Archive for the ‘Writer's Block’ Category
I suppose most of you must have noticed by now that this blog, although titled ‘A Writer’s Blog’ doesn’t talk much about writing. In fact, most of the posts on this blog have been about tech-y stuff – software and what not.
While I don’t believe that the software makes the creative person more creative, but it can certainly make the creative person more productive – especially if the software is flexible enough to mould in with your workflow.
There I go again. Don’t get me wrong. But talking about software is not why I started this blog. I wanted to write about my writing journey. About my frustrations and my bursts of creativity. About my inspirations and about my blocks.
We writers often suffer from one very depressing and downright disheartening state of being blocked.
And for the past 5 years, this is where I have lingered on.. maybe knowingly or unknowingly. Yup. But that realization came much, much later.
For years, I have struggled with my writing. Oh yes, I know, I know. I have this career writing blog posts and articles and such other content for websites. Which is nice – coz I made it on my own after starting from scratch and managed to keep body and mind together for over 3 years by freelancing.
But that was not the problem. It was the symptom of one.
Writing for me is about telling stories. About narrating something to people who want to know the story. By telling something interesting and exciting and at the same time, meaningful. Yeah – I do set some pretty high standards for myself.
And ever since I was able to figure out what I was doing, I was writing – short stories and poems. But yeah – at the rate of at least 1 short story per year, and at least 1 poem per month – I wrote it down.
However, it all seemed to dwindle away fast. I found myself going through a lot of unspoken anger and resentment against myself.
But, I let it all slide past, reminding myself that I have made a nice little career and niche for myself as a web writer.
And then, I came here to the US. Finally to be with my family. It is nice. I never realized how much I would like it.
But again, no story.
I mean, I get these brilliant ideas – and I do write them down. (That was the only good thing I did!) But that was it. I simply couldn’t find myself able to develop these ideas.
I maybe wrote a chapter or two.
I even added these to my To-Do list, but I kept changing the dates and delegating them to my ‘Waiting’ or ‘Someday’ lists.
Something was terribly, terribly wrong.
I was depressed. I was not creating anything creative. I was not interested in anything .. I was simply blocked.
And consistently, wherever I went, especially to book stores or book websites, there was just the one book that came at me, drew me towards itself. And I chose not to give in to that shining impulse, until recently. I finally gave in, and found out what that book was all about and then ended up buying it.
Of course, you all must have guessed the title by now (duh!)… The book is called ‘The Artist’s Way‘ and it is written by Julia Cameron.
A truly amazing system .. simple and yet effective.
The book basically outlines a 12 week course where you do these interesting exercises during each week and do these activities every day.
The everyday activities include what Julia calls the ‘Morning Pages‘ – writing 3 pages of stuff every morning. And by stuff, I mean stuff. Whatever is going on in your mind – whatever you are thinking of – whatever, who ever – just put it down in the Morning Pages.
I recently got a copy of MacJournal in one of the Bundle sales… I finally put it to good use! I put in my Morning Pages everyday and the Journal is password protected. And like Julia says, I don’t go read those pages. I just click on the nice little Full Screen icon and get a blank screen – all black – and my words, all white get printed on it. Nice. Smooth. Distraction Free.
Every single day with the Morning Pages has been a dream. I have started working on different ideas. I have started developing the different story ideas I have written down. Bit by bit.
These Morning Pages are really helping me clear my brain.
I do these first and then get to my e-mails and my work stuff.
Another thing which she talks about in the first weeks essays is ‘Shadow Artists‘. These are blocked creatives, who do not pursue their creative dreams, but either help others achieve them, or hang around such creative people, or pursue careers which are more or less in the same field. Wow! It struck such a chord with me!
I mean, here I am.. writing for the web – and frankly, finding not much creative satisfaction in it – and still hanging in there!
Another thing which struck me is my emotional state. When I had written all those stories and poems way back when, I was a very angry, rebellious, confused and (often) stoned person. I had no clue about things. It took me a lot many years to work through these issues and come out of my addictions, and my anger.
I am not saying that I am 100% free of my anger. But I am almost half-way there. And yes, I am 100% free of drugs. I have also discovered a strong connection with the Universe via my Tarot cards.
So yes – I can safely say, that I am pretty much on the path of calmness.
But co-incidentally, this calmness also co-incided with the writer’s block!
So putting 2 and 2 together, my mind had been wondering whether it was necessary for me to be angry, confused and rebellious in order to be creative.
In the first week’s essays, Julia says that it is not necessary at all.
And I am apt to believe her. She too had a problem with drinking, which she overcame. And has gone on to achieve a lot – I mean she hasn’t just written this one book – she has written a bunch of plays and even made a movie. So yeah, given all that, I am more open to believing her.
Am working through the different exercises in the first week’s lot and am writing my morning pages. And although I am tempted to peek forward, I am not doing that. I want this process to work for me. Simply because I can see it working on me. I can feel it.
Already I am sensing the change.
Writing is a joyous process – and I am on my path to re-discovering the true joy of my calling.
And this book is one of the gifts sent to me by Existence to help me find my way back!
I plan to write more about the book as I go through each week. And I know I shall make it happen.
In conclusion, let me quote something right from the book:
Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it!
Note: This isn’t a quote by Julia Cameron, but it is featured somewhere in the book and its stuck in my head now!