Yes. I said Bananas.
Ok, in the interests of full disclosure I will admit I was struggling for inspiration to find a subject for the letter ‘B’ – wow, so impressive to hit a brick wall on only the 2nd letter of the alphabet, Wayne. You’re our literary hero! – but after days of indecision I lost patience with myself and made a ridiculous promise: The next object I see that begins with the letter ‘B’ is the subject of the blog for April 2nd.
One glance at the fruit bowl later and here I am. However, having utilised my Metaphor Crowbar and Simile Hammer (2 of the favourites from my Imagination Toolbox – patent pending) I realised that I might just be able to get this to work. In fact, this elaborate set-up and tenuous linking of an idea is actually a perfect example of what I mean by ‘going bananas with your writing’.
Stop being so sensible!
As adult, grown-up, sensible people walking around living sensible grown-up lives we can have a tendency to get bogged down in the boring, mired in the mundane and tied to the tedious – all the time forgetting that not so many years ago we were slaves to our once over-active imaginations. Remember when you were a child and you believed in magic? When every one of your toys had a life of its own? When hours of fun could be had making up new worlds and characters with or without your friends?
When you’re young and uninhibited, your creativity has no rules and no bounds. With ‘maturity’ comes a stifling self-awareness that will only hinder your writing. The initial stages of creativity – particularly when writing your first draft – should be free and flowing, unfettered by rules or fear of looking silly.
Cut Loose . . .
Throwing off those shackles will do wonders for your productivity and is the perfect antidote to Writer’s Block. If you find yourself at an artistic impasse, put aside what you are working on, pick an object and dare yourself to write 200 words about it. And don’t be dull or predictable. You see that pile of ironing in the corner? What if you looked over at it again and found that one of the shirts was trying to strangle a jumper, while a pair of pyjamas cheered them on? Perhaps that shopping list on the table is actually a coded message left by the retired cold war spy that’s living next door? Ridiculous? Yes. Childish? Quite possibly. But don’t stop to feel self-conscious. This is all about reigniting that inspirational spark and getting back in touch with your inner child, to bring imagination and creative flair back to your work.
So pick an object or choose an idea and . . . just go bananas!
Have you tried this technique? Did it work for you? What are your tips and tricks for beating Writer’s Block?
This was the 2nd post for the A-Z Blog Challenge. Follow the blog during April for more writing tips, inspirational life posts, short fiction, film-inspired articles and even some songs with audio recordings. Tomorrow’s post – C is for Cooking your Stories.
19 thoughts on “B is for Bananas. Go ‘Bananas’ to beat Writer’s Block.”
This is great writing advice. I miss my childhood imagination and realized that I had lost it when I saw that movie Bridge to Therabithia.
A-Z challenger Deecoded
Hi Dee. Thanks. Yes, unfortunately it’s quite easy for your imagination to get suppressed by everyday life.
I’ve tried this! Amazing what you can do when you have a deadline, which is usually when I go into ‘headless chicken’ mode and like you have to go with anything visual lying around.
I let the pen take over, the brain thinks it has a say, somehow hand and brain battle it out, I don’t really care as I just want to get some words down to meet my deadline. Guess what? Usually, it works,
Oh, and for the record, I still believe in magic. 🙂
Good post Mr Kelly
Thanks Maria. Yes, it’s amazing what you can achieve just by letting your pen and mind flow freely.
Hello, my friends… I don’t know what happened to your imagination, but mine is still going strong…I will be 80 in about 45 days. I enjoyed your essay on Bananas. When I sit down to write, the “Muse” takes over and I never am sure what my fingers are going to send to the computer keys. Ha. Good post. Thank you. Best regards to you. Ruby
Wow, Ruby – inspiring that you still have such a strong imagination and still exercising your creative muscles. Thanks for taking the time to stop by.
Not to mention that bananas are actually quite good just for stimulating brain activity. And carrots (have I guessed tomorrow’s correctly?) are good for your skin, your blood, your – well, pretty good stuff. 🙂
Haha. I missed a trick with the fact that bananas are brain food! Good guess on the carrots, but my vegetable knowledge only goes so far! There is a culinary link tomorrow though – Cooking your stories.
Great advice! I love how you came up with your topic, too. Being spontaneous does wonders for creative writing.
Thanks for commenting, Heidi. Yes, it definitely helps to have methods and tools to help keep your creative juices flowing.
Hey, that was pretty good! Love the use of ‘tools’ to unlock the mind. I took a similar approach and let loose a bit and did my B post on breakdancing. Gotta have fun with this, like you said.
Brilliant idea! I might use that technique with my team.. Apologies if there’s some serious people heading your way in retaliation!
It’s rare I get stuck for ideas. If I do I just take the main character on a journey or the doorbell goes and who knows what’s there.. I also use mind maps, pop a word in the middle and before I know it the whole page is full of new ideas.
Feel free, Lynne, glad to help. If you like mind mapping and other prompts you should take a look at @Catherine_Noble on twitter – her entire challenge is based around lots of those tools.
Ironing? What’s ironing…?
Ignoring my willingness to wear crumpled-looking clothes, this is an excellent post. It’s a theme that crops up more, particularly as I read more about creativity. Embracing the ‘what if’ mentality that is particularly prevalent in childhood can only spur us on to more imaginative work (even if it is easier said than done sometimes).
Nor does it apply only to writing. It’s surprising how often in everyday life people will respond to an idea that might otherwise be considered childlike; as if being the one to start a sentence with, “Imagine if…” suddenly gives everybody else permission to be similarly imaginative.
Thanks Paul. With regards ‘What if. . .’ I completely agree – I work in a creative industry and have to pitch ideas to clients. That question can be very powerful.