Thursday, 10 May 2012

642 Ways to Kick Writer's Block!

Stop the presses! Alert the media! Step away from the blank page! - A cure for writer's block has just hit the shelves! - '642 Things to Write About' is a book to beat the block like no other.

Not a writing manual or guide. Not a meditative reflection on creativity. No. It's a book of writing exercises to be precise. 642 of them. Designed to beat writer's block. And put the fun back into writing.

But wait, listen. It's not like all the other writing exercises us writers know and loathe. You know - the classic workshop ones like: write about your morning, your journey to the group, an interesting character, an overheard conversation blah, blah, blah... Or the classic writing guide staples like: describe an object right in front of you or write up observation notes. Nooo sir-eee.  

These exercises are unlike any others you will have come across. They're uber original and quirky and fun and laugh-out-loud ridiculous and zany and zeisty and exciting and so out-there as to be encouragingly and enthusiastically do-able.

I fell in love with this book when I saw it masquerading as a copybook/notebook in a bookshop a few days ago. I memorised some of the exercises and tried them at home, and voilá, today I have purchased this bible of creative nurturing due to: a/its insanely cool exercises and b/my innate writer's block now in remission, hurray! If there's anything that can kick its butt - this is it!
Don't believe me? Have a look at these random samples and try to stop your mind from galloping into its wild imaginative recesses:

-You are an astronaut. Describe your perfect day.
-Write a poem about a tomato.
-What can happen in a second.
-Write a love letter to a person you dislike.
-Describe a sneeze.
-Write about a tree from the point of view of one of its leaves.
-At a romantic restaurant on a Saturday night, a guy gets down on one knee and begins to propose. You are a sportscaster doing color commentary of theoccasion for a live television audience.
- A beginner's guide to getting up in the morning.
-Describe a red item without mentioning the colour.
-A superhero's bucket list.
-Write a bathroom wall limerick.
-Describe your favourite part of a male/female's body using only verbs.
-Describe a tree from the point of view of one of its leaves.
-Write a stand-up comedy routine to address the United Nations.

It's the zaniest writing book ever! And the most entertaining. Written by a group of San Francisco writers, thirty-five to be exact, and the exercises, all 642 of them, were penned within a day. In the introduction, writer PO Bronson explains that the book was written to stir up creativity, but also 'to remind you that no, not everything has been written, not every good idea is already taken by someone else. There are infinite number of things to write about and so many fresh directions for your story to go.'

The book itself is like a notebook/textbook, with ruled lines for each exercise, so you can carry it around as a journal and keepsake of your progress into the creative unknown. And the feint ruled lines beckon to be filled in right away - no room for planning or putting off. It's genius! A revolutionary writing handbook - in a store near you!

Me, I can't wait to dive in to these exercises and see that, even on boring blank page days, when no words are willing to show  and everything seems so sombre and serious, writing is truly meant to be fun. A playground. Where the imagination exhausts itself in enjoyment.

I think I have just stumbled upon the anti-dote to block, and this one, unlike all those other medicinal exercises the doctor ordered, is gonna be fun.

Let the spontaneous scribbling begin!

~ Siobhán.

*Read more on '642 Things to Write About' here


  1. Sounds brilliant. I'm getting it!

  2. It is! I highly recommend it! Sat scribbling for hours first time I flicked through it. Some of the exercises made me laugh out loud! It's really fun!

  3. Hey, great piece! i've been looking for other people using this book, it's amazing!

    I've got 7 seven stories so far, looking forward to reading & writing more :)


Leave a comment by signing in with your Google ID, blog/website, or Anonymous if you haven't any of these! It's easy! Feedback tickles me pink :)