Sunday, August 19, 2012

Releasing the Silent Butterfly. An Exercise for Conquering Writer’s Block

Hi All,

          My name is KaSonndra Leigh, and I am the author of the Lost Immortals Saga and Hacienda Moon. I am also one of the owners of the TriGate Group that recently branched out into the publishing world with an indie imprint called TriGate Press. It is with great pleasure that I bring to you my first post as the newest member of the Writer’s Voice. Thank you so much to Emma Michaels for graciously accepting me into the group. I look forward to sharing my experiences and inspirational tips with you all as I move along my literary journey. Today’s post will cover a subject that many of us as writers, both professional and aspiring alike, face on a regular basis. We all know the literary gremlin that tends to rear its head when we need to be most productive. If not, then let me just go ahead and tell you that we call him writer’s block.
          There’s no denying how many authors both unknown and established alike suffer from writer’s block during their literary careers. The situation can be a devastating one, generally showing its bothersome symptoms during a crucial period such as a deadline for an article or a manuscript. Writer’s block stifles creativity in authors much like the groin injury does to the star quarterback facing the Super Bowl and unable to play. To make matters worse, writers rarely admit to suffering from the condition, making the devastation of facing a blank page without an idea or clue to which word to strum across the page first, a lonely and humiliating experience.
          Several texts exist that contain exercises to awaken the creative mind by removing the barriers presenting the illusion of restraint. Steering the Craft by Ursula K. Le Guin contains many examples of these type of brainstorm exercises. Le Guin’s exercises are geared toward breaking down psychological barriers hidden within the subconscious mind. They stimulate the creative mind through instructional methods designed to fool the brain into writing without a conscious realization that the writer’s block has lifted. So imagine the pleasure I felt when my stimulation exercise called “Releasing the Silent Butterfly” worked wonders with the elementary students I tutor.
           Part 1: Recall a special place from your childhood. Describe this memory in no less than 100 words. Be free. Be creative. But most of all, you need to be quick. You have to complete this journey back in time within five minutes. Don’t worry about punctuation, grammar, the dreaded adverb, or any no-no’s typically found on the Elements of Style’s ‘do not use’ list.

            Part 2: Now, revisit this same place as the person you are today. Same rules apply. What’s different? How has your special place changed? Is it gone? Was it imaginary? Don’t worry about being perfect, just write. Allow your silent butterfly to soar high enough to be visible.

            ‘Release the Silent Butterfly’ is a two part exercise that focuses on uninhibited inspiration and creative flow minus the pressure of editorial worries. It is an illusion designed to trick the writer’s mind into forgetting that he or she is completing an exercise, while providing time restraints. The focus on the differences in perception between the ‘child’ and ‘adult’ versions of a shared memory assists in defeating writer’s block through familiar association. It works for all authorial levels and age groups and can be completed anytime or anyplace. Some of my student readers who tried this exercise also said they found inspiration to try everything from autobiographical pieces to poetry based on the spontaneous results generated after they finished it.

          Try this exercise to combat the writer’s block gremlin and release the beautiful story held inside. Thanks so much for visiting with the Writer’s Voice today.
Yours in Prose,
KaSonndra Leigh


  1. Very interesting post, KaSonndra. I may just have to try this when Sir gremlin shows up. Stay fly!

    Estevan Vega

    1. Haha. It works, trust me. It's like written meditation. :-D
      And you stay cool.