I never get writer’s block, but from time to time, I do suffer from writer’s mire. That means I get stuck in one of my own stories and grind over the same troublesome scene for days. Writer’s mire is a momentum killer and can easily destroy your enthusiasm for the story.
The sensible cure for getting stuck is moving on, but easier said than done, right? When my willpower muscles out my inner editor, I can write FIX THIS LATER and power on ahead to the next scene. That being said, even when I can move on, that troublesome scene is like a gnat in the back of my brain. Very distracting.
A case of writer’s mire happened to me last week, only I could not get to the FIX THIS LATER step. Finally, in desperation, I tried a writing prompt to think about another idea for a while.
Do you use writing prompts? They’re easy to find via Google. They are great as morning warm-up work, or to distract yourself when frustrated. Some prompts are very specific and others less so. The one I tried last week was to “write a crazy conversation.” Since part of my writer’s mire scene included characters exchanging flat dialogue, I decided to regard “conversation” in a different way: an online one.
Here’s how it went:
A CRAZY CONVERSATION
Read Up! (Aka every medical conversation on social media.)
JANE: Hi, friends! I’ve been quiet because I had my spleen surgically removed today.
MARY: OMG, really? Why?
JANE: I have spleenositosis and the only treatment is surgical removal of the spleen.
MARK: Your spleen filters your blood. It’s vital to a healthy immune system.
JANE: I am aware of that. I researched spleens upside down and sideways because of my disease.
MEGHAN: Wow, surgery! I would never have surgery. I hope you considered carefully.
JANE: Yes, of course I considered all options. You think I had my spleen carved out on a whim?
MARLENE: Watch out for MRSA. People get MRSA after surgery. My brother nearly died of MRSA.
MISSY: Did you try a homeopathic cure?
JANE: There is no homeopathic cure.
MARTHA: OMG, Jane, what happened?! Why would you get rid of your spleen?
JANE: Read up, Martha.
MORWANA: I had MRSA. You just take antibiotics. Don’t be such a drama queen, Jane.
JANE: Wha? I didn’t say anything about MRSA. That was Marlene.
MORGAN: You should have considered a homeopathic cure.
MELANIE: Have you considered a homeopathic cure?
MAURICE: Dandelion tea is good for the spleen. I run an homeopathic goods mail-order service. Here’s a link.
MAMIE: My cousin had acne. Dandelion tea cured it right up. You should try that, Jane.
MARTHA: Jane, were you in an accident? A car crash?
JANE: Martha, please read up.
MITCHELL: Did you get a second opinion? I’d get a second opinion before removing an organ. You should get a second opinion right away.
JANE: Mitchell, I did get a second option, and it’s too late now anyway, since my spleen is gone. See OP.
MINNIE: My cousin is a surgeon and he accidentally dropped his cell phone into a patient during surgery and it embedded in the person’s liver.
MOLLY: I’m not sure this is a good idea. You need your spleen for your immune system.
MARTHA: Jane, did you fall down the stairs and bruise your spleen or something?
JANE: Martha, Please. Read. Up.
MIGNON: Herbs help keep a spleen healthy. You should eat a lot of herbs.
MIGNON: And you should eat less red meat, since it clogs up your spleen.
MIGNON: Also drink less alcohol because alcohol is not good for the spleen.
JANE: Great info, Mignon, but I don’t actually have a spleen anymore. Read OP.
MICHELE: My book’s on sale at Books for Sale! Buy my book! Here’s a link.
MILLY: Spleenositosis is a disease of the spleen, which filters your blood.
JANE: I KNOW. THAT’S WHAT I HAVE!
MILLY: You said your spleen was removed. You can’t have spleenositosis without a spleen. ??????
MARTHA: I just don’t understand why you would do something this crazy, Jane.
JANE: For god’s sake, Martha, READ UP! UP! UP!
MARTHA: Jane, why are you yelling at me? I CARE. Why are you being so secretive about this spleen thing?
MITCHELL: Patients get tricked into into unnecessary surgeries all the time. I will PM you 72 links right away so you can see how you got taken in by unscrupulous big pharma and the money-sucking medical establishment.
JANE: OMG!!! All I wanted to do was explain why I had been quiet! How about an “I hope you’re okay, Jane,” or “I’ll make you a casserole.”
MIKE: You seem stressed, Jane. You need to buy some St. John’s Wort. Here’s a link.
I had fun writing this, and it broke me out of the mire! Sometimes something completely different is worth a try.
What would you write as “a crazy conversation” writing prompt? And, if you have another cure for writer’s mire, I’d love to hear it!