“Writer’s block is a condition, primarily associated with writing, in which an author loses the ability to produce new work or experiences a creative slowdown. The condition ranges in difficulty from coming up with original ideas to being unable to produce a work for years. Throughout history, writer’s block has been a documented problem.”
It’s really difficult to blog when you have a serious case of writer’s block. Now, in all my years (that made me sound a lot older than I actually am) I have never been in a situation where I have not been able to write, regardless of what was going on in my life.
I don’t know why I felt like this but, I knew the best way to move forward was to pick a pen and start writing regardless of the outcome.
My writing stems from different experiences. Having said that, lately it had been challenging drawing on memories and inspiration from my daily life. The motivation just hadn’t been there.
Now, I knew the problem – all I needed to do was find a solution.
Going back to the basics is a good place to start.
The thing about me is, I work well when given practical methods to achieving goals or completing tasks. I prefer to be given context or a guide so I can work off it and then make it my own.
This is where Natalie Goldberg comes in.
Natalie Goldberg is an American author and speaker, best known for a series of books which explore writing as Zen practice; meaning how to relax and ways to be at peace using writing to get you there.
Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within talks about the basic unit of writing practice and in her next book, Wild Mind: Living A Writer’s Life, she clarifies the “rules” that get you out of your head, allowing words to just flow on the page.
The idea is to allocate time in the day, it doesn’t matter when, to sit and just write…forgetting the about order, or wanting it to make sense.
- Keep your hand moving. No matter what. This allows us to push past the
editor voice in our head. Mine constantly shouts the loudest when I’m writing. But, Goldberg says “If you don’t know what to say, then keep writing “I don’t know what to say” until the next phrase or word
appears. Write the words buzzing in your head until you get back to the
- Lose control. No need to follow formalities or consider any kind of
etiquette, social or literary.
- Be specific. A sacred rule for any kind of writing—let all six senses help
you out but, be gentle with yourself and don’t worry if you
can’t always be specific.
- Don’t think. Always go with the first thing that comes to mind and let your pen flow with that. Even if it’s what you had for breakfast. Write about it. You might find it leads to something else, that leads to something else and so on. As long as the pen is moving, it’s all okay.
- Don’t worry about punctuation, spelling, or grammar.
- You are free to write the worst junk in the world. No one will judge what you write.
- Go for the jugular. Goldberg’s explanation: “If something scary comes up,
go for it. That’s where the energy is. Otherwise, you’ll spend all your time
writing around whatever makes you nervous. It will probably be abstract,
bland writing because you’re avoiding the truth. … Don’t avoid it. It has all
the energy. “
Anybody who knows me knows I am constantly in my head, constantly thinking, planning, worrying. My brain doesn’t shut off. It’s been a challenge to get back to the basics, to allow my mind to give itself up and let the pen to do the work.
Freewriting (I call them writing bursts) has been a effective way for me to do that. with my writing and mediation, it’s allowed me to rediscover the the love I have for writing but, it has also shed light on the reason why I was suffering from the block.
You see, I can be my own worst enemy when it comes to my creative writing ability. I always used to find reasons to why I wasn’t good enough. Like, this doesn’t sound intelligent, this isn’t long enough, would people even care? But doing this exercise, I didn’t have the time to judge what I was writing, all I was doing was going with the flow. And guess what? When I read my writing back, I could actually find bits and pieces that were really good. In fact, I have written a short stories from one of my writing bursts. (I’ll post one of them at a later date)
Going back to basics has been the best thing for me to do. I has allowed me to focus. I feel more confident about expressing myself through words and no longer apologise for my work.
I had to relearn that it’s okay to make mistakes in writing, because that’s where inspiration might come from… or not. Be that’s okay.
I wanted to blog about this to show you guys that writing isn’t always plain sailing and sometimes life can get in the way of it. Being able to talk and write about this period is all part of the process as I continue to work on being the best I can be.