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Tag Archives: Writer’s Block

Fighting Fear, Procrastination, and Self-Doubt

“I’m not good enough…” “This sucks!” “I’ll never get published…Published, hell, you can’t write a decent first line–why are you even thinking about getting published?” Or my favorite…”Why am I even bothering…trying…???”

Most, if not every, creative person has suffered, at some point or other, maybe you’re suffereing from it now, from self-doubt, which is really just plain ole’ fear. But if you turn fear into motivation, if you turn it into something that works for you instead of letting it eat at you and turn into self-doubt, procrastination, then you can finish that book, or that piece of art, or that song or poem you’ve been working on. If you don’t do anything, if you wallow in the fear, letting that self-doubt eat at you, then the fear ends up turning into procrastination and you send up self-sabotaging, which just leads to more fear, more self-doubt, more procrastination..And it’s a vicious cycle, and that’s often what people refer to as “writer’s block.”

What are your fears? Really? The one’s that prevent you from following your dream…from accomplishing the things you really want to do…from finishing that book, or art project, or poem, or screenplay? When I was completing the Artist’s Way 12 week self-guided course by Julia Cameron, and then working on the exercises in her book The Right to Write, I made lists–lists of my fears. Then I went on to work on those fears, I had to figure out if the fears were real, if they were justified, exaggerated, and what was the underlying cause or reason behind the one’s that were real. I delved into the depths of my fears. And that wasn’t easy.

Once you’ve done that, though, one of the first things most people suggest, from what I’ve found, is to negate those fears with at least a few positive affirmations, traits, facts…You can write out positive affirmations on sticky notes and put them in various places so you’ll see them, or make a lists of them in a journal.

For example, if you fear rejection you can look at how many others were rejected before they were finally published. Stephen King and J.K. Rowling are great examples of this.

Another thing you can do is schedule your writing. Make your writing a priority, build a routine, give yourself a deadline (a realistic amount of time, or number of words or pages to complete each day). For example, writing 300 words a day in a year makes a novel…300 words each day for one year equals 109,500 words, or 109,800 words if it’s a leap year.

Expect problems, mishaps, things that may happen, because in real life shit does happen. Adjust accordingly, but don’t let the deadline slide. REMEMBER why you love your story. Why you love writing. And REMEMBER that self-doubt, procrastination, and FEAR feed on each other–Don’t be a victim of that fear.

One word at a time. One sentence at a time. One page at a time… and before you know it’s One Day and you’ve finished the first draft of your novel.

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Introduction to the Artist’s Way and What I’m Doing

Back in November, I started reading “the Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron. I committed to participating in the 12 week program she suggests. Then in December, I became distracted by the chaos of the upcoming holidays and stopped–but that was probably when I needed it most since I was blocked creatively, and I was feeling so out of it creatively, and inwardly–it was just such a bad time. I wasn’t creating art, words, or anything else on a regular basis because I was such a mess (anxiety, depression, ADHD, along with being overwhelmed and stressed out over the holidays).

Some of you might think that creativity is a luxury. It is not. Creativity is a necessity, at least to me it is.

Human beings are all in some way.  Life itself is a creative activity. Every choice we make, everything we do, every movement, (it’s starting to sound like that song… “Every move we make…every breath we take…)  is sensory process of the information we take in and understand is creative.

Often times when I get blocked creatively I know that it is because of things aren’t meshing in some way.  The words just  won’t flow out on the page.  The brush and paint just won’t flow out onto the page the right way.  For my husband, who is a musician, the notes just don’t sound right or  his fingers just won’t strum the strings on his guitar right.  No matter what medium of art/creativity is your thing, that kind of block  is enormously frustrating. And there have been times when it has driven me to quit. Or when it increases my anxiety and depression, …it has even caused some people to have anxiety and/or depression, or  driven some to drink, to be angry, to be confused.  And the farther I get into that anxious, confused, blocked, depressed, closed off and/or blocked state the deeper I dig myself into the writer’s block, or the artist’s block–it’s a vicious cycle, a hole that we just keep digging ourselves deeper and deeper into. I can’t tell you how many holes I’ve dug for myself, how many projects I’ve started and stopped–quit because of that very thing… Being creatively blocked.

the artists way

After my meltdown on January 2, I realized I had to do something. I needed to commit myself to being accountable for my own productivity, creativity, and success. But HOW??? I needed to find a way to stop the blockages, the confusion and anxiety over my creativity. I wanted get un-stuck and find a way to stay un-stuck, or at least a way that worked when I did get stuck.

