High winds blew all of the leaves off my backyard trees in one swoop night. They were blown bare, which leads me to my next observation. As they stand there, a statement is being made by them in their own way. “Winter is coming, and we’re ready to go the distance.” In the spring, of course, they come back to life and grow to their fullest once more.
As writers, sometimes life blows in and knocks us down in one swoop. Whether it’s family issues, living issues, medical issues, writer’s block, a review your not happy with, or your motivation just isn’t there. Know this: set backs are temporary. There will be a Spring of sorts coming your way, and you will flourish again. Don’t allow the winds of life to knock you down and keep you down. Spring back to life.
It is said that as an author/writer one must write every day. Well, yes, that is true. It takes self-discipline. How much it takes depends on the person because we’re all different. But if you are one who does not have much self-discipline, it can be learned. You just have to turn it into a habit. How do you do that? By writing every day. I am not going to kid you. Some days it won’t be easy to write because you won’t be in the mood. That’s ok. Do something, anything. Just write. You don’t have to write a lot. Just write. Once writing daily becomes a habit, you will look forward to the task more.
Now comes the question, what if I don’t do any actual writing? What if I am only working in my journal or planning out my story? Yes, those tasks are considered writing. There are times when I am in the middle of writing a scene, and I get stuck. I don’t know how to proceed with the story/scene. So I stop, close out my story, get my shoes on, and go for a walk. On this walk I am thinking about the scene. I let the breeze refresh me and my mind. I allow my characters to ‘walk around’ (so to speak) inside my mind and take a break from the page. When I do this, the answer comes. For you it might not be a walk that you need. It may be something else. My point is that these walks are considered my writing time as well because the story in a way is still being worked on. It also makes the process fun and less tedious.
So, stick with it. Do not give up. Make the process of writing/creating fun. Just stick to it.
On rose petals there I sat, afloat in nature’s scented grasp, The sweet sensation so assailing, a newness of life for me unveiling, tacitness at times is golden, essential nature on me beholden, inspiration stabs life’s tides, and serves to me eyes opened wide.
If you want a career in writing, you have to write everyday. But, as a writer and author myself, do I write everyday? Well, yes and no. When I am not writing, I am working on my story. Some of that non-writing time is spent thinking about my story, such as:
The plot– Where do I want the current scene to go? What complications can I throw into the mix to create a hardship for my characters?
Characters– How can I make them stand out better? What emotions should they be feeling in the current scene? Are there any other physical characteristics they need to be given?
How can I fix a plot hole I inadvertently created?
Setting– Maybe there is another setting I need to create, or maybe I need to work on a current one and make it stand out more.
Maybe I hit a brick wall, and I am having difficulties moving forward with the story. At this point I would need to examine my story structure. I say this because usually when this happens its because the right scene is in the wrong place in the story. Example: a scene I wrote in Act II should be in Act I. (Seriously, it happens).
While I am thinking of any of the above items, I am doing something else that helps to clear my head of irrelevant stuff and focus more on the story. For an article about clearing your head activities, see Never at a Loss for Words published June 10, 2022.
You don’t want writing to become boring, though. Keep it interesting. Take yourself on a field trip somewhere that can add flavor to your setting. Are you writing a murder mystery that takes place in a small coastal town not far from where you live? Go there, take notes. You know stuff like that.
I’ve written about writer’s block in previous posts, but I’m going to address it again in this one. I don’t really believe in writer’s block. There have been times when I didn’t know what to write about, but that just meant I needed to reach inside my “box” of creative tools and “pound out” something I’ve never touched on before. Seriously, do we ever get to a point where we’ve tried to write about everything to a point where there is nothing else to say/write about? No. There’s always something to write about. We just need to find it.
If your mind needs some time to regroup, do that. Let it take the time to relax. Do something else nonwriterly. Put a jigsaw puzzle together, go to the beach, go hiking, or anything else that will clear your mind. Who knows, during that time away from your writing, something will pop into your head and you’ll be off and writing.
Not everything you do when writing is going to work out the first time around. I think you know this already, but sometimes we can still get discouraged and still need reminding. There are times when something in your daily life can bring you down. It can affect your writing whether you might think so or not. For some people it won’t, but not everyone is the same. Let it add to your writing instead of distract you.
So how can you use that negative situation to strengthen your writing? Use it. Jot down how you’re feeling, then later, when you’re writing a scene that calls for those emotions, you can refer to your notes.
Take a deep breath, relax, and focus on your story. When your mind tries to veer back to the problem that’s bothering you. Refocus on your story and take another deep breath.
Surround yourself with someone who will uplift you. Talk to them about how your feeling. You’d be surprised the good this can do. Then your getting it out of your system.
At times we get discouraged about our writing. Don’t get yourself down about that. Look at your previous writings that brought in a lot of praise. What did others like about it? Focus on that.
There are days I hesitate to sit down to write because I feel apprehensive as to whether or not I will have the words to continue the chapter I am working on. It’s as though I’m standing in front of a fruit tree staring up at the perfect piece of fruit. If only I could access it. But, how to do that? Ah-ha! a ladder you say? What if there is no ladder? Then what?
So, I sit down to write anyway. The screen is staring back at me. Ideas are filling my brain, but which option do I choose? Should I have my character do this? Or that? Maybe another option would be better. The perfect scene is there. I just can’t access it because the way to go about reaching it isn’t available. So I start to wonder if I will ever think of what to do.
Then I wonder if I’m thinking to much about it. Maybe the idea will present itself if I stop trying so hard. So I start writing something…anything…and see what happens. Tip, tip, tip…my fingers fly over the key board. All at once, the ideas flow. A wind picks up and the fruit starts falling from the tree on its own. And that perfect piece of fruit that I wasn’t able to reach before? Well, it just landed in my hands. The direction of where I wanted my chapter to go just presented itself on its own. Yes!!!
Seriously though, I have days like that. There are also some days my mind doesn’t want to write anything. That’s ok. It’s your minds way of prompting you to do something else so it can come up with creative story ideas while you rest it. Remember the movie, Field of Dreams? Kevin Costner’s character was told to build the field and they would come. So, give your mind a rest and the imagination will stir.
If you are an author, whether you are experienced or not, sometimes talking to someone you trust (implicitly) about your story ideas can help you tremendously. I know that’s very simple advice, and maybe you already knew that. But it’s a good reminder. I never would have come up with the story I did for my first book had I not confided in my creative writing professor. Sometimes we need that nudge. So, if you are on the fence about a piece of writing you are working on, hash it out with a trusted friend.
Your pen (or keyboard) is your sword, and the words are the blood that’s shed as a result of wielding your words onto the page. Words have impact. It doesn’t matter what that impact is. Whether they create horror, harshness, love, peace, or fear; they have impact. You are the person in charge of creating that impact. So what kind of thrust to you want to use to create that impact?
You can make something everyday appear abnormal, or you could choose something abnormal or bazaar to appear normal or everyday. It’s all in the words you choose. How you wield your words is up to you. It’s your story, your voice, your personality. Write the words you want to write the way YOU want to write them.