I had a rough January. My grandmother passed away after a long battle with dementia, my mother was in the hospital for the first 25 days (she’s doing much better now), and my daughter had her baby 8 weeks early due to pre-eclampsia (mama and baby are also doing very well). My brain, my energy, my heart–it was elsewhere.
And I had self-imposed deadlines to meet. Those may seem unimportant, but they’re just as important (to me) as “real” deadlines. I suspect many of you understand. Unfortunately, my writing output began to slow to a trickle. I was in that dreaded middle of a story, before you top the hill, when it seems like there are a million bad words behind you and a million new words to go. I had the writing blahs.
I asked the wonderful ladies here at HSG for advice and they, to a one, suggested reading a good book. I haven’t taken their advice yet, though I tried, because I just can’t seem to turn my brain off. When I do read, I have writer-brain. “Oh, nice hook,” or “I see what you did there.” I’m going to persevere, even as I try to reach my writing goals daily.
I did some research (because I certainly wasn’t writing) and came up with some great quotes and articles I thought I’d share with you.
From Lydia Sharp on Writer Unboxed:
There are times I must immerse myself in research, or pull out an old story and do line edits, in order to refresh. This is the result of a right brain/left brain imbalance. The scales are tipped, and equilibrium can only be achieved by adding to our noncreative side. Fact begets fiction.
From Carly Sandifer on One Wild Word:
If you’re tapping out your sentences on your computer, pick up a pen or pencil and write by hand in a notebook. For that matter, some people enjoy typing on an actual typewriter.
I’ve done this plenty of times in the past, but deemed it too slow for my higher output. I’d cut out the middle man (I thought), but maybe sometimes you need the middle man to negotiate a treaty between you and your brain.
This great post (which is more about writing blogs) from Henneke Duistermaat at Smart Blogger:
Feeling a little frustrated?
Well, let it out.
Before you start writing, curse like a sailor. Get angry. Be emotional.
Write something you’re passionate about. Have a good rant. Don’t worry about going too far.
There’s worse advice out there. After all, if you’re writing flat, your reader will be able to tell. Maybe move on to a particularly moving scene?
What’s you best writing advice for defeating the writing blahs and getting past a block?