Breaking the Block: Magnetic Poetry

When I was a kid, we had a couple of refrigerator magnets shaped like cars; they were driven by little magnetic, plastic people.

I used to take them on wild adventures around the desert expanse of the door, over the raging river that ran between fridge and freezer, and occasionally alongside the great canyon that separated the refrigerator and the counter.

We had a terrible accident on one of those trips; the whole car was lost to the darkness of the chasm. I don’t like to talk about it….


All of that’s to lead to this: I’ve never quite lost my interest in refrigerator magnets. (Even if I no longer take magnetic cars for joy rides.)

So when I discovered Magnetic Poetry, it’s really not surprising that it became one of my favorite things.

“Words on Whiteboard,” 2013

There are at least three different poetry kits roaming about my home (and all shuffled together at this point) and I keep a supply of words on the whiteboard in my office. In addition to a dry erase marker because sometimes I’m too lazy to look for plurals, contractions and prepositions…

I use the kits to help manage writer’s block and blank page anxiety – you know, those moments when you sit staring at your screen, willing words to appear on it only to realize you’ll have to move your hand to make that happen and the idea of doing so fills you with so much dread you’d rather just go ahead and schedule that root canal you’ve been needing?

That’s when I sit down in front of the white board and play.

I probably don’t play enough these days.

Nearly every writing task I set myself turns into something chore-like and filled with drudgery. And while you need the chore-likeness to get things done if you ever want to publish (indie or otherwise), all work and no play make Homer something-something.

So I play.

I create strange sentences, funny fragments, odd metaphors, and come up with images I might never have touched on my own.

And as I play I realize I can put words together to make sentences and sometimes those sentences are even good and I walk away from my white board a little less anxious about facing that blank page.

Have you ever used magnetic poetry to jump-start your writing? How were the results?


6 thoughts on “Breaking the Block: Magnetic Poetry

  1. I've been playing with these for years. You're right it is a great way to jump start ideas. I have mine on the refrigerator so I look at them a dozen times a day. I don't always rearrange them when I open the door, but often enough if I need a nudge. What a great idea to write a post about them.


  2. Thank you.

    I may break down and move a portion of mine to the fridge. I'm hoping that won't make them a target for the cats; in my office, the whiteboard is relatively unobtrusive and I don't think the four legged fiends have really noticed it. 😉


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