When Your Story is Kidnapped: Smack Dab in the Imagination by Dia Calhoun

Writer's block is a form of kidnapping. Your story, memoir, novel--any kind of creative work--is stolen from you. You don't know where it has gone. You are desperate, searching everywhere. You try hot baths. Long walks. Beating your head against the wall. Nothing works. Your story has been missing for more than three days and there are no creativity police to call.

The next time this happens, shift your point of view away from your author self. (You are a writer--you know how to do that!) Imagine you are the kidnapper. Sit down and write a list of ransom demands.

What  does the kidnapper want in exchange for returning your story? List every demand and image that pops into your mind. Ice cream bars? A red dress for the hero? An extra hour of sleep per night? Three days off? A river running through chapter three? Another 1/2 hour a day to write? A trip to the scene of chapter seven?

Brainstorm. Do not edit. Sometimes to get the unconscious flowing, to get out of your author-ego point of view, write with your non-dominant hand. When you finish the list, review it. Take a walk with it. What do you, as the kidnapper really want? Then revise the list into a ransom note.

When the note feels right, still looking through your kidnapper point of view, write it out on a piece of paper. Put it in an envelope addressed to your author-ego point of view. Mail it to yourself. After it arrives in a day or two, well back in your author-ego point of view, open the letter. You can then pay the ransom.

My guess is your writer's block, having been heard and honored through this act of imagination, will  already have left for distant lands.


  1. I can't tell you how much I love this.

  2. Thanks, Holly! I like it too. The idea popped into my head from who knows where. Love imagination.


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