Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Ignore the heckler!

Writing can be hard, and it can be easy.

It's such a simple concept. But, the part I often forget, is that it is my choice which it will be. 

When I set down to write, I can let the thoughts flow from my mind to the page like water from a faucet. I love that feeling when I'm in the creative groove and the story is coming together so quickly, I don't even have time to judge it. All I can do is observe, create, and stand in awe of the fact that I am lucky enough to have this be my vocation and my calling.  

But other times, I freeze up, choke off the flow with my own inner critic. 

We've all experienced that hurtful voice in the back of our minds that makes up feel bad about what we're writing, what we're doing, and sometimes simply even who we are.  

This is the voice that creeps up sometimes when I am really in the zone. I'm flowing, feeling good, and suddenly I begin to doubt. I get so caught up in what my writing should be, all the preconceived notions, that I don't/can't let it just be. It starts to rear its ugly head with thoughts like "this idea will never work" and "ugh, that dialog's not natural" or "no one will ever read this dribble." And instead of telling this voice to simply to kiss my grits, I let it get the better of me and before I know what happened I'm swimming in doubt. Faucets clamped shut, shut off value is soldered, and I don't know how to open it again. 

And once doubt kicks in it is really hard to remove it. It's like I have to create a positive affirmation for every heckling negative thought that swims through my mind. Often I'll try and write through it. Other times, I'll just have to get up and take a lap, knowing that once I've given my mind a break it usually calms down and lets me get back to creating. 

But the thing I've found that works the best out of all these methods is to let myself play from the beginning. To trust that whatever comes through me is exactly what it is meant to be. To have fun, trust myself and to enjoy the process. 

I really do love that part. That my friends is what keeps me coming back for more. :-)

Monday, October 27, 2014

Why we need to fuel our creative fires

 This past weekend I put on my big girl pants and took myself to a creative experience (with other people...who are also writers, artists...and editors–oh my!). 

I know, I know, this doesn't sound like a big deal. But, when you consider that the last in-person SCBWI event I've been to was, dare I say it, over 3 years ago, and that most of my writing community social interactions have taken place online since then, this is a pretty big step for me. 

There are a lot of reasons why this is. I move a lot so it is hard to establish a home base writing community. I've also been under the weather health-wise for a while and so it's been hard to get out regularly to meet with people. And, last but not least, I have the best darn-tootin' online critique group in the world, my crit buddies the WritePBers. 

Writing is my life, and I do it at home. 
So, when it comes to my writing life, I don't get out much. It’s easy to forget how important it is go out, talk to people face-to-face, discuss what you love, and plain old play. 

When we write, draw, or create in any fashion, we are channeling ideas and bringing them into fruition. This mining for gold unearths some incredible things. But constantly taking these ideas out and putting them on the page can leave us empty, and if we don't refill the well with new stimuli, new experiences, and images that we get from going out and experiencing life, we may run dry. 

So next time you're feeling stuck and the creative process has ceased to be well, productive, go out and do something! Body and mind will get a much-needed break. And, you might be struck with just the right idea to get you back in the flow.