Sunday, February 14, 2010

The 'other' writer's block...

I have previously (and still continue) to dismiss Writer's Block. I reckon it is one of those problems for writers that only works if you buy into it. For me, my writing productivity goes up and down like an out of control yo-yo but I always accept that there will be unproductive days when the writing doesn't want to come and I just need some time and space and maybe a little brain holiday to get things rolling again. If I say I am blocked, I become blocked. If I accept instead that I am in a writing trough, I look for things to do that feed my creativity or educate my writing brain (reading books, going to movies, catching up with friends, etc...) and take comfort in the fact that peaks follow valleys - yahoo. I do like a good peak.

But there are other kinds of writers block. There is the kind when you have dug yourself a hole (with very slippery sides) of impatience and obsession over replies from agents and/or publishers (or any other kind of industry professional) and cannot write until you have 'heard back', also known as 'I will write again just as soon as I've checked/refreshed my e-mail/post box'. There is the kind of block you can get when several bad results put the 'fear of failure' wind in your sails. We deliberately put the breaks on our creativity to wait for or protect ourselves from the opinions and decisions of others. These kinds of blocks are the ones we put up ourselves as a result of things that are outside our control. What a waste of time!!! If you cannot control it, it is best to avoid being a slave to it. Of course this is easier said than done. I myself have often been a slave to the postie's arrival and have recently blogged on a little self sabotage I was indulging in. Like alcoholism, the first step is to recognize and acknowledge what you are doing. The second step is to break the cycle. This can take a bit of time and retraining if large parts of your brain have been devoted to obsessing and sabotaging and dwelling etc... One method is to pick a new focus for the day, the week, the month (or however long you may need to retrain yourself). Go do some research on something you have always wondered about/found fascinating (my daughter is studying the Russian revolution for level 2 history this year - she says 'meh', I say Rasputin, haemophiliac son, did Anastasia survive, winter palace, Nicholas and Alexandra, Dr Zhivago). Go indulge yourself - long walks, new haircut, pedicures, read trashy novels till your eyes hurt. Make holiday plans (even fake ones), make a bucket list or learn a new skill. I even say 'put the writing away.' In fact this is the best plan of all. Put the writing away until your hands positively itch with the desire to write - and then wait another day or two. And while you are waiting read some of your own favourite writing; your own stories that you like the best.

Are you re-freshed and refocused now? Did you remind yourself why you continue to submit yourself to this crazy business? You have no control over the opinions and decisions of others - forget about them, measure your successes by your own standards and move yourself forward. Moving yourself forward is the best way to influence the outcome.

1 comment:

Old Kitty said...

Hear! Hear!

Free yourself from the shackles that is the publishing industry!


And re-discover the joy of creating a story.

What a wonderfully uplifting piece - thank you!

Take care