BEHIND THE SCENES
Sorry, but I don't really buy "Writer's Block". I certainly haven't experienced it as it has been described to me by others. This isn't to say people don't struggle with developing their ideas, or get crippled by inertia. I like to think I'm empathetic and know my experiences don't define what others feel. I guess I'm lucky. But luck only goes so far. To me, luck is the accumulation of your choices.
My focus isn't solely on my writing. I'm a multi-disciplinary creator. I write, edit, draw, design and letter. I'm something of a plate spinner, and this is part of the reason I believe I don't get 'block'. Most advice on 'unblocking' I've heard from writers concerns 'walking away' or 'changing things up'. Something I do as part of my natural workflow.
I write sporadically, and out of need. All of my ideas and concepts live in my subconscious, and on some level I work things out while doing other parts of my work, so when I decide to sit down and write, most of the pieces are in place for me to bang it out.
The other main reason I believe I'm not afflicted is my background. I'm trained as a graphic designer. From my formative education I've been conditioned to generate ideas. Thinking creatively and problem solving are the things that a good design education gives you. When you are employed and expected to design on a daily basis there are no excuses. I can't turn up to a design meeting with a client and say I have 'design block'. It doesn't and shouldn't wash... which is why I take issue with 'writer's block'. Too many times I have met people that wear it as a badge of honour. As though they need it to define them as artistic and interesting. As though it makes them a writer.
Only one thing makes you a writer... Writing!
No excuses! Sit down and get it done!
Doesn't matter if it's shit, you need to get rid of all of that before the good stuff starts turning up. And you will always be able to go back and fix stuff. Fixing things is great, but something broken needs to exist in the first place.
Any Creative Outlet, when undertaken seriously,
Writers are whimsical creatures with different creative processes. This is mine in a nutshell:
I was the happiest human being on Earth, because writing is one of the very few things that I live and breathe with such intensity. I then joined a major advertising agency, where I learned the ropes of copywriting and selling stuff. Let’s just say my educational and professional background is quite mixed.
I spent years blaming inspiration – or lack thereof, for my expert procrastination level. Mind you, I am so easily distracted. I’m sure many of you can relate to that – the phone, emails, whatever crazy thing is going on the world today, that cute husky puppy trying to climb a ledge etc.
You sit at your desk and, as the day progresses and you stare at that blank screen and you then check your phone – some notifications on Facebook, someone liked your last Instagram post, and nothing happens with your writing. That was my daily routine for a long time, until I snapped because I realised I was talking about my novel but had nothing to show for – this gets embarrassing after a certain age...
The secret is to NOT wait for the muse to come.
Find a happy Place!
Once I clear out my work space and open my Word file, I turn on the music. Music works for me. I don’t do quiet. It’s depressing and empty. My noise-cancelling Senheiser’s are essential, as are my carefully crafted Spotify playlists – mostly instrumental, classical and movie soundtracks. I can’t focus if there are lyrics in the song. Funny enough, words distract me from writing my own words.
And then I just let go and read over the last scene in order to sink back into the story, and simply start writing. It was difficult in the beginning. But one month in and I had finished my first chapter. I’m still writing today. By summer I’ll have the first draft ready. Progress!
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