Monday, October 1, 2012

Alphabet Soup

Writers’ block is a topic that is often written about in writing magazines, blogs, writing classes and by writers. Likewise, the question where do you get your ideas is a question that writers frequently get asked. The phrase “writers’ block” is an oxymoron; if you really are a writer then writers’ block is fiction. If a writer is stymied while working on a particular project, he or she merely shift gears and works on another task, does research, gives a talk or performs any number of other activities to keep their mind busy and creative. Then when ready they resume the original project.

Ideas are abundant; but transforming a raw idea into a coherent story, article or novel is a challenge. For the amateur writer (me) the act of putting the ideas onto paper or into the computer is a real problem. I suffer from writers’ block often. But I have this thought that writing is best performed by people who can isolate themselves from the world. I have children, a wife, a dog and a fulltime job, all of which need time that is in limited supply. Finding 30 minutes or an hour of uninterrupted time is a chore that requires pulling that time from other life activities. When I do manage uninterrupted time I am in heaven. Two or three days in row are sheer nirvana.

A few days ago I found the blog site. There wasn’t a list of tips to follow to cure my problem on its pages. I found something better: a wonderful idea to steal.

Grannymar has written or is in the process of writing a series of blogs using the alphabet as inspiration. Inspiration is the five dollar word for prompts. Inspiration is a marvelous creation. Many comedians talk about stealing jokes because they work. A joke is an idea that makes you laugh. In late 1990s I gave a talk to a group of church business administrators in which I told them many of their best programs where stolen from other churches because they are successful. Programs are ideas that create meaningful activities for the church.

Sue Grafton has created an entire career and body of work using the alphabet (at least for titles). She started with “A” is for Alibi and the series ends with “Z” is for Zero. Anagrams and word jumbles use letters to challenge the mind. Acrostics use the first letter of a word or series of related words to create prayers, poetry and catch phrases. Letters can create powerful inspirational work.

Do you know the original of the Christian phrase “INRI?” Look that one up! Clue: it’s an acrostic.

Being the sometimes contrarian that I am, my first attempt at the use of the alphabet for this blog will be the letter “Z.” And I hope they don't put the zzzz’s in you or me. Come back in a few days for a sip of zesty Zinfadel.

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  1. I thought this was gonna be about soup. You tricked me.

    Can't wait to see your alphabet soup blog.

  2. Thanks for the link love. I look forward to your Alphabet or should that be tebahpla!!

  3. What a great idea -- if anyone was grading blogs, you'd get an "A" in this course!