E.B. White stated that “Writing is an act of faith, not a trick of grammar.”
It happens to all of us at one time or another. Some call it writer’s block. Some say their creative well went dry. Some just are simply burnt out and some still, just feel like faith in the creative process took a swerve to the far left of where they would like it to be for a host of reasons from rejection letters, family issues, day job struggles and more. Life can take a hefty toll on the creative mind with writing being a very mental endeavor. How can you even think of writing about imaginary characters when the real life ones are giving you and your mental bandwidth a run for your money?
First, breathe. No seriously. Inhale. Exhale. Because the last thing I need is you passing out here. I’ve been there. And there and back again let me tell you. I’ve been writing for over ten years. I started my serious romance back in the 8th grade between stealing moments of reading Harlequin novels and notebooks filled with story ideas. Skimming to the more intimate or dramatic scenes was…research. I mean I had to know if Felipe and Janet would make it? I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough, half for fear of someone invading my space and the other for the excitement of wanting to read and discover (because this lesson never gets old) love conquers all.
However what someone failed to tell my child writer-self was that when you get older things like life – the grown up life of burnt toast and running out the door when coffee splashes on your new blouse and fifty things already on your to-do-list and counting – happen and writing well, can lose its excitement real quickly.
So how do you regain that child-like wonder, that excitement of watching characters come to life as you turn pages and not only by reading about them but crafting these hip folks in your stories?
Three ways to regain your excitement and faith in your creativity journey:
- IT’S HIGHLY IMPORTANT TO BE KIND TO YOURSELF during this period of time, which let’s face it is going to last as long as it needs to. I learned this lesson as I worked alongside one of my fantastic writer friends. She stated on repeat (I think I got it now) that you have to look at what you actually do and not just what you have listed on your overgrown to-do list. Mind you, this is not an attempt to negate your goals, but it is a way to stir you from mental overload and burnout by focusing on the present and what your actionable steps actually were.
- STOP AND CELEBRATE YOUR VICTORIES, no matter how small. What good is having a goal, if you don’t first know how to celebrate the victories that go alongside them? If we have to learn to crawl before we walk, why then are we so anxious to skip over the 500 words on the way to 1500? Or the three-five page synopses, which to me feel like death to a story but to someone else may feel like the yellow brick road and smooth sailing to “The End.” Every writer, artist, creative is unique. Each with their own voices, quirks, and specialties. Shouldn’t then each celebratory step to your goal be an expression of gratitude within that uniqueness and cherished?
- TRUST THAT BETTER DAYS ARE COMING. HAVE FAITH. THE MOMENTUM WILL COME. An object at rest stays at rest. In object in motion stays in motion. I liken this law of motion to the necessary decision of releasing what was to what is while allowing yourself to have faith in the process. Your process. Sometimes, thinking back to the very first story you ever wrote and how it came to be can be a great starting point to get you back on your creative journey. Sometimes releasing what use to work for you and embracing a new path can jar you back into action. Whichever road(s) you decide upon, the beauty is found in the various ways you arrive there and the freedom of allowing yourself to discover or re-discover that path.
Until the next confession…