Friday, January 31, 2020

When you just can't write: Addressing Writers Block

Writer's block, that horribly annoying feeling when a blank page is daunting. I've been in a bit of a writing slump. Ideas have been alluding to me as of late.

The thing is that creativity and book ideas have always been this crazy spur of the moment ideas that I either trashed or was able to run with. It makes sense given that I deal with ADHD that inspiration to write would come this way. But, my reliance upon such ideas has now led me to a bit of a dry spell as far as my fictional works are concerned.

I also think that a lot of the creative block I've been experiencing has to do with the deterioration of my health. Sadly I just don't have as much energy as I used to for writing and schooling and everything else that is going on in life. After all, it isn't easy to be a part-time writer and still be producing content regularly. Part of that content creation also involves keeping the readers engaged.
I have found an interesting connection to not being able to do certain things. It seems to be a theme popping up in my dreams too. Recently I recalled a dream where I couldn't pick up food with a fork. It was extremely irritating. Sometimes the simplest things are what we take for granted until something blocks the everyday functions.

Here is another example, before the crash, I could run around and I was quite active with a regular exercise schedule. Then, an injury put a sudden and abrupt halt to these habits. Nearly two years later, even walking requires considerable energy and even mental effort. Losing my feet for a long time also meant losing my hands for nearly eight months. I lost a lot because of the accident. To be blunt, there are times when I wonder if the tormenting pain will end.

But, in all my wondering, I am reminded that without conflict in a story the characters have nothing to allow them growth or development. The breaking points for your characters may very closely resemble your own challenges in life. You may be writing in a roundabout way your own personal story of overcoming something that once felt impossible to you.

Very rarely does a story character become better on their own. They need the wisdom and experience that a mentor figure provides. So it is with finding your way in your own writing journey. You must have phases of self-discovery and encouragement of others. Learning from the near-fatal mistakes of those who come before us will also prevent us from making those same painful mistakes for ourselves.

Friday, January 24, 2020

To Write Well, Read Well

 I was taught this saying many moons ago during my years of traditional grade schooling. Yet, it is still true for me today that reading is a great source of both entertainment, ideas, and a way to observe the writing styles of others. I would even suggest that reading best-sellers are one of the best ways you can notice what makes a book a best seller for yourself.

So what can you do if you don't have time to read? It's understandable, for whatever reason, you may not have a few hours to sit down with a book. This is why I often prefer to use audiobooks during the school year. However, I haven't been the best at writing down the things I like and don't like from different authors. This is where reading becomes the most useful to you as a writer.

Some writers closely follow the model of the hero's journey, others deviate from it quite a bit. Looking for why is important! Look at why or why not the author's chosen writing model kept your attention. How could you implement something similar for your own work? Another thing to consider would be if you even know what the hero's journey is, and where it classically has shown up over time.

What else could you learn from reading the work of other authors? We could analyze theme, tone, plot, character development, backstory, climax and a host of other literary elements. Why would you want to do this? I promise that literary analysis isn't intended to take the fun away from reading a good book at all! Its purpose is to get you to slow down enough to read between the lines, to really think about what you are reading.

Keeping a record of your literary analysis notes will be huge in inspiring your own writing to become better. I had to analyze a few books in school a while back, at first, I will admit I didn't really like doing it. However, as I started to see real things that I liked, things that made a book stand out, I also saw that I needed to impliment these kind of elements into my own work.

Reading allows us to gain perspective and greater vocabulary as writers too. We gain real experience with another authors ideas though physical and tangible pages! Isn't that alone motivation enough? A lot of work goes into having a published work of literature! It isn't easy by any means, the challenge seems to still be my call to adventure.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Writing is my Therapy

It's really no secret that the act of writing is highly therapeutic to me. Its something I wish I had more time to do. Writing is an escape as much as it is a reality check. It brings deep emotions to the surface and it allows me to attempt to describe the intense visual wonders of my day dreams. But, those day dreams are not just visually engaging. The mark of a gifted writer is often the ability to create a world and then to place yourself within it to feel, touch, taste, smell and so on.

Writing somehow seems to connect me with all the elements of my true self, the nature of my humanity. Stories are built around conflict, unrest, dystopian and unpredictable conditions. It is the unknown that drives readers to keep reading those stories. It is challenging obstacles that build and develop characters in our favorite novels, even our most loved films. Yet, when faced with real-life obstacles, many of us feel alone, vulnerable, or possibly even hopeless.

The very thing that we know builds character suddenly becomes terrifying to us in the real world. Why? It is the unknown that builds tension, even anxiety. The real world endings are often far from a carefully crafted Novel. Things happen to us that are cruelly unfair. The bad guys do sometimes win, and they do sometimes feel as if to have stolen our thunder.

Someone did try to steal my thunder, my spotlight in my novel of life. It was cruel, unfair, unreasonable, and prejudice in nature even. Disrespect came from a lack of understanding me. Yes, at the time I had differences within me that could make me a complicated person to deal with from time to time, but still, I do not see why it had to be that way.

I'm trying to see challenges and discomfort in my own life as an opportunity to build Character, though positivity is not always my strong suit. I'm real and quite bluntly open about things like depression and anxiety. Those things are very real, and I have not only seen these illnesses in myself. Many of my friends have fallen victim to the terror of it too. Mental illness advocacy is something that deeply matters to me, it's why I did quite a bit of extensive research to write it as authentic as possible even within a novel that is of the fictional genre.

Mental illness though is a real challenge in our world outside of books. I simply gave it a voice by writing about it. Some may dislike how much I advocate against mental illness stigma, but, those are they who have not yet taken the time necessary to understand that they could one day save a life by knowing the warning signs of struggling souls.