According to some of the research I’ve done this book helps people with discipline, structure, organization, creativity, clarity, momentum, and so much. I am hoping that it will do all of that and more for me–hopefully, for you as well.

If you you don’t have the book then check it out… The Artist’s Way  and give it a shot. If you’re blocked, then it can’t hurt to try. A few of us are going to be going through it together. If I get enough people I might open a FB page for us to use, but I already have a playlist on my YT channel with my introduction video. I’d like to live my life creatively, have more clarity and purpose, be more productive and successful. 😀

I hope you’ll join me.

 

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Avoiding the “Suck Dragon” while writing

start writing no matter what

I’d thought a great deal about what works for me as a writer while I was planning out my writing room. I wanted a place where my creativity could soar, where I could focus on my writing without being distracted, and that was organized in such a way that everything I needed was right at my fingertips.

I’ve written in diner’s, coffee shops, work, the living room, the dining room, in a cubby in the corner of my bedroom, in a vehicle while traveling, in my very own room meant for writing/studying/etc (for the brief period of time I lived alone and my second bedroom was my study–then my daughter moved back in with me, then she moved out again, and then I moved in with my now husband and I once again had my own space but then my son moved in with us…)…And I’ve even written while in the bathroom, or in line at the grocery store on a notepad, or on napkins at a restaurant. It’s not that I can’t write in my own space. It’s that I feel much more focused and creative when I have my own space, and that space is organized.

When I first began planning what I’d do with the room after my son moved out I thought I’d paint the walls a pretty shade of purple and paint my bookcases white, maybe paint my desk a darker shade of purple, but my (step) daughter’s favorite color is also purple and I didn’t want both bedrooms painted purple, especially since our comforter and drapes are lavender and we plan on painting the walls of our bedroom a silvery grey with a touch of lavender in it–that would have meant all three bedrooms of our home would be a purple hue. Way too much purple for my husband who prefers dark blue, taupe, eggshell, or GOD FORBID white walls.

When I asked him about painting the walls, after we first moved in, he wasn’t that enthusiastic. He dislikes painting. I love painting. I love color. My first step was the next to the smallest room in the house–the main bathroom. I have a shower curtain with ducks on it. I bought it when I left the ex of ten years and got my own place. I wanted something fun. Something playful. I added a few rubber duckies, two pictures with ducks, painted the walls yellow, added yellow rugs, (our floor in the bathroom is red), and Wa La, a fun cheerful bathroom. I even painted the brown cabinets white. He was amazed by how much better it looked, and agreed that we could redo each room, but we’d go one room at a time. Things happened, and we weren’t able to afford to start another room. Then my son moved out 2 weeks ago when he left to go to boot-camp for the Army.

Now that my writing space is almost finished, I need to seal the top of my desk with a clear coat so that it won’t get scratched, paint the top of my husband’s desk dark grey, and move my desk in here and arrange the closet so that my son’s large FS TV will fit in there and be out of the way (and safe from my 18 mth old grandson’s curious little hands), I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to avoid some of the suck dragon’s that have been plaguing my writing.

Having your creativity sucked right out of you, writer’s block, lack of focus, ADD or ADHD aside—well, it leaves you feeling like crap. Like maybe you’re not really a writer, or at least not a good one. Or maybe you don’t really have what it takes. Or maybe you just need to do this, or get this, or maybe what you need is your own writing space… LOL! Excuses. Excuses. Excuses. That little voice in your head says, it’s not where you write that matters…It’s not what you write on…It’s not what you write with…But for some of us, we need that space of our own. I squelched that little voice in my head the moment I set my computer up on my husband’s desk (to use until I could get mine in here) and began writing. I felt the creative juices overflowing. Ideas where running rampant in my head.

