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"Dream Solution" & Writer's Block Ideas

Exercise #26: "Dream Solution"
Your character has a nightmare. But in the middle of it, he or she creatively solves the problem. For example, Ted dreams that he is being backed to the edge of a cliff by someone coming at him with a saber. All of a sudden, Ted realizes that the saber is made out of the same tin foil his wife used to wrap up the peanut butter cookie dough for the freezer, and so, he sits down and starts playing the kazoo.
Hey, have fun! What's your character's nightmare, and what is his or her "dream solution?" List as many as you can think of in 5 minutes.

We'll see how this one goes. Dreams and I aren't well-acquainted... Not in the wakened world, at any rate. If I have dreams, I don't remember them except for a few very rare occasions. I've heard some pretty bizarre stories from my roommate and a few others, however, so I think I'll be able to merge their experiences with my own and have a go at it. The great thing about the dream world is that anything is possible. Completely unrestricted. Glorious.


Dina is getting married in 2 days, and she has cold feet. Her nightmare is monotonous. She sits at a desk and sharpens pencils all day long. When she goes home, she lays in her bed for hours, not sleeping, not thinking, just laying. In an euphoric realization, she finally understands her dilemma. She breaks the pencil and goes home to have a really nice, long nap.

Joey is a successful restaurant owner and is about to turn his single restaurant into a chain, buying a building across town. Joey's nightmare involves the immense success of this purchase. His restaurant becomes a living, breathing thing and goes traipsing around town, destroying every other restaurant in town. On a whim, Joey walks up to his restaurant which is right in the middle of pushing a McDonalds off of its foundation and yells "SIT!" The restaurant obeys and sits in the middle of the road, wagging its back door.

End of 5 minutes...

hah I liked that: "wagging its back door." The picture I have in my mind is incredibly amusing amusing. I wish I could have come up more, but I spent more time on both of those than I intended and whoops. There went my time. The important thing is that I had fun... right? hah I'm ok with it.

In other news, I was "twittering" (Oh, gosh, that sounds even worse when put into words than I had thought it would.) earlier today when I posed a question to the #writechat discussion: What are your best writer's block busters? Simple question, yes? Apparently not. I was immediately barraged with responses such as "There is NO such thing as writer's block!" When I queried as to what they meant, they brought up some interesting points.

They said that writers block was an excuse. It was laziness, an unwillingness to delve further, to really put in the effort.

I'm not sure how I feel about that. In theory, it makes sense. I don't think I would go so far as to say it's laziness or unwillingness. Maybe indecisiveness... Yeah. I think I'd go with that. Indecisiveness. Maybe you have so many ideas that you simply cannot decide which way to go. They're all good choices at this juncture. Or maybe your brain is just not generating a single idea. What does one do with that? Or maybe you're sitting at your desk, jotting down a scene when poof. Words will not come. You know what you want to say, but you are at a complete loss as to how you might word it.

That's where these writing exercises come in. If you're having a mental block, jog your mind a little bit. Well, actually, scratch that. First things first, you check to see how long you've been writing in the first place. Do you need to take a break? I find that in my case that's usually the reason my ability to use the English language deteriorates. If you've already taken a break, then why not try an exercise or two, just to get the juices flowing?

While on that same discussion on Twitter, one of the people who believed in the elusive writer's block had this to say - "Make yourself not write for a fortnight. NOT A WORD" (@agnieszkasshoes). An interesting idea, but I don't know if I'd be able to practice that much will power. hah Of course, I would store up a lot of ideas, but the shame is that I would forget a lot of them, too, being that my head is like a sieve.

How about you guys? Do you believe in writer's block? Why not? If you do, what do you do to make it run away crying?

That's all for now.


P.S. If anyone wants to read Agnieszkas Shoes's writing, click HERE to visit his blog. He most recently posted an interview with Hatastic!, a website which sells an "eclectic range of unique handmade hats and fascinators inspired by the beautiful bits and bobs sourced from remnant boxes and junk shops." It's a great site, and I love visiting it.


Dan Holloway said…
Hi Stef,
I love this blog, and the creative energy you put into it.

Writers block is a really tricky one - for some people it can be a result of clinical perfectionism, which can literally cripple you into not writing anything out of fear.

I am very very lucky never to have had block, but I would consider it luck rather than decisiveness (as you'd know if you ever saw me with a menu). My suggestion of two weeks not writing comes from a writer friend of mine who does suffer really bad periods of block. He has never, though, had to wait out the full two weeks. Usually a week in he can't help himself, rushes to his desk, and he's away.

Thank you for the link. I would point out that Agnieszka is a character in my current Facebook novel. I am, with beard as evidence, a "he". And thank you SO much for plugging hatastic - the top picture in the interview is actually made from a kettle - she's just fantastic!
Stef Howerton said…
First off, thank you so much for the great comment! :)

Secondly, I don't even know why I said "she." I'm so sorry! Now I feel really quite silly. Oh well.

I went back and changed the comment to be gender appropriate.


You should send me a link to your facebook novel! I'd love to see what you've got!
Stef Howerton said…
Ah, I just figured out why I was mistaken. I misread your name and thought it said AGNESzka. Apparently, my eyes have an aversion to the letter I. Hmph...
Dan Holloway said…
Just plain Dan :-)

The novel's at

Having to write 2 chapters a week in public is a great way of avoiding block!!

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