Today I hope you don't mind me talking a little bit about my experience with the aforementioned title, as it is part of being a writer, so we can loosely say this is part of the writing tips segment.
While a lot of writers say they never suffer from this particular writers nightmare and that they don’t understand writers that do suffer from it, because they've never experienced it first hand. I can say that I did suffer from a bout of Writers Block that lasted nearly a couple of years. Every time I went near the novel I was trying to write, it was as if the proverbial word well had run dry. I spent nearly two years walking in the desert, the words, or water in the well just wouldn’t spring forth like it had before, gushing in unstoppable torrents filling page after page effortlessly. I wasn’t sure what had happened and I even tried to start writing other novels that were waiting in the ‘To be Written Pile,’ to see if it was the one I was working on was the actual problem. However, it didn’t matter what I tried to write it was the same – Gobi Desert Syndrome (Dryer than a grain of sand in the desert at midday) or we can call it GDS for short (This is my terminology for writers block.)
I would stare at the same paragraph for hours, wondering where the story was going, what the characters were doing, trying to recognize the plot threads I was supposed to be stringing together, but just getting caught in a ravel on knots. It was as if I was looking at someone else’s work without a clue of what they were trying to say. After a few months of GDS, I stopped writing altogether and did nothing for a while. I thought that perhaps my head was too full of idea’s all trying get out and vie for my attention, to get each and every one of them on paper and that, perhaps my mind needed time to defrag and re-organise all the files, putting them in a manageable order. Creating harmony from chaos.
So I walked a lot, through beautiful forests, near meandering rivers, over lush green fields avoiding all bovine inhabitants, especially the ones with horns and let my mind wander as I walked, at the time I thought I’d go mad without an constant outlet for my overly creative mind. So I let the beauty of nature distract me every day for an hour or so, and after a while I tried to write again, it was still a complete no fly zone. This was fast becoming a major frustration and I had no idea how to get around it, over it, under it or even on it. Whatever I tried I hit a wall.
One day I just thought, “Bugger it! Maybe I’m not meant to write, maybe that’s not who I am, so from now on, no more writing!” and I packed all my note books, all my lose notes, all my printed manuscripts, my earlier published work, everything got neatly put away to bed. It was RIP to my writing life, however I still needed a creative outlet, I’d been to art school, fashion college and I liked ceramics. First I got my acrylic paints out and painted some truly heinous canvasses (they have since been destroyed to protect the eyes of any innocent party who may have inadvertently stumbled across them – I couldn’t have that on my conscience!) It had been a long time since I’d painted, but slowly I got into it and began to really enjoy it, painting some canvasses that people actually paid money for and good money too.
Then I became interested in jewellery, I’ve always loved crystals, so I began to make crystal gemstone jewellery, which also sold really well. I made lots of different things, from door stops to hand painted silk scarves, I even began to make crystal essence sprays, I never made too many of any one thing as I liked to keep things special, too much is a big overkill. All my jewellery items were/are unique pieces, all my paintings are unique, plus I don’t like to do anything that anyone else has already done, so much of my stuff is for a small select market, it wouldn’t appeal to the masses. But I digress, while I was absorbed with my new found creative outlets, I wasn’t bothered about the writing at all, I figured that it was just a phase and I’d grown out of it and this was my new artistic vocation.
I also read a lot of books, and really enjoyed all the different writing styles and genres that are available, life was great. I had my creative outlet and everything seemed awesome, then I began to read YA Paranormal fiction, I devoured these books with a passion (when I was a teenager there was a big gap in this part of the market.) So I read and read and read, then one day like a bolt from the blue, the word well erupted out of nowhere, it was like the Californian geyser ‘Old Faithful’ I’m sure there was probably steam coming out of my ears too!
The idea for Scarlett Phoenix was just sitting there in my mind, it was all there, in glorious Technicolour and in every last detail just waiting to spill all over the empty pages on my computer screen. I was a little tentative at first, wondering whether my mind was just playing a rotten trick or not, but as I sat and began typing my fingers couldn’t keep up with my brain. I wrote 60,000 in less than a month, I was on fire, not literally, figuratively of course. The book just poured out of me as if it was writing itself, I was just the facilitator or vessel to channel the words. It was quite a surreal experience and I was quite shocked that after nearly two years of a dried up well that something like this had happened.
I’m glad it did, because writing always was and always will be my number one favourite creative outlet and I’m sure in the future that I’ll probably go through other bouts of GDS, but at least I know that it doesn’t last forever and I can go and paint some awful pictures (because I will be out of practice again, then they’ll need burning!) make some jewellery and do some other fun stuff and read lots and lots and lots of books.
What I’m trying to say is, don’t worry if you’ve lost your groove, just do something else for a while and when the time is right for you, you’ll get that bolt from the blue and be right back at it.
Wishing my readers an awesome day!