"Published author, aspiring novelist . . . welcome to my world of madness!"

Jan 31, 2010

On Writer's Block

Some people pursue writing as a career; others do it as a hobby. I’m sure a handful or more are stuck somewhere in the middle of the road, unsure where they fall. Fulltime, part-time, or somewhere in between: if you write, you are bound to hit a snag. You will eventually stall, falter, or stare at a blank page for hours on end, wondering what in the world is wrong with you. It happens on every end of the creative scale: to novelists, poets, bloggers, and short story scribes. It happens to the masters sitting at the top of the bestseller‘s charts, to the unknown author pursuing his guilty pleasure. We call it Writer’s Block.

*cue the grim face and creepy music*

The mere phrase is enough to strike terror in even the staunchest author’s heart. A vast majority of writers will, at some point or another, bemoan their muses. We scapegoat, shifting the blame elsewhere. I, myself, have done this on numerous occasions. Yes, I have cried to the writing gods in all of my dramatic glory, begging to know why they have forsaken me. I’ve made offerings of solitude, incense, music, and coffee. Then, a well-meaning friend posed a single question that rattled me to the core.

"Why do they call it writer’s block?"

The answer seemed so obvious at the time. Uhmmm. Hmm. Because we write?

Nod in agreement, if you will, but let’s really think about this. Many of us have not yet broken into the spotlight far enough where can support ourselves by writing alone. Someday, yes, but not yet. Am I right? Say you work on the side as a janitor. Sure there have been days where you didn’t feel like showing up to work. Maybe you were having an off-day or simply felt blah. We all have days where we are not as productive, where we just shuffle through the movements without heart or head in the actions. Yet, we don’t call into work to report we won’t be coming in today because we have a case of janitor’s block.

See the reasoning here?

Teachers don’t call off with teacher’s block, cops don’t call off with cop block, truckers don‘t call off with trucker‘s block. They show up, perform the best that they can, and hope they make it through to find tomorrow is a better day.

I’d like to say that writers are lazy. I really would, but by nature we aren’t. Only one who has sat in our shoes know how hard it really is to churn out line after line, to build upon word after word, constructing characters, plots, and worlds out of thin air, and then breathe that magical life into them. It’s a craft that takes years of sweat, hard work, dedication, and tears to hone. Even then, we sometimes fall flat. That’s okay!

Maybe it is not writer’s block after all. Maybe, underneath our creative exteriors, lies a normal person who experiences a very normal thing when you go though the same motions day after day: burn out. It’s easy to fall into this feeling, especially when you pour as much time and energy into your writing as we do.

Allow yourself a day or two off once in a while. Take time to read that book you thought sounded so good. Go for a walk. Do the dishes. Clean the house. Play on the floor with the kids or the pets. Socialize with family, neighbors, and friends. Live, laugh, and enjoy life around you. It’s okay! Not only is it okay, it’s healthy. The burn out will eventually ease and you will find yourself facing the screen with a fresher outlook on writing and life in general.

The next time you feel yourself stuck, don’t blame your muses or cry to the powers that be. Take the time to listen to what your own body is telling you. It may be a few hours, or it may be a few weeks, but all is not lost. Writers are human. Take time to recharge your body and mind. After all, they are our most valuable tools.

~Best wishes and happy writing!~

Jan 30, 2010

Weekends are for resting?

Say it isn't so!

Not here, not this week.  After a hectic weekday onslaught and a massive cleaning spree, I found myself too drained to even log on to the computer.  While this left me behind in many areas, I did find time to enjoy a new book I purchased, shampoo all the carpets, shop, and scrub the house from top to bottom.  Last night, I feel into bed around 10:30, a new record for me!

I roused this morning rested and ready to face the day.  After much contemplation and coffee-filled musings, I managed to produce a lengthy, but informative horror newlsetter, complete with some great editor's picks.  Somehow, I made my way through thirty something e-mails, and even found the time to touch bases with a few dear friends both here and on WDC.  At the moment, I feel like Superwoman.  Albeit a very tired one.

The end of the month often brings a frantic crunch for time and deadlines loom ahead with sinister leers.  They taunt me, but this is when I am at my best.  Something about the frantic urgency spurs me into action and pushes me to greater heights.  While I thrive under pressure, many others fall apart.

This leads me to ask: when do you feel you are at your best?  Does pressure help or hinder your efforts?

Just some food for thought.  Me, I'm tired and have one final deadline staring me in the eye.  I hope I conquer it and do it well. 

As the saying goes, there's no rest for the wicked . . .

~Best wishes and happy writing~

Jan 22, 2010

Random thoughts

"I tumble into a crimson tide of love lost and things remembered. No longer do I view the past as the chains that bind me, but the foundation on which I am built. Storms may rage, and rain may buffet my skin, but I stand strong, bold and daring in the face of danger. Through good times and bad, I long for the freedom of my words and the worlds they create. This magic, this wondrous blessing and curse, every fevered stroke of my pen, sets my soul ablaze and ignites the passion within. I am woman, yes. But, beneath this delicate facade lies something much more sinister. Something fierce; something indestructable and enduring . . . the heart and soul of a writer."