I’ve had a very slow writing week. That tends to happen after big surges. That tends to happen after I hit chapter 7, to be completely honest with myself. There’s always a point in my writing where the new idea stops being new, the excitement wears off, and now I’m left to grind through the actual work of it. The Critic gets louder, the Creative Self gets quieter, and I get very very sad. It’s not a fun time for anybody involved.
If you have a moody artist in your life, they’ve probably hit some kind of creative wall, or…just the actual work involved in creating, and their Critic is really loud. They need a spark for their creative fuel and to make the process fun again. (Please don’t force this, but a fun outing or treat is always appreciated for funks).
I have to find the fun in my process again.
There are a few wonderful things happening behind the scenes of my life that are helping with this. Number one, all of my books are now unpacked and out in the open. Huge thank you to the wonderful people in my life who made these shelves happen! It’s honestly a bright spark.
I can now take a step into my living room whenever I need inspiration. I can breathe in the words and pages of others, get a line of inspiration, then dip back into my own writing. Closer to my writing desk, I have my favorites all lined up and waiting for me to study.
Additionally, I’m reading the craft book I bought myself for reaching 20k and it is a JOY. (Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg). I’m not done with it quite yet, but I would go so far to say that anybody who is thinking of writing should pick it up for themselves. You’ll have to be okay with many references to Zen meditation and also handle the more “woo woo” philosophies of writing from within. For me, I’m all about that life. Do I perform that outwardly? Yeah, not so much. But, I’m all about people talking about that life and nodding along with a serious expression and the intense “yeah, I totally get that. The universe flowing through my pen.” Because, that’s the ideal isn’t it?
In all seriousness, good writing comes from pulling on your own emotions and experiences. This is something I deeply wish I was brave enough to do more of. It’s something I try to practice every time I sit down to write. I’m hoping more free writing will get better writing.
I’ve started doing a little 5 to 10 minute sprint in a notebook before I sit down to write my fiction to get me warmed up. It’s like doing a warm up before a sport or exercise. I can’t perform my best, stretch my farthest, unless I’m truly into my own headspace. My first attempts have been clunky but invigorating.
I’m very excited to see what’s to come of my writing in the fall. For me fall has always been a time of reaping the benefits of all the work I’ve put in, but also of learning big things. It’s NaNoWriMo season. For many years it was the beginning of the school year, so I treat it like the beginning of my learning season. New seasons always feel like fresh starts.
What are you planning to learn this year? Have you tried writing warm ups?