What Does Writer’s Block Mean For Me?

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It’s that time of month again 🙂  The question for April is: what does writer’s block mean for me? 

First of all, let’s define this term.  Dictionary.com defines writer’s block as “a usually temporary condition in which a writer finds it impossible to proceed with the writing of a novel, play, or other work.”

Writer’s block means different things to writers.   Some writers know exactly what’s causing their condition; others have no clue.  Either way, it’s a distressing feeling NOT being able to create.  In many cases the more frustrated one feels, the worse this condition becomes.  And If you have no idea what is causing this creative blockage, it can last for months or even years.

Yeah, distressing.

It took me a long while to put names to what cause the writer’s block in me.  There are three that come to pester me from time to time:

  1. Procrastination: This is by far the most common one for me.  They should probably create a professional procrastinator field because I would easily excel at it.  I just love putting things off.  You can call me laid-back, or just plain lazy—it means the same to me.  Things eventually get done, but it’s usually at the last possible moment.  Nothing like a little stress to keep the blood pumping hard, eh?
  2. Distractions: Most of my distractions come via the internet like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest as well as YouTube, Pandora, Hulu and Netflix.  The others are the mundane house chores, paying bills and balancing the check book…you know, life in general.  I call these my distractions because they are just that since they keep me from writing.
  3. Mental Disturbances: aka depression and anxiety.  There are so many layers to these so I don’t even know where to begin.  Depression is like having darkness filling your inner most being and thoughts ’till you don’t care or have any energy to muster up anything creative.  Anxiety for me fills my mind with negative thoughts that I am inferior and can NOT produce anything of value so I don’t even try.

Well, that’s writer’s block for me in a nutshell.

What about you?

 

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Sometimes Having Too Many Creative Ideas Hurt

Click on the image to access this group's official page

Click on the image to access this group’s official page

 

“You don’t write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald

For the past few years (longer perhaps), I’ve struggled with NOT the writer’s block (blank mind) but with having my brain so crammed with ideas and stories that need to be told, I have nearly stopped writing altogether.

How do I separate these ideas and stories out, and prioritized them?   I mean, they are all screaming as loud as they can…

Me!  Pick me!  No, pick me! 

*Slap!*

You idiot, I’m the one she need to pick and not you! 

And so on.

All day and all night.  Every. Single. Day.

No wonder some writers go completely bonkers.

I’m about there myself.

voices-in-my-head

What makes it all worse is feeling a growing sense of urgency that time is running out.

With so many various life experiences, I desire to use them to help others (through essays and poetry) as well as sharing certain messages that I feel people need to hear/read (through stories and films)…

I–I just don’t know even where to begin.

Which idea…which message should I start with?

What if that one is the last thing I ever do…will it be enough?

Oh, why do I torture myself so?

Writers have told me to just write about the first thing that comes to mind.

Get one word down.

And then another…and another…

But these voices in my head just won’t allow me to do that..one..thing..

Just one.

One!

That’s all I’m asking for!

exploding-head-too-many-ideas

Desperate, I began looking around online for answers.

It seems there is a name for what I have, and that I am not the only one.

Too Many Ideas Syndrome

(TMIS)

I’ve also found some suggestions that I will view as “treatment options.”   Namely from these two articles that I will highlight and visit often:

  1. Dealing With Too Many Ideas Syndrome?
  2. 9 Ways To Overcome Too Many Ideas Syndrome

Some of the treatment options mentioned were making a list of all your creative ideas (including a short summary of what they are about), then prioritize which one to work on (working on only one at a time); review the list either monthly or quarterly to see if any need to be added or deleted as well as if anything need to be re-prioritized.

I finally feel like I have a game-plan that I can live with; and hopefully, will help calm down the voices.

What about you?  Do you have TMIS?

If so, how do you deal with it?

 

Writing: Take the pressure off yourself, and relax!

woman-feet-up-relaxing-alone

 

 

 

Every year right about this time I fall into a writing slump.

Burned out?

Hmm, nah I don’t think that’s it.

Writer’s block?

No, not that either.

January is usually a good month to sit back and review what the previous year had brought, and plan for the upcoming one. The thing is I have so many ideas and plans, I find myself “frozen” in place.

Indecisive as to which project to tackle first.

Ever find yourself in that position?

With the month more than half over, and I’ve yet to start on anything

I’m growing more frustrated with myself.

In come the comfort food…well, at least making sure I’m well-stocked on coffee, and hello Netflix, and let the binge watching commence.

Am I procrastinating now?

