|On Bad Writing Days I feel like this! All bone, no essence.|
It wasn't until tonight that I realized I'm stuck in my own head. Worrying, concerned unnecessarily about characters and the details of their lives, the situations and circumstances that make their days swirl and twirl into a flurry of wanted excitement and curiosity. Not that I don't think it's important to consider my characters as deeply and strongly as I do my own favorite friends or family members, they definitely deserve my full attention, energy and effort. Rather, giving into every single little concern, every single moment of every single day can be dangerous. It can produce restlessness and worse, results that are ineffective and undermining to a natural routine of everyday writing.
So, what's a girl to do in a situation like this? Go back to what she knows...go back to a safe place where creativity flows freely and inspiration can again take hold. I love journaling. I don't share my journaling with anyone and I don't feel bad about being selfish about that. It's my safe place to do what I want, how I see fit, without concern for opinions other than my own.
Realizing the above makes me want to think that the solution to writer's block or a "writing funk" is as simple as journaling. But the longer I live and grapple with this creative monster I think of as writing, the more I realize there is no simple answer. No black or white solution. Just a bunch of parts of different things that will hopefully enable creativity to once again take hold and flourish into a sensible, inspiring, authentic story.
If you're reading this post because you too have found your writing well may be drying up, try a few of the below links to trick your brain into writing when it thinks it doesn't want to anymore:
This ^ blog is regularly updated with all sorts of helpful information to inspire and keep you writing or working on publishing goals.
This ^ fabulous blog offers journal writing prompts. If you're mind is as empty as the Grand Canyon, worry not, Ms. Patty McNair's prompts will give you something to mentally and creatively sort through and ponder.
Literary agent Janet Reid's blog is a great place to distract yourself from the craft of writing and plunge into the business of it. I often find that when I get stuck if I shift my perspective from the immediate task at hand (writing the best chapter ever written in the history of humankind) to something somewhat related [publishing goals] then it alleviates pressure to create from an empty space. It gives me a focal point. Focusing on the outside stimulates the inside.
I love letting my mind steep and brew with all the possibilities that it means to call myself "a writer." Yes, writing is clearly, definitively an important ingredient to mastering this life-long journey. But what of the unlimited possibilities that accompany the more creative mental meanderings surrounding what it means to be a writer? A good psychology site and blog posts that offer insightful, practical solutions on a deeper level is always a welcome distraction that leads to writing. Eventually. If all else fails, write about the blog post you read to avoid writing. Hello! Writing is writing.
When all else fails and you dare leave your house to venture outside yourself and find inspiration once again, head to your local bookstore and attend a writing discussion by published authors. I find it oddly comforting to listen to strangers talk about writing, even when I can't seem to figure out how to do it.
Take heart if you're writing juices are not flowing as heartily as you would like. You are not alone. You are not a freak. You are not a failure. You are quite simply a writer finding your way.