I am one of those people who needs inspiration, motivation, focus, calm, organization, and freedom to write. Stuck in the corner of my bedroom in that little cubby my husband had so thoughtfully arranged was great for NaNo, but it wasn’t working long-term, nor was having my writing space in the dining room where there were so many distractions. Now the little voice in my head often says, “Stop hunching over your keyboard and sit back and relax a little. Oh, and take those cups to the sing too!” I’m working on a whole new novel. I put NaNo’s novel away for now. Maybe I’ll go back to it later. I’m on chapter 3 of my new novel and it’s headed in the direction I want, at least so far. I’m working on some of the minor characters, and working on my dialogue (I have to remind myself to show and not tell). It’s all a work in progress though. I don’t expect any of my novels to be best sellers, I’ll just be happy when it’s finished, completely, and in print and publishable. Maybe I’ll self publish and no one but my husband, my family, and friends will ever read it, or maybe I’ll find an agent and a publisher. That doesn’t really matter to me. I’ve found my way and I’m happy just writing.

 

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Day 6: A Better Day

first coffee

I looked over at my desk this morning and rolled my eyes. My shoulder was killing me. I slept on it wrong, plus the weather is getting chilly here and evidently I have arthritis in my neck…Not good. I’m only 46. But what the hell, I’m a writer so I have to write. It’s my job. I don’t get paid for it, but it is still my job since I take it seriously.

Did someone say coffee

So I get myself motivated by making a pot of coffee. YAY for coffee!!!

I'm out of bed and I made it to the keyboard

Now I’m semi-coherent and I’m at my desk. And then I go blank.  So I go on FB, and Pinterest, and check my email, and my reader in WP. While in Pinterest I see this:

Dean saying you should be writing

And the light comes on. I’ve made Dean my visual for my male main character (MMC). OH JOY!!! in Writer’s Land. And I think to myself, “Yes, I should be writing.” And the words come. And after two hours of sitting at the computer writing, and an hour before that checking things, and then an hour researching, I am in need of a nap. Once I’m awake I go back to the drawing board and write for a while. Then it’s time to cook dinner. After dinner I watch an hour or so of television and then go back to writing. Whew! It’s been a long day and I still haven’t made it to the 10K mark yet. But I persevere. That’s what writer’s do. That’s what I’ve been taught to do my whole life. Don’t quit. There’s no such thing as can’t. So I write. And I write. ONE. WORD. AT. A. TIME.

Day 6

AH!!! I made it. And with a little to spare! 😀 But I’m not ahead. At this rate I’ll make my goal just in the nick of time. I don’t like that. I’m a forewarned is forearmed kind of woman. So my goal for tomorrow is 2K. At the least. I can do it!

 
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Posted by on November 7, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Yesterday was a bust

My daughter needed a babysitter ASAP for my 13 mth old grandson so I spent yesterday with the little man and only got to write while he was napping. Just as I hit that part where the character was really speaking to me the little man woke up. Now usually my day is filled with research, checking FB and email, checking blogs, and reading for a couple of hours. I start my day with coffee and catching up, then I research for an hour, then I write for about 4-5 hours (more coffee), then I check email and FB again, and then it is time to straighten up around the house, do dishes, cook dinner, spend time with the husband, then bed. Yesterday (and today) my schedule went out the window because the little man requires all of my attention.

I can feel where I want this next chapter to go but won’t be able to write much today. My daughter won’t be picking him up until around 3:30 or 4 today, and by then it will be time for me to cook dinner and clean up the mess that the little hurricane I call my grandson has made. So I probably won’t get much writing done today either, which sucks because I was on a roll. Now I’m worried I won’t get the momentum back immediately, thus writer’s block even if it is only temporary. Maybe I’m just psyching myself out over it and it won’t be like that at all.

I’d research how others manage to write with children around but that would take time and I’d rather use the limited time I do have writing right now. Time for another cup of coffee so I can sink my mind into the next chapter.

 

 
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Posted by on September 12, 2013 in Writing

 

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