Show or Tell, Paint or Sell, Your Road to Writing Hell

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

How often do you hear the phrase " show or tell"? Are you curious why it stops you in your tracks? Do you want to know what makes it take over you like stage fright when you write? Alright then, read along and find out how to make it right!!

 
 
As writers we often make jokes about mental block from things like, defining mental block as the situation when your imaginary friends refuse to talk to you to the fact that writing is ninety percent staring at an empty screen or sheet of paper and ten percent writing. But the question is why do we even have mental block? Well, we all get mental block for reasons that differ based on the narrative we are working on and our personalities or writing environments that is in general. Sadly, the real reason we get mental block is the fact that we put certain standards for our output based on the love we had for a prior work we’ve developed and of course when we lose inspiration.
 
Given the two big reasons I attributed mental block to above, it’s important to see the root of mental block’s problem as a matter of perspective. We in the end are our own limits and let’s say worst critic. That said, it’s important to be kind to yourself and to try to see the things you are trying for in a more realistic approach. It’s important to ask the right questions of yourself when it comes to performance, to have an outline so that you know where your writing is going, and to have realistic goals down the writing road. In other words, the path to success in terms of audience and writer recognition is not one or straight. While many can go through traditional publishing and querying, others may find it easier to selfpublish and even go through anthologies and online publishing outlets. In this piece, we are going to go through the mental block elimination process from the perspective sense i.e. on an internal mental level.
 
For instance, you might be writing this little poem or chapter in your book but you find that not a single sentence seems to sit there perfectly or even the idea you have in your head might seem grand but when it hits that screen it looks like a  three year old’s gibberish doodle. So how do we even bridge that gap of expectation? Simple, is the word or approach you are looking for. Before you begin writing on a regular pace and in school they teach you this simple way of creating a wordweb to brainstorm and it really works. No am not talking about simple word association here or ideas because we are way beyond that. As poets and writers we tend to use ideas like symbols through which we encrypt our thoughts to later help them appear in sheer beauty to a reader. So let’s say your poem is about clouds, so normally you will begin describing the clouds with words such as fluffy , frothy , light whatever, but the advanced brainstorming, will change the tactile perception of the said cloud. Some might associate it with a hollow that makes a sky eerie with darkness others with a forest nymph pulsating life into the streams and bushes etc. Another method which I like, is to change where you write and go back to nature and people to observe the normal pace of life. The more realistic your observations are, the more fluid your writing tempo is and the more realistic and vivid will your scenes be. You see when you write poems, you compress words to encase explosive or let’s say alluring emotion but when you write stories, you need to be able to show and by that you need to help your reader get sucked into the scene you are painting and make them feel what they are supposed to feel in that setting and that is the transition that professional writers are able to make on a regular basis. Now for poets, music, art such as paintings, plays, and activities that help burst emotions can be very rejuvenating for their quills. As for writers, observation and reading about psychological aspects of feelings of people help them better convey characters and better align circumstance for settings and events. As prose writers, they need to create tension in their scenes and build emotion through anticipation and lack of predictability to keep a reader from getting bored to create the plausibility aspect that will lead them to hang on to see the next chapter.
 
Now all I said above was very descriptive of the writing problem, but we need is help a writer or poet know what they are writing and know how to drive it home. A writer can do so by asking simple questions: what am I saying? What is my message? What do I want the reader to go home with? What do I want a reader to think? What can I lead him to expect? Now that’s all the what’s the next question is a set as well and it goes like this: How do I make my reader interact with the morality of my characters, of the setting( timeline as in era, situations, choices), How do I make them hate or question or love or feel disgusted of my character, How do I make my character or piece a reflection or a revolution or a mutation of the present I represent (whether it is this era or older). The third set is more of test for successful transition of reader into story Can my reader see what am talking about, Can my reader sense the emotion I am trying to convey of character or crowd or sentiment, Can my reader follow me into the scene and experience everything I describe as plausible, Can my reader relate to my characters, Can my reader understand the difficult choices I made my character go through? 
 
Now all these questions that I’ve mentioned above constitute the big bad wolf we call mental block and that wolf is just our subconscious trying to question our logic. Our minds are fascinatingly charged with a logic that charges with emotion at anything that doesn’t give feedback for these questions and that is just what we call our artistic palate contrasting with our quill’s palette. No it is not a play on word, I meant to say what I said, you see palate, is the upper surface of the mouth that separates the oral and nasal cavities and palette is the range of colors that an artist uses. So in other words, mental block is a struggle of your mind with what your mind sees as good writing versus what your writings skills are putting out with writing devices you are using. So next time you have mental block try to reconcile those two and you will see it is not impossible if you know why something in your mind is beautiful and why it is not versus why something you wrote before is good writing with good writing devices and why it is a crappy writing with crappy writing devices.
 
For practice, I would suggest, that you start by describing a painting to a reader or observer from a school of painting you understand. Tell its story in all aspects, let the reader see what you see and compare what you wrote before sharing it to the true story of the painting as per the painter itself. You see painting is the inverse sense of writing because, it can’t tell you verbally what it is about but a writing can tell you verbally but can’t show you visually what it is about and these gaps between these two works or schools of art are what makes the artist and writer gifted and memorable. 
 
In short, bridge your gaps, to ward mr big bad wolf aka mental block and I promise you, you will be able to write and flow always on paper, screens , and the minds of your crowds. Okay, chop chop, time to write my friends, ciao for now.
 
 
 
#writing #WritingCommunity #mentalblock #mentalhealth #creativewriting #writerslife #writers #creativesolutions #writingprocess


Submitted: October 17, 2020

© Copyright 2020 pasithea chan. All rights reserved.

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