Sometimes in order to get your hands moving you need to get your mouth moving first. This video espouses the value of talking through your problems in order to break through obstacles.
- [Instructor] Writing is actually mostly done inside of our heads. Worlds are built. Characters are born and sometimes die. Universes are constructed. Arguments are made. Insights are revealed. Mind-altering themes are stated. And yet, sometimes our silent brain space fails us. Sometimes we get stuck and just can't manage to think our way out of a problem. That's when you have to get out of your head, stop thinking, and start talking. In my years of writing, my best sounding board when I get stuck on problems has always been my husband, not because he's some kind of plotting master, although he has been known to solve several tricky plot problems in the past, but because he's an excellent listener. He listens patiently while I describe the story, catch him up on what all the characters are up to and what I'm trying to accomplish, and then sometimes offers up potential solutions that I never thought of. But more often than not, over the years, I've discovered that I never actually even get to the part where he's able to offer the solution. Because there I'll be, telling him everything I think he has to know, and somewhere along the way an idea will hit me, like lightning. I'll be going, and then Patricia has to stop what she's doing and help Sean break out of prison, which is really slowing down the plot and distracting from what Patricia has to do with Lauren, but, no, wait, Sean doesn't actually have to get sent to prison, Patricia can just distract the police while they're arresting Sean and I can save all that time. And then I turn merrily on my heels and return to my computer, to which my husband calls after me, glad I could help! Sometimes as writers we get trapped in little mental boxes of our own creation. We walk in endless circles inside these boxes, bumping into corners and walls, trying to make something work that has no hope of working, and meanwhile, this whole time, we have no idea that there's a door out of that box. It's right in front of us, but we don't see it because we're too obsessed with what's inside the box, to even consider that there's anything outside of it. And sometimes, the only way outside of that box, is to talk your way out. Oftentimes talking about your writing problem aloud can help you see it in a different way. Studies have shown that we actually use different parts of our brain to write and speak. So naturally, if one of those parts is failing us at the moment, the writing part, try switching to the speaking part. Maybe that will be more effective at getting you out of your jam. This tool works similarly to the magic wand tool I presented in the first section. Just the act of talking through the steps of your problem and having to explain them to someone who's not in the know will help you identify what's wrong and hopefully clear up some blockages that might be preventing you from seeing a good solution. It's just engaging a different part of your brain. To implement this tool, find a friend or family member who's a good listener, even a beloved pet will work. I've solved several challenging writing problems while my Great Pyrenees just laid there on the couch next to me and drooled. Because as I demonstrated earlier, they don't actually have to be able to respond, they just have to listen and maybe ask some questions if you're not clearly illuminating the struggle you're dealing with, or if you don't want to burden anyone you know, or your pet, with your writing woes, this tool can be implemented all by yourself. I will often close the door to my office and just talk to myself. Yes, that's right, out loud. I will literally talk through the entire problem, as though I'm explaining it to an invisible friend. Sometimes I'll walk around the backyard and do this, or sometimes I'll do this in my car while I'm driving. I recommend, regardless of who you talk to aloud, that you use a recording device of some kind, so you don't have to bother with writing down all of your brilliant epiphanies. There are plenty of great apps that will do this. There's probably even one that came with your phone, so you don't have to download anything, but I prefer an app called RecordUp, which automatically uploads your recording to your Dropbox on the cloud. Also, check out the resources PDF that came with this course for more recording app recommendations. Although yes, listening back to your own voice especially when talking to yourself can be cringe worthy and can take some getting used to, your future self will thank you when you listen back and are easily able to transcribe all of your solutions right into your project.