Sometimes, I need to jolt myself out of creative lethargy. It’s good to shake up your writing style now and then, and it tends to send a beacon to your muse. Muses love it when you try something new.
A while back, I started journaling in the format of the film synopses I write as one of my paying gigs. These brief daily entries combined true events from my life with movie language in a hybrid form I found surprisingly fun to craft.
A few samples:
While looking out her window during a break, freelance writer Sandy Ackers notices that every single dog who passes pees on the same corner of the building across the street. Launching a personal investigation to discover the cause of this phenomenon, she soon realizes the canines may be engaged in a mysterious form of communication. Meanwhile, her work remains untouched as she strives to unravel the deepening mystery.
A weary writer drags herself out of bed Monday morning, her body wracked with pain from yesterday’s 20 hours at the computer. Why, she asks herself, didn’t she work harder last week? With a deadline on Wednesday, she faces two more dreary days of eking words out of her bleary brain, which has become stuck in second gear. She soon spirals down into an existential nightmare, with random words flying around her head like a swarm of angry hornets.
In this tense drama, passionate freelancer Sandy keeps vigil at her living room window, waiting for the one man she desires. As if to torment her, he visits every home across the street, ignoring her completely.Sandy knows from experience that hours may pass before the mailman returns, hopefully bearing the highly anticipated check that will mean the difference between dinner out tonight and another celebration of warmed-up leftovers.
Sandy Ackers loves working at home—until the wacky lady across the street starts playing her accordion. 83-year-old German Anneliese enjoys sitting at her open window and regaling passers-by with her tunes. The only problem? She’s terrible! As Sandy flinches through every missed note during her 99th hearing of “Edelweiss,” she imagines a host of hilarious schemes to wrest the accordion from Anneliese’s grip and restore peace to the neighborhood.
Stretching on a Sunday morning, Sandy expects to enjoy a lazy day with her husband. What she doesn’t yet realize is that a malicious fog has been gathering in the night, surrounding her and slowing down her brain. When she fully wakes, she’ll notice the viral cloud hovering around her — and she’ll have to fight hard to avoid becoming its latest victim. This disturbing spine-chiller co-stars Headache, Sluggish Muscles and Creeping Pain.
Exercises like this can make writing fun when it starts feeling routine, or help nudge you out of a block. I find that keeping myself amused also facilitates my creative flow.
But this concept can go far beyond movie synopsis journal entries. How about writing your autobiography in the form of book jacket copy? Or discussing your protagonist’s current dilemma through game instructions? You could explore your world or create a fictional one using bubblegum cards, a tarot deck, highway billboards, fortune cookies, horoscopes…the possibilities are endless.
As always, I’d love to hear about or see any creative efforts from people reading this.
STOP STRANGLING YOUR MUSE!
I’ll help you slay your Perfectionism Dragon,
Herd your Inner Critics into a soundproof room,
Send your Procrastination Monster whimpering back to his cave,
And defuse all your creative blocks.
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