Hmm, perhaps, but I like to think I’m taking a break while allowing the Muse to percolate (so to speak) on the many ideas I have.

When she’s ready, I’m sure I will know it.

Writing Through Your Fears

fear and resistance

 

 

 

 

Ever had a passion project in mind that kept nudging at you all hours of the day; but, when you sat down to actually begin working on it only to find that your mind had gone completely blank?

 

What did you do?

 

If you’re like many writers, you blamed it on “writer’s block.”

 

In Gabriela Pereira’s upcoming book, DIY MFA, she states that there is no such thing as “writer’s block;” rather it’s resistance.  The more meaningful the project is, the more one has to lose so the greater the resistance.  She went on to say that instead of looking at this resistance as an enemy, look at it as a compass.    Use it to guide as you work through this resistance.

 

So, instead of running from it…

 

Face it.

 

In doing so, you may surprise yourself at what you’d uncover.  Many writers have discovered valuable breakthroughs by working through their fears.

 

“One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn’t do.”
–Henry Ford

 

I have battled with the fear of inferiority.  That anything I do will not be good enough. So, instead of working through this and continue producing as a writer, I’d stop writing altogether.

 

Sounds familiar?

 

Over time, I have (somewhat) overcome this by writing and finishing short works of fiction, and poetry; however, I’ve yet to complete a long work of fiction (a novel; heck,  even a novella would be nice).   I’d get about a quarter of a way through, and then stop.

 

No one’s gonna want to read this.

 

It’s never going to be published so why bother?

 

On and on it goes.

 

I know where this resistance is coming from.  It’s stemming from various painful experiences in my past.  Instead of working through this, I’m allowing it to stop me from doing what I love.  And it’s making me miserable.

 

I’m going to take Gabriela’s advice and begin viewing this resistance as my compass, and allow it to guide me down the path I’m destined for.

 

Will you do the same?

 

“What is needed, rather than running away or controlling or suppressing or any other resistance, is understanding fear; that means, watch it, learn about it, come directly into contact with it. We are to learn about fear, not how to escape from it.” –Jiddu Krishnamurti

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How To Jump-Start Your Muse

day ten

Ever have days when no matter what you do, you just can’t get going?  The harder you try, the more frustrated you get, and still nothing.  There are dirty dishes in the sink, the laundry hamper is over-flowing, and to top it all off, you’re worrying about making your paycheck stretch ’till the next payday.   Recently you lost a loved one to a horrible disease, and one of your siblings is going through a nasty divorce.  Life can be so distracting at times, and all you want to do is write to take your mind off them even if it lasted for only a few minutes, you desperately need that reprieve.distraction

How can you do this when the muse refuses to cooperate?

1.  Take a deep breath.  Sit back in your chair, close your eyes and let yourself be immersed in the sounds around you.

2. Next, acknowledge all the things that are bothering/distracting you, and the reasons behind them.

3. Then write them down in a notebook, or type it on your electronic gadget.

From personal experience, many times these were all that was needed to jump-start my muse; but, not always.

What can you do then?

4. Put on some music.  For me, non-lyrical types work best especially ones from soundtracks for movies.    The “film scores” station on Pandora is  a great place to start (and it’s free!). Tunein (internet radio) is another great (also free) place to check out.

5. Move.  You’ve probably seen this particular one on many writing sites as a possible solution to “writer’s block” and I for one can definitely say that it does work (most of the time).  Go outside and take a walk.  Try some gardening, or mow the grass.  Wash those dishes, or start a load of laundry.  For many, taking a long shower or bath does wonders for them.  Busying your body with an activity other than writing tends to free the muse/mind to wander to wherever it desires to go; many a writer have had an epiphany this way.

 

If all else fail,  pick up a book and lose yourself in it.      Book reading

Writers Are Like Athletes

athletesWhat can we learn from athletes that would enable us to become better writers?  You’d be surprised.

1. Athletes train consistently to become better, faster, more proficient competitors.  For writers, we need to write daily, often in order to improve the craft, our skills.

2. Athletes test themselves by competing.  Writers submit to see their work published.

3. Athletes occasionally suffer from injuries.  Writers name your poison (aka writer’s block for instance).

4. Believe it or not, athletes need down time in order to allow their bodies to rejuvenate; writers need to do the same.  Take a break and pursue another creative outlet.  Have fun. Be spontaneous.

5. Athletes need coaches in order to achieve the next level.  Writers are no different.  They need mentors, other peers to help push them beyond their comfort zones.

Care to add your thoughts and input to this?