When was the last time you experienced writer’s block? What do you think brought it about — and how did you dig your way out of it? What do you think of when I say the term “mnemonic device”?
My most recent bout of writer’s block hit me last week, “write” after Ledcat left for her trip to NYC. I had nothing to say. I fudged my way through some posts about things like a documentary I admired, but creative content just was beyond my grasp.
I’m sure it was caused by my anxiety. It certainly wasn’t for lack of LGBTQ news to discuss or analyze. I just felt that all of my words were jumbled inside my head, leading to draft blog posts about being a new cable television customer. Yeah, that’s pretty exciting stuff. Digging my way out of it is one reason I am writing this actual post – I have to discipline myself to write something down on the blog every day to loosen the creative thought process. It has worked in the past. There’s the side benefit of the sense of accomplishment which helps manage my anxiety.
Fortunately, the question about “mnemonic device” taps into something a bit more interesting than my writer’s block, but it still related. I learn and memorize things by writing them out. Actually, that’s just the first step. I write things and then I read them aloud. My therapist just brought this up when I met with her this week – she told me that I need to read my daily personal writing aloud to myself so that I can tap into my full learning potential. Her claim is that we have a tactile learning experience by reading something (vision), writing something (touch), and by speaking and listening to something (speech and hearing.) So keeping any sort of journal (as opposed to “journaling” – uggh) isn’t quite enough for those of us who are stubborn. We need to tap into a deeper sense of knowing by reading back to ourselves.
This makes sense. When I am preparing for any sort of presentation, I write out notes or an outline. Then I practice verbally until I have everything down pat. Another form of writing that is useful to me is to create a Frequent Asked Questions (FAQ) document. This was something I did quite often as a social worker because I often encountered the same questions repeatedly. The format is a useful organizing tool for presentations because it creates a natural cluster of related information. And you have a handy handout for your presentation which people always appreciate.
When I’m by myself while reading, I sometimes start to read out loud – even fiction. This is especially helpful when I feel a little stuck. If I’m reading something a bit drudgy online, I might switch devices and read under my breath as I finish.
So my therapist is probably on to something with her advice.
I revisited mnemonic device basics and certainly remember them from my school days. Most vivid are ROY G. BIV and Every Good Boy Does Fine. I also remember “There’s a rat in separate.” But I had a tendency to confuse rhyming devices like that infernal “30 Days Has September …” and similar schemes. ROY G. BIV is very useful for adult queer people!
Perhaps to get unstuck from the remnants of this writer’s block, I should revisit some old blog posts and read them out loud to myself.