Saturday, August 15, 2009

Embracing my Writer's Block

I am going to get myself a piece of wood. It'll be a three dimensional piece of wood, and it will be cube-shaped. I will make sure the edges are sanded down so as not to give me splinters, and I will stain it and wax it and polish it, and it will sit there on my desk for me to see every day. In short, I will love this piece of wood. For this little piece of timber, this perfect cube, will be my writer's block.

It won't be something to be disdained and thrown away, but it will be something I will nurture. I will care for it, I will look after it, and I will always have it by my side.

I could put it away in a drawer, sure. That would mean pretending it isn't there, but the reality is - it is there. Even if I put it away, I will know it's still with me. But you know what? That doesn't matter. The fact that I could put it away if I want to is really what matters. The thing is, I keep on working because my writer's block is real, solid and tangible, and I have to live with it. But while somedays it's as big as a house, other days it's just a weeny wee writer's block, and it's quite manageable. So things aren't that bad, are they?

And if I can keep going with the nine-hundred words a day, four or five days a week that I've been managing recently, then my writer's block isn't so bad.

You know what? I might put a little light inside it. That way, when it's sitting on my desk, being all block-like, I will see the tiny little glow in its very centre - the one that never goes out - and I'll be reminded that the same tiny little glow is there inside me, too. Always.

And it never, ever goes out.

Maya Angelou said "You can't use up creativity. Creative thinking builds on itself and increases the creativity of the thinker... You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have." That's good enough for me.

Jane Richardson writes contemporary romance with the tag 'strength...intelligence...passion...stories worth telling.' She has two publications with The Wild Rose Press, the novel A Different Kind of Honesty and a short story Perfect Strangers. A version of this article originally appeared at her own blog, Home Thoughts From A Broad.

18 comments:

Cate Masters said...

Great post, Jane! I like to think of writer's block as the story's way of telling you there's something not quite right with it. I try to write around it, or work on another story until I figure out what that is.
Another great writer's quote (I forget who said it): You can't edit a blank page. So just keep writing!

Maya said...

This is really weird. I'm guest blogging on YouGottaRead Reviews next week and my chosen is subject is the Muse and what happens when she decides to take a vacation, leaving us with writer's block. I've never experienced writer's block, per se, although I have a lot of experience with procastinating, frustration with not having enough time, and getting hit with ideas when I'm not in a position to write it down immediately. I know writers who've had writer's block though, and my suggestion to them is, write whatever comes to mind, even if it's rubbish. I think the act of sitting at your desk to write will eventually get the creative juices flowing again. All the best.
Maya

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Jane,
Nice to see you back. Great post. You certainly don't have writer's block on your own, I think it is par for the course for writers at some time in their career.
Regards
Margaret.

Jennifer Ross said...

Beautiful! I'm going to imagine my own cube, and I'll make sure to see that light inside.

Penny Rader said...

I love this idea, especially the part about a little light inside. Very inspiring. Thanks for posting.

Jane Richardson, writer said...

Cate - you make a really good point! Writing around something does help, doesn't it? And if it still won't work, maybe it's destined never to work! You're so right about the blank page. :) Thanks!

Jane x

Jane Richardson, writer said...

Hi Maya - thanks for the encouragement! Just sitting and doing it helps a lot, as does re-building the discipline of just getting on with it. 'Rubbish' doesn't matter, does it? No-one's ever going to see the rubbish but you! cheers, and all the best to you,

Jane x

Jane Richardson, writer said...

Hi Margaret, good to see you too! Yes, it's a bit like 'everybody gets the blues.' You find a way through.
all the best,

Jane x

Jane Richardson, writer said...

Jennifer, I will think of you when I look at my own little light! good luck, and all the best,

Jane x

Jane Richardson, writer said...

Thanks, Penny. Picturing that little light is good. Creative visualisation always helps!
take care, all the best,

Jane x

Susan Macatee said...

900 words a day? And you say you're blocked? I'd say that's a great word output! I try to write 1000 a day on my current first draft, but I also split my time among various projects that are in edit, revision or plotting out stages and them there's all that time spent in promo. LOL.

You go, Jane, and bust that block! I think it's the act of writing and coming up with new ideas, that breaks us out.

Jane Richardson, writer said...

Lol Susan! I'm getting there. That's only four or five days a week, and that's only recently. Till about a month ago, I had nothing. Zilch, nix, nada. Think the block is busted now! I certainly feel a whole lot better. :)
Great to hear from you.

Jane x

Mona Risk said...

Jane, I agree with Cate. When I hit writer's block, it's simply that the story is not flowing well. I stop writing and read whatever I wrote and see if I can change something. Sometimes, I leave the ms itself and work on the outline to see if I can get it to flow again. Most of the time it works and I am back in the saddle.

Jane Richardson, writer said...

Right, Mona. :) I think too there's a difference between being stymied, and not being able to write at all, which is lousy. Either way, just working through it, no matter how bad what you're writing, seems to help. Walking away for a time is also good, yes.
Lovely to hear from you. :)

Jane x

Mary Ricksen said...

Sometimes it's our mental state that causes writers block. Go sit in a calm place in say your garden, and meditate, rest, relax, how ever you want to say it. Escape and refresh.

Things will come to you eventually.

Bess McBride said...

What a lovely post, Jane! Margaret's right! You've still got it!

Bess

Jane Richardson, writer said...

You're right there, Mary. :) Relax and recharge is excellent advice.
Nice to see you!

Jane x

Jane Richardson, writer said...

Hi Bess! yes, I do hope there's still something! Lovely to see you,

Jane x