Category Archives: Writers Block

Permission

On Ardnave Beach, Islay, which I am yearning for dreadfully at the moment.

On Ardnave Beach, Islay, which I am yearning for dreadfully at the moment.

You know what they say about what you should do if you fall into quicksand:

Don’t struggle.

I wrote the other day about my fear of writers block, and it definitely struck a chord.  It seems so many of us are struggling to keep going, as if we are still trying to run even though we have one foot nailed to the floor.  Trying, trying, trying.  We give ourselves such a hard time.  We beat ourselves up because we aren’t good enough.

My dear friend Michelle, who can always see what I need better than I can, said to me:  ‘I know you are frustrated because you aren’t getting better as fast as you want to, or expected to.  But maybe you aren’t better because you haven’t waited long enough.

In other words, give yourself a break!

The thing that keeps coming up for me when I think about this issue is:

COMPASSION

We need to have compassion for ourselves.  We need to give ourselves time.  One thing I know:  if you stop struggling, you stop sinking.  If you stop trying so hard, things come so much more easily.

Michelle gave me permission to stop trying to be well.  She sent me home to bed.  I slept better that afternoon than I had in months.  Just because I wasn’t trying to feel better.  I was simply letting my body have what it needed. No striving.  No struggling.

I think we get writers block because  we are so busy striving.  We don’t give ourselves compassion.  Or permission.

Permission to write crappy first drafts.

Or crappy sentences.

Or nothing at all.

Everything has to be perfect first time.  And it isn’t.  Because we are human.

Of course, what I said in my last post still stands.  Write anything, if its only a shopping list.  It will help.  But also, give yourself a break.  Be gentle and tender with your inner creative.  Release the stress, let go of the striving.  Remember you are doing this because you enjoy it.  And if you aren’t enjoying it, why are you doing it?

As if by magic, two blog posts I saw this morning chimed with what I have been thinking about this.

Jamie Ridler talks about bringing the tenderness and vulnerability of where you are to your creative work, and also about ways to help yourself fit creative activities in to your busy life.

Jennifer Louden, who is such a wise soul when it comes to compassion for oneself, talks to my soul and yours about letting go of perfection.

I hope that if you are struggling with a creative block of any kind, that you will be able to show yourself compassion.  Be kind.  You are doing the best you can.  And if you stop trying to write the greatest novel of the 21st century, and start writing a paragraph about your dog’s snoring, maybe it will come more easily.

Remember, baby steps.

Happy Creating,

EF

 

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I Think I Just Rescued Myself

Peter Mothersole's House

A Bit of a Wobble.

I had a wobble today.

The ‘Writers Block’ wobble.

You know the one:

I can’t I can’t I can’t I can’t I cant I can’t I can’t I can’t I can’t I cant I can’t I can’t I can’t I can’t I cant I can’t I can’t I can’t I can’t I cant I can’t I can’t I can’t I can’t I cant I can’t I can’t I can’t I can’t I cant I can’t I can’t I can’t I can’t I cantI can’t I can’t I can’t I can’t I cant I can’t I can’t I can’t I can’t I cantI can’t I can’t I can’t I can’t I cant I can’t I can’t I can’t I can’t I cant I can’t

and so on and so forth.

That moment when you think:

I have nothing to write about, nothing to say, no way of saying  it.  I am empty, dry.  I will never write another word again.

Oh, the horror, the horror…

But that’s not true.

The real truth is that I am avoiding writing what I know I should be writing. (oh yes, oops, prizes for all those who picked out the Bingo! word there – SHOULD.  Because we don’t do SHOULDS here at Evenlode’s Friend, do we?)

I have a great list of ideas of things to tell you about.  But right now, the juice is not flowing.  I don’t want to do them. I feel like the idea of my writing about writing or creativity is preposterous.  I mean, what the hell do I know?

It is a very short step from here to writers block, the neurosis that prevents otherwise creative people from writing for months, years, sometimes forever.  It is a scary thought.  I don’t want to go there.

Maybe I am just not ready yet.  Maybe I am still getting over my family care stint.  It was, after all, pretty emotionally demanding in so many ways.  And physically too.  Frankly, I don’t feel well, either.

So, instead of beating myself up about all the things I SHOULD be writing, I decided to write what I COULD write.  I always have a little story going on my head, something to pass the time, a little tale to entertain me, a bit of dialogue, a few jokes, anything from a silly children’s fable to a torrid love scene.  Something was definitely developing while I was ironing pillowcases after lunch, so I decided I would write it down and see what happened.

Pen to paper.

Two hours later, and here I am with a 2000 word fanfic done and able to write the blog post I never thought I would be able to get to you today.

The Moral of the Story:

Write something.

Write anything.

It doesn’t matter what it is, or if its good, or whether anybody will ever see it.  It doesn’t matter what it is about, whether it is part of your novel, or a section of your non-fiction book, a bit of memoir or just a few lines of description.

Just write something.

And once you get a few words lined up on the page, you will find you can get a few more lined up.  And then a few more.  And then, O Wonder of Wonders!  You will be writing again.

Crisis averted.

Please do not allow yourself to tip over the edge into CAN’T.  Take a deep breath, get out your pen and write a shopping list.  Or a list of the things you can hear right now.  Or what that smell reminds you of.

Because you CAN.

Happy Creating,

EF