Order of the Good Write

That Magic Feeling When the Words Flow. A Blog by Debi Rotmil


2 Comments

Stopped Writing? Here are 5 Steps to Break the Block

sad sleepy girl

Writing can be pretty lonely. It’s also a proactive act, filled with discipline and self motivation that forces you to provoke emotion with stories and concepts that haven’t existed before. To have to grapple with ideas and how to express them, to distill concepts in thought provoking ways so readers find your material remarkable, hell – it’s a heady task.

Sometimes we hit a day or a week or a month (!) where we don’t want to go inside our heads and pull out ideas and find the words to describe them. We grind to a halt. We self sabotage ourselves. We want to taste that sweet sweet awesomeness we feel when we are in the zone.

Here are a few tips to get you going when you don’t feel like writing.

1) Give yourself a good talking to.

Seriously. Go into a room by yourself and start talking to yourself. Let your words ring beyond the walls of your head. Talk to yourself as if someone is in the room. If you believe in spirit guides or a guardian angel is by your side, then talk to them like you’re Claire from “Six Feet Under” confiding in her dead father or brother.

I know it sounds creepy. I know it might sound nuts, but it’s only nuts if you’re walking down the street talking to no one and people start crossing the street to avoid you.

Talk to yourself in a quite, empty room. Get out your frustrations with why you are not writing. Think about what may be blocking you. Are your scared? Are you tired? Are you stuck on a chapter and your fear you’ll never get through it. Work on this as if it’s a natural mind flush – not something weird. You’re getting words out of your head and into your ears.

You may even want to record your voice to capture a useful writing idea floating through.

2) Get Comfortable Being Alone.

I’m a member of a closed Facebook page with other entrepreneurs. There was a lovely member who posted a message on being nervous about deciding to travel alone to Washingon D.C. and needed emotional support to go through with this. We all cheered her on because most of us have mastered solitary travel. We encouraged her to not think about being alone on this trip and to fill her days doing fun things SHE wants to do. Museums, restaurants, memorials, activities. And she did! She came back feeling refreshed and empowered by the experience.

Go to the park alone. Go to a movie alone. Hell – go to dinner at a nice restaurant alone. You’re not a loser doing this. Bring a book. Read your Kindle, but eventually put them down and view people around you. Watch how patrons interact at the other tables. Talk to the waiter or waitress and ask them about their job, or the patrons they deal with everyday. Taste the food. Drink the wine. Make fun of yourself and lighten up about being at the table alone. Go to a museum alone. Go to the theater alone. Watch other people taking their seats. Observe the ushers and wonder what their lives are about.

Be comfortable with yourself so you can experience life magnified. Scoop up ideas and gain the mental clarity get back to get back to writing.

3) Get Out And Have Fun with Your Family and Friends!

The first two items are pretty solitary so, let’s get this straight: Don’t be a recluse! Yes, get comfy with your ‘aloneness’ from time to time, but get out and socialize. Get down and dirty with experiences with people. Be one with your friends family. Start up a wine tasting get-together in your home, or a book reading club, a foodie club, a motorbike appreciation society, tattooed ladies who crochet – anything to interact with others who share a hobby that may contribute new ideas.

Or just go to a movie with friends. You don’t have to be a social community organizer pulling together cute hobby clubs to interact. Just do it. I know you know how to be with people – now get ‘er done.

4) Get Off Social Media for a Day

Challenge yourself. Make your day filled with museums, art, movies, binge watching fantastically written television shows, podcasts, Ted Talks or cook recipes you’ve been meaning to try. Get really involved at work on a project or activity with co-workers. Live life outside the Twitter feed or Facebook status update. Imagine all the cool stuff that’s going to accumulate on Tumblr or Instagram at 11pm that night for your to read because you were out all day interacting with people, or reading or writing or working on a project at work that will help develop a skill. See how long you can get off your iPhone and internet and keep going one hour more…then another. Hell, just get caught up in interacting with life.

Some of us remember when the internet didn’t exist, and remember how our brains reacted to everyday analog things. I know my imagination has taken a hit since the internet happened. I used to go the library, take out books and spend an entire weekend afternoon reading. Now, I can’t do it without my mind wandering and wanting to check my email. Technology has re-wired our brains away from the creative process. Our imaginations are being filled with digital creations. We aren’t creating for ourselves.

