Monday, 28 June 2010

Writer's/Creative block: this too will pass....

************************
Last Wednesday I realised I had to completely re-invent chapter 4 of my present novel. Thursday I turned on my computer and found myself completely uninspired. My imagination was a grey concrete wall that my mind could not think a way around. This was ridiculous I thought. I figured that I always have ideas and that it was just fear or procrastination. I had a stern talk with myself, made more coffee and sat back down. The concrete wall was all I could see and unlike real concrete it held no differences or anomalies that could be imagined into more. No, a heavy dead end faced me at the entrance to that other world.

So what did I do? I panicked - obviously. Got grumpy - of course. Drank coffee, ate chocolate and then heavily criticised myself for being so pathetic. I did try engaging in my other creative activities like art journaling, music and photography because usually this kick starts my writing. But I became even more panicked to discover it seemed I'd lost total creative focus and confidence. Eventually I calmed down and remembered that 'all things do pass'. Meanwhile I did the following:

1. Went outside amongst real people. Yes, we writers and artists can become a little hermit like. We can be lost in our pretend worlds for huge periods of time. Going out for coffee with a friend and people watching refreshed me no end and of course gave me some character ideas.
2. Enjoyed some time in my garden which fed my senses and helped revitalise me.
3. Did a few practical jobs that I usually put off in favour of creativite activities. The boredom of these made me start to want to write again.
4. Rested. I think my mind was exhausted after being pushed. It isn't possible to run a marathon every day without it affecting your health. In the same way, trying to push myself creatively/mentally had exhausted my mind. In trying to push myself into greater productivity I'd managed the opposite.
5. Told myself that my imagination and editing muscles needed a chance to rest and recharge. Therefore I decided not to write for two days. Shortly after I decided this, in the way of reverse psychology as used on children, I started to get an itch to write. At first it was not unbearable but by the time two days were up I was desperate to write!

By day three I went back to my novel and re-invented chapter 4. Smoke rose from my keyboard as my fingers tapped enthusiastically eager to record the ideas that had been trapped for a couple of days behind that concrete wall. A few hours later I'd written a chapter I loved and I buzzed with the thrill of creating.

There are varying tools for dealing with those stuck & blocked days. However, sometimes we need to just accept that these blocked days are needed to recharge our imaginations and minds.

Next time you are uninspired, blocked or stuck it is worth taking a deep breath, quelling the panic and realising 'this too will pass'.

************************

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

"Honest Scrap" award....


Thank you to the very lovely JJ who writes the wonderful Tea Stains blog and has awarded me this Honest Scrap award. Apparently, I'm required to tell you 10 things about me that I've not shared with you here before. Stuff that's a bit different and you won't necessarily know. I'll try my best. But if you want an example of how it should be done - visit JJs post where she shares her 10.
Here goes then.....
1. My primary school uniform was brown and yellow. Kids from other school made fun of its likeness to poo. But the gold/yellow and white summer dresses were pretty.
...
2. One of my first movie star crushes was on Hans solo (Harrison Ford) closely followed by Face (from the A-Team & same actor was even better in the original Battlestar Gallactica) and Tom Cruise (especially in Top Gun). Oh hell, this is turning out to be 10 most embarrassing confessions!!!
...
3. Following on from number 2 is that I still imagine myself as a jet plane pilot and a kick ass spy ninja Buffy type girl- and sometimes I can almost believe this fantasy is reality. But then the range of disability aides that litter our home force me back into reality. Yet I don't give up hope. And meanwhile I live through my fictional characters.
...
4. Following number 3 - when I'm having a slow day and am perhaps crossing the road or something, my friends have taken to calling out "Run, Forest, Run" - which I have to admit makes me laugh and perversely cheers me up. This idea was started by my darling husband who is full of charm, bless him. I made the mistake of telling my mates that he did this. They promptly laughed until they wet their pants and then adopted this idea too.
...
5. My sugar addiction used to be so bad that I've been known to spoon granulated sugar out of the jar in desperation for a hit. Over the years I've learnt to balance my sugar levels in a healthier way. But my chocolate addiction means a jar of Nutella is still always needed for emergencies.
...
6. I once got so drunk on Tia Maria and coke that even now, about fifteen years later I can't face the thought let alone the taste of it.
...
7. I sometimes (too often) stay in my PJs until lunch time or more. I've written, worked, made business phone calls etc. in my PJs because although they're so not sexy they're so very comfy.
...
8. I have extremely vivid dreams. After waking it can sometimes take me quite a long time to realise they were not real. I have a preference for action dreams (also see number 2). But also have quite scary or very sad dreams too. And more often than not they are very bizarre Alice in Wonderland style dreams. My husband says he never remembers his dreams so I kindly share mine in great detail. Which he loves - obviously ;-)
...
9. I am a bad swimmer. I was (am) afraid of deep water even though I can swim well enough not to drown (provided I'm not stranded at sea for more than a minute). Add to this my intense dislike of public swimming baths' changing rooms with their muddy tiles covered with stray hairs.....I don't go swimming often (but can be tempted by a county club or spa pool if I should be so lucky). Despite all this I love being near natural water sources, especially the sea - but that last bit is not new to you I'm sure.
...
10. In Tenerife I was in an ancient cable car climbing a dormant volcano I cannot remember the name of. Anyway, it suddenly jolted and I screamed - very loudly. Thing is I heard the scream but didn't realise I'd made it. Honestly. I've read similar lines in novels and thought - yeah right, like you wouldn't know it was you. But I didn't. Luckily (NOT) my friend's Dad had it all recorded on video camera. Great!
...
So there you have my 10 memes and hopefully its stuff I've never mentioned before, on here at least. So now if I should become a super famous novelist like JK - you can sell my embarrassing secrets to the press and make a bit of extra cash! Aren't I kind offering this highly unlikely scenario. But never say never.
...
Now I'd like to nominate the following 5 bloggers:
Michelle Mickmouse Karen Megan Shannon & last but not least Fiona .
...
If any of you should not wish to participate in the ten new things about you meme, then don't worry. I thought I'd give you an award shout out nevertheless because I love reading your blogs. If you do, I shall look forward to reading your 10.
****************************

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Doodling my way through the chaos of half-term...

It's half-term and with the extra inset day my children have been off school for nearly a week already. My days have been filled with chaos, noise and many children. I'm incredibly tired & finding it very hard to write or fully engage in any creative project. Does this sound familiar to any other parents out there?

I've recently found doodling in my art journal helps me relax and unlock my creative blocks. Which is especially useful for getting into the 'zone' when all around me is noisy chaos. It also helps me get past procrastination or stagnation. Sometimes, whilst creating a doodle, I've inadvertently worked through problems and new ideas for my novel writing. The two doodles shown here are from this week. The above doodle was done using Sharpie markers. Below is what I call a word doodle - sort of free writing mixed with doodling.

I'm not the only one doodling out there. If you google 'zentangle' or 'zendoodle' you will find a wealth of information, communities, courses and businesses based on this idea. I've always doodled as a sort of extension to my daydreaming habit. But now I try it as a way to free up my imagination, release tension in my creative muscles and as a sort of fun meditation. Next time you're stuck or overwhelmed why not give it a go?



********************************
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...