writing brick wall, also called ‘writer’s block?’ Then use these tips to get you on your way when you are up against it.
To start, you first have to STOP.
Stop creative-killing, self-deprecating, internal self-talk. Your imagination can not breathe in that poisoned air.
NEVER say to yourself, “I can’t…..” Stop belittling, undervaluing, or disparaging yourself. Think YES. Yes, you can bust through the brick wall.
Ideas and Imagination:
Don’t think, “I can’t because…” Instead, think, “I can…if….” Then kick in your imagination. Need a tiny boot in the backside or “A Whack On The Side…
The bartender eyed the old man shuffling into the bar, and what looked like a Santa coat slung over his shoulder. The bearded man looked up, came over, and took a stool.
“What’ll it be today?”
“Brandy on the rocks.”
“Sure. I see your red pants and coat. You got a natural-looking beard. You been ringing a bell somewhere today?”
“Worse than that.” The old man breathed a big sigh. He propped his elbows on the bar, then clasped his hands under the white beard.
“What? You been entertaining at a Christmas party full of kids or something?”
I spent 50 years managing and building people and everything that makes them successful. If you can’t manage your time, you can’t manage anything.
1. Where did your time go? Did it vaporize, and you can’t document where each five-minute or longer chunk went? Keep a ‘Time Log.’ Yes, it’s a pain, but it’s the first step. A week is best, but even 2–3 days is beneficial. Log, preferably on paper, each 5 minute or longer time segment and what you were doing. Yes, it takes more time to do it, but it’s crucial. Yes, you doubt you have time…
I write several short stories a week. Anything from 500 words to near 1,500. If I really like the story, it might run up to 3,000 words. When I tell people, they often ask me, “Where in the world do you get ideas? I have trouble even coming up with one I want to write about.”
If I’m outdoors, I might say, “Look at the near-full cup of coffee sitting on the ground over there,” pointing. Then say, “What if…a man is sitting on the ground near it. Was he poisoned? Is he having a heart attack? That’s a story.”…
I wrote hundreds of 30-second commercials for Radio and TV for over 36 years. The formula that helped me the most was AIDA. It helps my flash fiction as well, where time is short and words limited.
Radio is harder because everything is spoken words, but inflection can help and be part of the un-read script, similar to our word-showing abilities. TV, like a movie, can picture a lot of action and setting without many words, but words and visuals have to agree.
Now the formula, AIDA. It stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action. With commercial advertising copy, the…