Beating Writer’s Block
The closer we come to being who we are, the brighter we shine.
I came across this anonymous quote one day whilst skimming through my current diary, looking for inspiration. It has been a dry (as in writing) few months, the first time I have experienced what is generally referred to as Writer’s Block – or at least my version of it.
Now, I fully empathize with those writers before and beside me and the struggles they have undergone, wanting to write but unable to find the words. Fortunately,I have learned that in life every downside also has an upside and focusing on that has brought me full circle, back to the keyboard and productive and rewarding days of writing.
How I clawed my way back…
I have always found it liberating to believe we are all put on this earth for a purpose; one that the nearer we get to fulfilling i.e.discovering what it is and understanding it, the better we are because of it.
If you are thinking you will never write an intelligent word again, you may find looking at it from this angle is actually quite freeing – and exciting–something new to strive towards in the (temporary) absence of your first love and duty – to the keyboard and those wonderful people who buy and read your books.
At the beginning of my dry spell I realized I was stalling with my latest half-completed writing project that should have been at least at the editing stage. All I felt was guilt – I couldn’t write because my mind was refusing to cooperate with my fingers on the keyboard – and every time this happened I felt as though I had lost that complete day and the guilt got even worse. So I started cruising the internet thinking, I just need something to inspire me and I’ll be off writing again.
Instead I felt led to do something quite different. In my internet meanderings, looking for something to get me started again, I stumbled across a site called www.etsy.com It’s a big, very well-known site, where people create things and sell them in their Etsy shops. It was fascinating, browsing and seeing the beautiful and practical things people make to sell – so much talent in the world, I thought and, before I knew it I was making things myself. Okay, not written things but at least my days were not being wasted – and the best part was that guilt started taking a back seat to fabric flowers, aprons, stuffed toys and the satisfaction of creating again from my imagination.
This continued for several weeks – I still didn’t feel able to write but I was creating things and refusing to let guilt grab another foothold. I did still think about writing but at the same time my mind was dreaming up new ways to be creative, new things to make. In the evenings, when normally I would sit with a glass of wine and scribble in a notebook, or watch the occasional TV show – I started knitting bunnies, each one different from the last. Over the period I made something like 23 bunnies and am still making more. I’m sure they will all find homes for Christmas and then my frantic bunny obsession may come to an end.
The good news is that I am now writing again and hope to get my next book, a sequel to one about to be released, Murder in Brambly Cott, back on track by early next year.
Kick the guilt bug into touch –
If your writing is stalled, don’t worry and, most of all, don’t allow guilt a foothold – refuse to be pressured. Tell yourself that the muse will return, it’s just taking a well-earned break. Allow your mind to relax; start reading anything and everything; perhaps have a hunt around the internet – I can vouch for Etsy being a great starting point. Something will emerge and click in your mind and, before you know it, you will be doing something you enjoy, perhaps learning a new skill while you take a vacation from the keyboard.
I think the trick is to give yourself permission to relax; step aside from your current project and be prepared for a few days, or even weeks, of doing something completely different. The muse will return and may even be better for the break and whatever new thing you have learned.
As we fast approach Christmas, here is a wonderful Charles Dickens quote. Perhaps we can transfer the sentiment to our writing plans for 2016 – I’m certainly going to try.
`I will honour Christmas in my heart and try to keep it all year.’