I’m writing this blog today because I’ve seen many of my friends in the #WritingCommunity post that they are feeling creatively drained because of real life challenges. Let’s face it, we all have them. I happen to be going through an emotionally trying experience now with my family and some health issues. How do you keep yourself writing and moving along when there’s so much sadness and/or stress?
Go to your imaginary world and spend some time
The greatest antidote for me is to write – to get into my imaginary universe and either edit, re-read or write a new #WIP. Right now, I’m concocting a new book in my original series – my fourth novel and I’m proud to say I’m already 87 pages in progress!
How do I do it with so much going on, including work, marriage, family and everything else? I purposely make time. It’s the same thing when someone says they don’t have time to exercise. You have to make it happen. Even if I carve out only an hour of time to write each day, I feel satisfied. And when I enter my imaginary world, I really am transported somewhere else. We have to be, in order to take our readers there, too, right?
How do you harness negative energy into creative energy?
Focus. Focus. Focus. You’re about to go into a zone. I light candles, put on music (I prefer the Sirius XM Chill channel or Pandora’s Chill Loungers radio). I close my email files and turn off my phone. I get my favorite beverage (double latte with almond milk) and I take deep breaths. Ahh – now I’m ready.
It usually takes me about 10 minutes to become engrossed in the situations I’ve created – the drama that is torturing my characters yet has nothing to do with me personally. If you are going through something completely heart-wrenching, try to channel that sadness – that deep emotional turmoil – into the lives of your characters. I believe it was Robert Frost who said, “No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader.” Guess what, he’s right!
The 500-word rule
My good friend Doug Elfman, a published author and long-time journalist, told me about the 500-word rule. Basically, you start writing – whatever it is – it could be complete drivel that has nothing to do with what you will end up with when your #WIP has morphed into a full manuscript. The point is, you’re writing. I’ve found that once I’ve written 500 words, I have the germination of an idea and there’s something there to play with – something to help me continue to develop a thread of ideas.
Conquering the dreaded Writer’s Block
Of course, there are days when you can’t come up with anything good. When that happens, I shut down everything and do something mindless, like laundry, dishes, organizing things, etc.
It’s always in those moments when a spark of clarity occurs – yes! In For Position Only, here’s what Craig Keller is going to do in this scene with Jane Mercer. Here’s how Warren Mitchell and Jeffrey Vance are going to react. Boom! We now have pages of writing.
So be patient, love yourself and find the right rhythm to continue your work, no matter what non-fictional drama is coming your way.