I’m sure we’ve all experienced writer’s block. That dreaded, miserable feeling when you can’t think of an idea, or when you have an idea but the words don’t come. But every so often, something almost miraculous happens. You sit down to write, and it’s like your brain and your hands are in overdrive. With almost no effort or friction, words just pour onto the empty page, and voila!
So, we asked our staff writers:
What is your proposed word for this phenomenon, the opposite of writer’s block?
Swiftian Insomniac Ideas
Hear me out: I’m talking Taylor Swift, not Jonathan Swift. Taylor Swift’s entire album, “Midnights,” was written about insomnia—a great tool in any sleepless creative’s toolkit.
The opposite of writer’s block is that thing where you’re in bed, sleepless, at 3 A.M., wondering why you even tried to go to sleep in the first place. Then, suddenly, a great idea comes to you. So, you get out of bed and write.
It’s the spit-balling you receive in a brainstorming session, but no, more than that, it’s the egg that cracks open and the idea that you have hatches and breaks free.
Your hatchling could be a character, a setting, a menagerie of things… But they pour out of you on paper or word doc. Catch ’em all.
You’ve met ear worms—those songs that after one encounter decide to set up residency in your mind. Now, let them introduce you to their much-less-annoying cousin: brain bards.
Sometimes brain bards come to your mind with no warning, sometimes when you’ve been begging them to accept your invitation for months. No matter how they arrive, they’re always toting bags loaded with inspiration, offering it freely without you even having to ask. Whether their visit is fleeting or lengthy, your time with them will feel electric, almost as if the brain bards have dealt you a party drug, but without worries of bad decisions or erasure of memory. In short, they are the best house guests and once the brain bards leave, taking their bags of inspiration with them, you’ll be counting the days until they return.
The instant your creativity catches air and flies into the blue skies of hope and prosperity. The moment that Hermes, Benzaiten, or Thoth visit your brain and bequeath you the gift of words. The time-freezing minutes of glory that every idea rushes forward faster than a rabid and materialistic Black Friday crowd outside of a Best Buy, you experience the gift of…
The massive collection of words that make your fingers dance like Gregory Hines, your ideas flourish like every Bob Ross happy little tree, and you smile, assured the kind of literary success that makes Stephen King look like a single-idea self-published nightmare. Make sure to balance out your vospazulary surge with an inspirational drink of choice to celebrate a prose victory.
The phenomenon has only struck me a handful of times—maybe twice, maybe three times in my life. When it truly feels like my fingers were dancing on the keyboard. When it felt like my pen moved itself. My brain and hands communicating at a rate that bypassed my consciousness and just landed on the open page. I was merely a vessel—moving at a rate where I almost literally could not keep up.
It wasn’t me writing; it was the muses. They sat with me, visited me, and chose me—because I decided to show up and write that day. The feeling is divine and terrifying, but every time I show up to write, I hope they come back.
The Polyhedral Dice of Inspiration
One opposite to a standard block is a multi-multi-multi-faceted dice, like the ones featured in Dungeons and Dragons, and, when used correctly, can unstick a stuck writer.
Character at a crossroads? Not anymore. Feel like your story is going nowhere, slow? Toss the dice for a detour that not even your friend who figured out Memento will see coming.
Use the polyhedral dice of inspiration with caution. We don’t need any more demon summoning franchises.