Breaking The Blocks: Order From Chaos


That might look a little comical; almost certainly it looks quite strange. “Quantum Tosspot”?! What the hell does that mean?!

That’s the point.

Sorry, I feel like I just talked around a corner and left people scratching their heads. Let me explain.

One Origin Of Writer’s Block

We’re all familiar with writer’s block, so there’s no need to rehash what it is. Instead, let me tell you what I think one of the causes is, at least for me: Tedium.

It’s the feeling of staleness, a feeling that you’ve run out of things to say — or, at least, that you’ve run out of fresh and exciting ways to say new things. A feeling the runs anywhere from just a general ennui to outright discouragement with regard to your ability to say what needs to be said in a way that will not only engage your readers but which will engage you, as the writer, in the saying of it.

How does the above tweet help?

Ordered Chaos As Mental Stretching Exercise

A couple years ago, I discovered that what my writing muscles needed, when that ennui would settle upon me, was a good stretch. I experimented with a few different kinds of linguistic stretching, and one of them was #WordsThatDontBelongTogether.

The idea is to create pairings of words which have no rational relationship to one another. To wit:

Trout Conference

Cannoli Imbroglio

Crunchy Socket

Delicatessen Trajectory

Bullfrog Accords

What do these pairings mean? Absolutely nothing. That’s the point. Rather, that’s half the point.

These word pairings should be chosen in order to avoid a pre-established meaning. It trains the writer’s mind to break free of logical convention — because it’s convention that’s suffocating you.

But after you’ve achieved that, you can then look back over these pairings and allow your mind to do what your writer’s training has conditioned it to do — invent meaning.

It’s like a good deep-tissue massage and a long, satisfying stretch for your linguistic faculties. And, once limbered up in this way, you may find that you’ve regained the mental muscle to bust through that writer’s block.

Give it a try and see how it works for you, and in the mean time, follow me on Twitter at @saintlegion if you are so inclined, and see more.

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