Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Hellooooo, Anybody Down Here?



That quote is a good one, no? The problem is the "working" part.


You see, I've been in some kind of writer's funk, rut, abyss. It happens sometimes.  My wheels spin on a project and I make no forward movement, either because I lack the confidence to pull it off, I'm stuck, or just plain burned-out.


Then I get on Twitter and Facebook, hear about everyone else's progress and feel awful about my writer self. I say things to myself like, "What is wrong with me? Today I'm going to force myself to write."


But I find other things to fill my writing time slot--jewelry orders, blog posts, freelance writing gigs, beta reading--and my manuscript is left untouched.


Except this time around, I did something different. I finally gave myself permission. To do everything but write. I knew it was just a stage, I'd been here before.


I wallowed, read other books in my genre, savored all those lovely sentences, and then something happened. I couldn't stand it anymore. I HAD to put something, anything on a blank page. It wasn't pretty, but it was a start.


Because, I'm a WRITER, damn it! It's in my blood.


(image)

22 comments:

Natalie Aguirre said...

You're not alone in that. I planned to start a new project but could not move forward. Finally I opened a blank page and typed "Chapter One". I did get some words on the page though progress is still slow. Hoping it'll move quicker as I get in the story.

It's okay to take a break once in awhile and then just force yourself to write a paragraph or a page at a time. You'll get back into it.

Jen Daiker said...

I do the same thing. Find other things sneaking into my writing time. Not allowing the stress that is in my fingers, heart, and brain to release itself because to many other things are in my way.

Then one day, like you, I allow myself to sit down and write a few sentences. Which then turn to paragraphs. And then to pages. Such a sense of relief when you write something, even if it isn't going into anything, it's words. That's what we're made of.

Jessica Bell said...

I'm feeling the exact same thing right now. The guilt is overwhelming!

Accidentalwriter said...

I really don't feel qualified to comment as I don't ever write large pieces of work. The whole notion of sitting down and writing for hours on end is very foreign to me. I have a thought/feeling....I get a sense that there may be a theme.....the words either come or they don't...and that's the end of it. I have so much admiration for the writers who do what I consider to be the 'hard yards' - short stories, novels, etc., etc. I understand that we're all wired differently and so our abilities and strengths lay in different areas. I wrote something a while ago and referred to the advertising of courses in relation to 'writing for pleasure'. I am clearly not a rocket scientist - I just struggle with the concept of writing for any other reason. For me, if the passion, motivation, environment, etc is not condusive to writing - then I don't write. Once again, we're all different and I'm sure many people are able to write their way through the 'literary wall' - I'm just not sure it's worth the anguish which so often accompanies it. Noone knows us better than ourselves - so I guess we eventually find a process (or non process) which works best for us. I just reckon when it's not enjoyable - it aint worth it. And tomorrow is always another day. Please excuse my rambling - I hope there may be something of value within this pile of words. Best wishes. Jeff.

Kelly Polark said...

Yeah, I was in a slump earlier in the year. And it took a lot just to sit down and try. But I did, I didn't love what I wrote. But it DID get better!
Good luck!

Joanne said...

Sometimes that's all it takes, those few forced words, to kickstart the muse and get yourself in the groove again.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Yay, I'm so glad you got out of your funk. I was afraid I was going to have to go over and kick your ass into gear (and then we could go out for cake afterwards). :D

Maddy said...

I get the same way when I'm in a photography slump. sometimes just getting out and shooting (anything really) is all I need to get out of it :)

Matthew MacNish said...

Let it bleed, sister.

No, seriously though? I've been in a funk too. Very discouraged for some reason I can't even explain, but then I called my mentor, he gave me a proverbial kick in the ass, and I started something new. It may or may not be any good, but it's something, and it's new, and that's a good thing.

Stefanie Wass said...

Kate Messner wrote a blog post on inspiration recently. Basically, she feels that you can't wait for it, for half the time it isn't there! Often, writing is just plain old hard work. And yes, the journey is full of doubts. But you just have to keep showing up at the page, day after day. I really believe that. So glad that you are back to writing! Your words matter.

Liz Parker said...

This is so good. I like the idea of giving yourself permission to not write. That eliminates the guilt.

Kim Van Sickler said...

Yep, know the drill. BTW, just starting to tweet. I got into a writing contest where the agents are supposed to bid to see your work and it's all supposed to go down on Twitter so had to break down and join in. I followed you while I was at it. Something else to distract me.

Laura Marcella said...

I hear you! Those kinds of days happen. Our inner writer likes to resist the working part! Once I get my butt in chair and pencil in hand or computer document open, it's a lot easier to get those words down. The actual make-myself-sit-down-to-write is the hardest part sometimes!

SA Larsenッ said...

So proud of you! Giving ourselves permission is so freeing. I recently went through this same thing. (Think I blogged about it, too.) Don't worry. Life will re-inspire you when the time is right. I was in a funk for 6 months, until a few weeks ago. And really, I'm just getting my gears moving again. But I couldn't get down on myself. Life was happening and my attention was needed elsewhere. When it wasn't and I still couldn't write, I read instead. ((hugs))

Caroline Starr Rose said...

This one's on my bulletin board!

DL Hammons said...

If I'm ever in need of a blood transfusion, can I have some of yours? :)

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Yeah, I've been there before, and I can't force it.

However, if I give myself permission to walk away and do other things, I often find myself running back to write all the things I couldn't write before.

Hope you climb out of your abyss soon!

Lourie said...

I love you that you gave yourself permission not to do something. Sometimes we need to do that. And pretty or not, it is a start. :)

Meredith said...

Sometimes you just need a break. I'm so glad you got out of your abyss!

Stacy S. Jensen said...

Glad you were able to begin again.

Sarah Pearson said...

This happened to me recently. I'm just coming back now, but it's never happened for this length of time before, I got a bit worried.

Peggy Eddleman said...

I SO know this feeling! And you're right-- that need to write always comes back.

I hope you have a fabulous vacation!