So, let’s try it for a day. No social media. Let your own brain imagine things for you – not a Periscope feed.

5) Remember…This Will Pass

Sometimes there’s a reason why our brains stop producing ideas and our hands cease to write a single word. We’re over worked or burned out. If your self discipline goes south, and you can’t find the mind space to write – don’t beat yourself up.

But know this: You have to make a pact with writing. You have to promise that writing table that you will return and continue. You don’t get off easy here. I know I don’t. Writing is a constant battle with a little snarky asshole called “Resistance”. Read Steven Pressfield’s “War on Art” and you will get the bare bones breakdown of this nasty little piece of business.

Resistance will make excuses. Resistance will feel like you’re tired. Resistance will tell you you’re lazy. Resistance will say you’re not a writer.

Oh yes you are.

If you miss a day or two of writing, you will likely feel sluggish or crappy. You know why? Because you’re a writer who is meant to be writing.

Rest if you must. Take what I’ve offered as a way to replenish and carve out new neuropaths in your brain. Fill up your shoe with ideas.

Then, get back to the page and keep moving on.

 If you’ve enjoyed this post, please feel free to share it with your fellow writers.

 

 

 

Advertisements


1 Comment

A Book Starts with One Page

Screenshot 2015-02-16 10.48.22

Shameless plug, but it serves a greater purpose.

My book, “Hitting Water” began over a year ago as a dare to myself. I would write 500 to 1000 words a day of short story or chapters toward a novel. There was no excuse. I had just come out of a major medical ordeal, and it was time to realize the burning need to create was dieing inside me. As Dr. Wayne Dyer has often said, “Don’t die with the music still inside you.” I took a vow to not let this happen. I even wrote it out on a Post It and tacked it to my kitchen cabinet. I read it every time I eat breakfast.

In late 2013, I dared myself. Double, triple dared. I was going to pick up morning pages once again and write stream of conscious nonsense until I covered three pages, both sides with words. Even if they were nothing. And then, I was going to write 1000 words a day of story and characters swimming in my mind for years. 1000 words of productive work – not just rehab “The Artist’s Way” work alone. Cameron’s work is a therapy you use on the side to help your real work get done. Everyday. Write something you will want to publish. Write everyday until something gels into a tangible project you can focus and hang up as a goal.

The 1000 words a day goal not only created (and is still creating) a flood gate of ideas and outlines for various novels I plan to write – but it created my first stake in the publishing world – “Hitting Water”. Creating this little book eventually changed my world. Just putting it out there for the world to see is proof that anyone can do this. I hope just it’s existence and the personal challenge I placed upon myself to make this (and other future work) happen, inspires others to do the same.

There were days I could only do 300 words. You know what? It was perfect. The next day, those 300 words turned into 3000 words of good, useful work that provided a profound amazing feeling of accomplishment and purity. Call it euphoric. Writing those words everyday – whether good stuff came out or not – was the most authentic I’ve ever felt in my life. It’s a delicious feeling – and I despise using the word “delicious” to describe anything other than food.

To my fellow writers who are placing your dreams on the shelf. Don’t push your writing aside. Ignore the voice inside that says you can’t do it. You can do it.

Don’t think about fame and glory. That’s not the purpose.

Think about what is before you.

Think about the now of your story.

Don’t think about “The Book”…page one. Think about the ideas you want to impart, the characters you want to create. Write it down even if it’s not great, even if your head says “This sucks”. Because it doesn’t. It may not be perfect now – but it will be with love and care like a seedling in a garden. Write it. Show up. Everyday. Water it with thoughts and ideas. Give it some new food for thought, new characters and twists to gain conflict and juicy, page turning possibilities.

Spring will be around the corner and glorious summer will provide the fruit.

What is “the fruit”?

“The fruit” isn’t a big publishing deal – although one should expect their work to be worthy of such. “The Fruit” is a complete work you feel is ready, with edits, rewrites, proofing, etc… HOWEVER…

Don’t embark on the novel of your life with the heavy thought of how daunting it will be. It’s not a mountain, it’s a well thought out story that will unfold when you show up.

And publishing it? Don’t care about right now. Think of your audience and know who they are. Who are you telling this story to? While you’re molding this incredible journey of life,  tell the publishing world to fuck off.  Don’t let the concept of “Who will publish this?” cloud your view. Keep thinking about the people who will read this. Who are you telling this story to?

A book starts with one page.