Monday, July 27, 2009

Linkage--A Great Technique to Beat the (Writer's) Block

Like boards on a fence, sentences tie together thoughts. But too tied up, they lead to blocked creativity. Enter linkage, a technique that beats the block and keeps the gate open.
I learned about linkage years ago. Maybe in a writing class, maybe from a colleague. Since I heard this simple technique, I've read that it's used by many professional authors. Try it this week--it'll help you keep momentum between writing sessions. Here's how it works: Simply leave your last sentence of the day unfinished.

For example, instead of ending a writing session with a complete sentence, which leaves no "linkage" to the next day's work, I leave the sentence hanging.

Not "Molly looked out the window and saw the blue Ford Escort." But "Molly looked out the window and saw..."

Why does linkage work so well? Because the mind hates a vacuum. Overnight (or over several days, if you write less often) your creative mind will explore options for ending this sentence. It will drive you a little crazy--a good thing! You will itch to get back to the page to finish the thought.
Simple, huh? Harder than it looks. You'll want to finish the thought and wrap it up. Clean as you go. But repress the urge and leave it hanging.

Along with a little crazy, linkage will drive you back to your writing faster than anything I know.