Sunday, July 31, 2016

Pam Muñoz Ryan: Getting Un-stuck: Creativity as a Mind-set

Pam Muñoz Ryan is the author of New York Times best-seller ECHO, a 2016 Newbery Honor book and winner of the Kirkus Prize. She has written over 40 books for young readers.

Pam approaches writing with the idea that the story already exists and that it's her job to find it.

Pam shares many ideas on getting unstuck:

Consider approaching your writing in a new way. Try writing something outside your comfort zone (poetry, screenplay, etc.) to push your limits and boundaries. You might find that it seeps into your stories, giving it some freshness.

Consider going on writing retreats.  Get away and it might help you see things differently.

Things that help Pam when writing in her office:

Playing games with herself, like writing until the dryer goes off.

Pam likes to have music playing. It helps to keep her in the zone.

Pam uses a daruma doll (also referred to as a goal doll) for each of her projects to encourage her to finish.

Pam has friends who like to work out of the office occasionally. That doesn't work for her, but it might for you.

If you can't see your characters in your mind or imagine them, consider going online to find them. Google to find an image that might represent your character and help you see him or her better.

If you ever get stuck, write from another POV or character. It's a useful exercise.

In ECHO Pam created an original fairy tale for the story. A fairy tale is all telling, not showing. This was hard for her because it felt like she was writing against all she had learned. Pam recommends using it as an exercise: write your story as a fairy tale synopsis. It might help you create a format for your story.

Be careful about using never and always and can't when you think of your writing and process. Those words can become self-fulfilling prophecies.

Silence welcomes ideas.

Write with wild abandon. Release, not control.

If you get stuck, write small, not big.

Know that all writers get trapped or stuck.

Stop thinking and start feeling. The mechanics of it can get in your way.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for including a summary of this session. I really wanted to attend it but it conflicted with another. :)