Monday, September 6, 2010

Sometimes you just can't write

This was not the post I was going to write. It wasn't the one planned, and sitting unwritten in my head.

But, sometimes, you just can't write. It's not that you don't want to or even that you don't have time. It's that other things, more pressing things, need to rise to the surface and be released before you can return to the page.

This has been the case for me for the last week and a half. It's been utter nonsense, truly, but enough to raise all of my little emotional sensors that says enough is enough. You are enough. You don't have to add one more thing to the mix.

But, just because I know I can't write anything *great* right now, doesn't mean I shouldn't be working -- working on things with less emotional weight, working on stringing words together in any shape.

Like lists. Oh, mercy, I love a good list. Just last night, in a fit of "I have to write something!" I wrote a wonderful Autumn to-do list. I sat under a comfy blanket next to a breezy window and used a brown marker from my little girls' stash and started. The list started off small but soon a wild amount of potential -- and creativity -- bled through that list, all of which left me feeling so excited.

Character Sheets. I also started character sheets for my finished manuscript to use while editing. As I go through the book, I see so many inconsistencies on the minor details of my characters .... these sheets will help me nail it all down so that I can truly get through that thing ASAP.

Poetry. Formerly written poetry. Knowing I had to do something, I started gathering ALL of my many journals and notebooks and scouring them for bits of gold and transferring that gold into a new, more final notebook to keep track of the good stuff. By doing this, I actually improved a few pieces drastically and realized I know a bit more about poetry than I like to admit to. Poetry is theraputic to write during a writing stop (this is not a creative block, by the way. But that's another post).

Do something with your hands. I like to do mixed media collages when I'm frustrated. It works in harmony with my desire to use words but also create without rules. Since I am not a fine artist, I never feel like my paintings/collage need to be very good. Now and then, they aren't terrible.

Play. Play. Play. Enough said on that.

Finally, Read. Reading can take the place of writing solely by being the reading detective. Now, I admit, I wasn't a reading detective until I actually finished my first book. Now, I totally get it and it's rather freaking addictive. And, the result is that I often now cannot go to sleep from reading because I'm so hooked on uncovering it's little nuggets of writing. Still, it's a true must for any writer. Read everything you can get your hands on, in preparation.

How about you? When you CAN'T write, what is it that you CAN do instead? When life is truly too busy, too chaotic, too problem-filled, how do you get your writing on? How do you stay in the game of creativity?


  1. I really REALLY like this post... thank you for posting...

  2. It can be so frustrating to have the time but not the mental energy to write. I definitely read at these times. Scour the books I've already read for the inspiration to write great things and books that I couldn't get through to learn from other writer's mistakes. You said it though, "staying in the game" is the important part. :-)