Block, Writing

A River of Words

One thing I often wish for writers in my tweets and comments is that they will be blessed with a river of words. That’s how it feels to me when the mental dam breaks and sets the story free.

Unfortunately, I seem to be an expert dam builder, though I can’t say I know how I do that. I can never see a specific pattern leading up to these obstructions. Once I build that dam, I’m just as much in the dark on how to tear it down.

I want to write. I need to write. I cannot write.

That frustration only reinforces the dam, which leads to more frustration, which reinforces—well, you get the picture. I lay blame on this and that and the other. I distract myself. I pretend patience. I use force, trickling out a few words at a time. Eventually, I decide I have no talent and should give up.

For a while now, I’ve pretended—if I positively affirm that I’m a writer, that work on my WIP is going just swell, thank you, it will be so. Ahem. I only know that about ten days ago, I faced up to a dam of terrifying proportions. I felt like a total fraud. I was convinced I was a one-book writer. The voice in my head was screaming, “Shut up. Shut up! JUST. SHUT. UP.”

So I did. I shut up. I gave up. And that seemed entirely logical. Gloriously freeing. Long overdue. I decided to give away one more copy of Brevity, and then quietly slink away.

I planned another blog, where I could post my thoughts under a fictitious name. I would write about anything EXCEPT writing. It would be like a virtual witness relocation plan. Maybe a few people would find that blog and I could start a new online life. Eventually, if I were lucky, I would look back at my experience as a novelist with amusement.

Only, that’s not what happened.

What I thought were just my usual allergy problems turned out to be a virus, and this one settled in my chest, which for me, means a deep, wrenching cough. Naturally, this frequently interrupted my sleep. I spent a few nights in a sort of half-dream state, in which, every time I woke a bit more with a coughing spell, I “heard” people talking to me.

Sometime during the third night, I realized the talkers were the characters in the WIP I had so recently shelved. The next day, I realized they were still talking and I sat down at the keyboard. See that photo at the top of this post? Yeah, that’s what it feels like. I have so many words rushing at me now that I have to force them to stop, so I can take a break, eat a meal, go to sleep.

I’m in writer heaven. My river of words is a roaring, rushing, riotous joy I seriously doubted I would ever experience again.

For every writer reading this, I wish you a river of your own.

Photo credit:http://www.dreamstime.com/rushing-river-imagefree193893

Block, Fiction, Life, Novel, Real Life, Writing

Not writer’s block, it’s an abduction!

For the first time in eons, I’ve decided not to watch American Idol this season. I doubt they’ll miss me. I’m not in their target demographic, nor am I an educated listener. Quite often, I think someone gave a wonderful performance, and then the judges tear it to pieces. And I confess, I’ve only ever bought one winner’s CD, and that was Daughtry’s. So, yeah. No Idol this year.

I will be watching Mad Men when it returns because it’s great writing, but I really need to limit my distractions, and watching TV is low on my priority list anyway. I have far too many distractions at a time when I need NONE. During lunch with a writer friend last week, we talked about missing the fire we had when we wrote our last books, when the words came so fast we could barely keep up. I’ve had little success stoking that on my WIP.

Recently, I’ve read some blog posts about “excuses” for not writing. Needing long periods of quiet, uninterrupted time was mentioned as a bogus excuse. Well … maybe for those writers it is. I know many writers have small children and manage to write prolifically. I know many writers have day jobs and manage to write prolifically. I’m not one of those writers.

Last year, my schedule changed drastically. Gone, instantly, were the 40 hours per week of being alone, in silence, to write. I knew it might be harder to do, but I thought I could carry on. After all, I had this writing thing down pat. Maybe I could have if the stresses of those circumstances had not increased my fibromyalgia symptoms. It sent them raging, to be honest. Physical pain, I can work with, through, or around, but some of my symptoms are brain related, and that’s a bummer when you’re trying to write.

At times, my brain is foggy. I see the scene, I just can’t quite translate it to words. Like fish in water, the words are right there, but they slip out of my fingers when I try to grab them. Sometimes I can only see the shadows in a scene and when I look for the objects that cast them, they jumble and I can’t make sense of anything. It’s like The Muse is teasing me. Cruelly.

Then there’s the ADD-like symptoms. I open my file, type a few words, and then I find myself in the kitchen making tea. Or checking the pantry for dinner ingredients. Or googling for toothpaste without sodium laurel sulfate. Or playing a Facebook game. Or—believe it or not—cleaning out the junk drawer. Why did I stop writing? I have no clue. It just happens. Abducted by my alien brain.

When I realize what’s happened, I sit back down. I may write a paragraph or two at a time, so that’s progress of a sort, but the pace is horribly frustrating. It’s not as if I’m a literary writer who turns out a masterpiece every decade or two. So, the writing’s not going too well, but it’s not for lack of trying.

By the way, if any of you fibro suffers have a suggestion for fighting the fog and lack of concentration, I’d love to hear it.

Block, Books, Inspiration, Motivation, Read, Reading, Tips, Words, Writing

Are we creative enough?

The simple answer to that question is NO. We may never reach our full creative potential, but we should strive for it. We should never limit ourselves. Our souls should always reach for more.

So, since I’m not satisfied with my current creative expression, how do I progress? This speaks to an earlier statement I made about how reading and writing are two stages for me—filling and emptying. When I find myself struggling to express, it’s likely because I’m depleted.

Some call this depletion writer’s block. I recognize it as a need for a refill. I need to read. And I need to read great writing. That doesn’t necessarily mean I need to choose a classic from the high-lit shelf. I need to choose a book written by a great writer in the genre that inspires me, likely the genre I write.

Certainly, I need to read something I love. Something that thrills me. Something that wakes the drowsy muse within me. It’s likely I won’t read that whole book at once because, as I read, ideas will rush toward me like a swollen river. A river of words. My own words. I’ll put the book down and let those words flow through me to the pen or keyboard.

When I’m emptied out, I’ll pick up a book again. Creativity is a process. Ebb and flow. Never ending, as long as you open yourself to more.

Go, now, and create.


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Block, Fiction, Novel, Words, Writing

Pain, loss of words, and nudity

I spent the weekend sitting in my husband’s leather chair. It doesn’t fit me, my feet don’t reach the floor when I sit in it and the back is too high, but it’s the only chair I can sit in without pain. For the past two days, I’ve had a pinched nerve, disk, something, that causes me real … breathtaking … pain when I stand for more than three minutes.

Ordinarily, I wouldn’t complain because I would be writing anyway, but that’s not happening. The words won’t come. I know why. And I know this drought will not last. But for now, I can’t write. That’s not to say I’m not typing anything. I’ve typed a couple thousand words this weekend, but will any of them end up in my novel? Probably not. They’re just the product of the logical me, pretending she can write fiction.

The real me, the one who can write, is confused, in hiding, treating herself to wine, and orange chocolate sticks, and visions of a certain young actor in a BBC production. All of him. Every single, gorgeous inch of him. (I considered accompanying this post with a photo, but I’ll let you dream your own.)

Which brings me to the last part of this post title … why is America so prudish about nudity?

[Disclaimer: disclaimer: I am not advocating that family programming should include gratuitous or sexual nudity.]