Saturday, 17 September 2016

You can’t think yourself out of a writing block; you have to write yourself out of a thinking block. ― John Rogers

I thought if I just showed up, the writing would fall back into place. So, I have shown up each day, sat in front of my computer, puttered with a few words and then drifted off to Twitter and blogs and anything else that would take me as far away from the void as possible. For, I am looking into a black hole rather than a maelstrom of words. I've got nothing. Nada. Zero.

At first, I thought it was the quiet that has settled over Cutting to the Chase. It is done. It is out in the world. And, while I know the process takes time, it is difficult not to feel defeated by the silence. I am grateful that agents have asked for my full manuscript but the waiting is not easy. I read about how hard it is, over and over on writers' blogs. Consistently, they say to move on. Write something else to distract you. Advice I took to heart. But what do you do when no words flow? You sit and listen to the stillness and worry that you are not good enough. That you were never good enough. That you are entirely delusional to even think you could be a writer.
I decided I suffered from some form of mental paralysis, that fear was making my writing muscles rigid. The self-diagnosis did not help. I floundered even more. Mags' story remained elusive. It shifted and morphed in my mind but didn't drift to the page. Perhaps a change of pace was in order? I pulled up the sequel to Raven's Path. And stared at it. I reviewed my plot notes for Sophia's story, my second Regency. Crickets. Like a madwoman, I opened every file that contained story premises…and remained entirely uninspired.

I have come to the conclusion that it is not enough to just show up. That's like going to the gym and watching the Zumba class or staring at the equipment. Like the reluctant exerciser (and trust me, I know her well), I need to push myself into activity, even if it's just going through the motions. I need to put words to paper every day despite the fact that they might be absolute crap. Logically, I know that eventually my atrophied writing muscles will strengthen and I will once again be able to string together a coherent story.

It is far easier to keep a habit by writing a little bit every day than it is to rebuild the habit. I must remember that the next time life lures me with its promise of good times and good friends. There is no need to pass up on any of it, but nor is it necessary to ditch my writing so completely. I think even fifteen minutes a day would have held its valuable place in my life.

So, I will enjoy this weekend and get back on the writing treadmill on Monday. It won't be easy, and it's going to be uncomfortable and probably frustrating. But it's as necessary as my daily exercise regime because it's my mental sanity. My creative anchor. It's what I do. I write…I hope.

4 comments:

  1. {{{{hugs}}}} I've been here. The truth is, you have to write junk to find the gold. You have to till the soil and kick out the rocks so that the good can sink in deep roots. Just stay with it, Rose. Write a bit of drivel every day until you find your gold coming to the surface. I find I can't allow myself to stop, or starting back is much harder.

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  2. Thanks, Zan Marie. From what I can tell by my Twitter feed and numerous blogs, I am not alone. Almost wonder if it is a seasonal transition thing. :0)

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  3. I've been fighting this, too. Showing up is good, doing the work is good, too. But if you push to hard on something you'll actually make it worse. I counted all writing as writing not just writing on my WIP. Blog, letters, journal entries, family memories, I wrote anything that was interesting to me and I slowly began to get interested in my WIP again. So I worked on that. And it was horrible. But the fact that there were words was amazing. I celebrated those words. I rejoiced in them, no matter how horrible. And maybe, someday, they'll turn into something good.

    Good luck. I hope you found something that works for you.

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  4. Thanks Spesh. I hope your words begin to flow too.

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