Trying to Write

Today, I have set up at a table in Bryant Park, logged on to the free wi-fi, plugged my Chromebook into the charging station, gotten myself a raspberry lemonade, taken out my notebook, set my fingers on the keyboard, and…

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I am just too distracted by the gorgeous day and the constant flow of humanity all around me, including a juggling class on the other end of the lawn.

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And my story is stuck. I know where I want to go with it, but at the moment don’t know how to get there. So, instead, I’m sitting and watching the fountain, the people, the jugglers. Soon, I’ll have to leave to get something to eat, but for now, I’ll just absorb the images.

Writing on Demand

I’ve often used prompts to get me going,  whether in writing groups with friends or students or while doing the Poem a Day Challenge or even for inspiration for this blog, but today, I am stumped by the prompt.  

I decided to take a writing course online. (Should I be concerned that auto correct made that a worrying vise?) It is a MOOC offered by the International Writer’s Workshop of the University of Iowa Writer’s Program.  Two nights ago, I watched the first class’s video,  read the short story,  and checked out the prompt. And now,  I’m stuck. 

I am supposed to write from the point of view of a child,  something I rarely do and have never done in fiction.  Yes,  the point of taking a class is to stretch oneself and try new things,  but to be so stumped on the first assignment is disconcerting.  The funny thing is that when I’m stuck,  what I usually do is go to a prompt and start free associating. But today it is the prompt that has me grounded. 

But, I have time.  I won’t sweat it.  Or so I tell myself.  Class 2 was posted this morning. I will move on with class 2, watch the video,  do the reading,  examine the prompt, and do the writing.  Maybe this will loosen me up for the first assignment.  Excellent.  I have a plan. 

I came home tonight and sat down at the computer, opened the email, pressed play.  All is good.  Interesting class on point of view and desire. I’m taking notes and ruminating on what the prompt may be–until the computer disconnects from the Internet at 33 minutes into a 47 minute class. Now I’m wondering,  “Is this an omen? How should I take this?”

So,  instead of writing my story,  I’m writing to you,  my readers. Help me out here. What do you do when you are stuck? If you’ve had to write on demand and found it a challenge,  how did you handle it?