Sunday, November 5, 2006
Block and Write
How ironic my 101th post should be about writer's block.
I usually tell people there's no such thing as writer's block. It's all self-imposed. Truckers don't have truckers' block. They just keep on truckin'. Writers have to keep on writing.
Since last Spring there's been a lot of things in my life on the homefront, family and work. I feel I've had to shoulder a lot of emotional and sometimes, physical burdens. I have had to be strong for a lot of people. Some of it has gotten better and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Others are still open and all we can do is hope for the best, knowing it will all come together in time. Nothing in life is permanent. Bad times end like good times end.
I feel that my creativity has been a victim of this unexpected stress. It's been sucked out. I've lost passion for writing and tapping into my creative Spirit. It sounds very Oprah-esque, but I really do believe in my creative Spirit.
When I write poetry, I close my eyes and type. I listen to my thoughts, not editing or correcting, just listening and writing. Oftentimes I open my eyes and am amazed by what I've written. I've found old poems and do not remember writing them, though it's definitely me. (Ok, now my faithful readers are saying "chick's gone psycho from the stress." Maybe.). I would write a few poems a week - sitting in a weekly meeting, waiting for a file to unzip or process. Whenever and wherever it struck me to write, I wrote.
Last April, I got organized about my writing and tapped into my project management skills. Organizing my poems was an overwhelming task. I have them on disks, on work laptop, home PC, work notebook, pieces of paper in the kitchen and wherever I was when the creative spirit moved me. My other problem was I would come across Calls for Submissions and would miss the deadlines.
I estimated I had 16 hours of poetry compilation into one master document. I don't have 16 hours to spare in my life. However, I do have 1-2 hours over 8 days so I could handle that. I created a Word document table to track submissions, highlighting upcoming dates, contact info and recording what work I sent (filename, date, etc.) I was quite on top of this and saw immediate successes to being organized. I started categorizing and indexing my 200 poems.
Now, it's Fall and the stress of this summer has zapped me. I was bringing working on spreadsheets rather than my creative efforts. I've had to write "Missed Deadline" on my tracking form.
I need to get back into my creative efforts, but lately my work has been book reviews, articles and blogs. I don't know if anyone has noticed by I'm posting other people's poems and not my own anymore. I preferred to redesign my blogsite rather than write when I had a quiet evening to myself. I picked up an anthology of poetry off my bookshelf and was so disinterested. I'm actually reading Hilary Clinton's book right now. (I've had my head in Rohinton Mistry, anthologies by Indian, British writers and multiracial writers for the last few months. I need to clear my palette).
I'm not sure what I need to do to kick start and wake up my creative Spirit. I've trying doing a Yahoo Search on "Writer's Block" and found some "ok" websites that tell you basic things. I searched "find passion" and ended up with personal classified listings (oops! wrong search words!).
I used to write about this stuff and give advice to others. I have a few books for writers. My favorites are Gail Sher, "One Continuous Mistake: Four Noble Truths for Writers" and Anne Lamott's "Bird by Bird".
However, I don't know if that's enough. I need to find that spark, a fire, ma raison d'etre for writing. I think I need to do something different in my life - take a trip, take a risk or step away from the uncomfortable rut.