When I was little I'd sometimes forget how to go to sleep. I remember lying in bed wondering how to do it. How do you go to sleep? And, of course, the more I worried the less likely I was to nod off.
And now to apply the same thing to writing. I'd been going through a bad time. My Mum and my writing mentor had died within weeks of each other and I stopped writing. I couldn't write and eventually convinced myself that I'd forgotten how. Just as once I'd forgotten how to go to sleep. How had I finally managed to sleep? I'd dropped off from exhaustion. Well, that wasn't going to work when it came to writing. How do I get to sleep now? I relax. I look forward to enjoying a good night's sleep. So the key words were Relax and Enjoy.
For the first time in several months I sat down to my keyboard and Relaxed. I told myself I was going to Enjoy writing something. Anything. A story was too much to think about. I'd just write for ten minutes on any subject. Suddenly sugar came into my head. So that's what I wrote about. And when I dried up after a few lines I began again with the same word. Sugar.
Try it if you get stuck. Ask someone to give you a word and then write about it. Set yourself a short time and relax and enjoy.
Sugar. It sits in wobbly cubes in a round white dish. Wobbly cubes of matt white and sandy brown. Tempting. (Then I got stuck so I began again.)
Sugar. The smell of sugar beet drifted over Kidderminster - a sure sign of rain to come. When the sugar campaign was on during late Autumn the lorries loaded with beet would queue outside the factory. Large woody mis-shapes to be magically turned into fairy dust icing sugar, fine grains of sweetness. (And again!)
Sugar. The sticky sweetness filled the warm air in the factory. It coated, invisibly, everything it touched. It touched my brother's hair. He'd go to work with it combed down straight and arrive home curly.
Try it now. Don't edit. Just relax, enjoy and write. Write down one of the following and keep at it for ten minutes. Pink. Custard. Roofs. Bear. Rock.