Yesterday, I hit a wave of negative energy. It was harsh and abrasive, kind of like your first kiss with braces. I would recommend waiting until all metallic items are out of delicate areas before commencing in anything remotely passionate. However, I digress. That negative feeling washed over me and I just couldn’t shake it until I left the building. I felt immediately better when I got outside. The sun’s rays warmed me, while the light breeze coming in from the coast cleared my thoughts.
I went home and started working on some things D.W. and I have been writing. I was just forming ideas, fleshing out concepts, that sort of thing. Feeling infinitely better, I took stock of where I was. I was in my living room, with all my “inspirational stuff” around me, fantasy books, pictures and the like, and I was infinitely happy. Now, if you were to ask my kids, most of my stuff is “dorky” and is not limited to books and pictures, but they love me just the same.
Anyway, it made me realize, surrounded as I was by pictures of Aragorn, Drizzt Do’Urden and Rand al’Thor, that surroundings and state of mind make all the difference when in the throes of creation. Any artist will tell you they have to have inspiration “hit them” in order to create. However, as my good friend David Hayter once told me, “Professional writers don’t have the luxury of suffering from writer’s block.”
It is so true. As all of us writers out there know, it is about putting your butt in the seat and getting your words on the page. If you want to succeed in getting your work out there to the people in an enormous sea of others trying to do the same, you do not have the luxury of waiting for inspiration to hit you. If you wait to be inspired, the only thing that will smack you is the cold, hard slap of procrastination. At one time or another, it has smacked us all in the chops. We sit down, planning to write 2000 words … and nothing. Well, maybe just a little TV will help clear the fog. Five hours and four episodes plus the season finale of Million Dollar Listing later … and we still have nothing. That stinging slap of realization makes us wish for the sweet agony of a kiss with braces.
I am writing this because I want to let everyone know that we have all felt this. You are not alone. The difference is, writers write. It is what we do. Saying that, I have to put myself in the right place and frame of mind. For me, I realize that my inspiration truly lies in my wife, my kids and surrounding myself with “dorky fantasy books and pictures.” I love looking about and seeing my favorite literary characters staring back at me, inspiring me to write the next word, daring me to join them in the pantheon of great adventure. As with any artistic endeavor, we do need to be inspired to create works of greatness. However, as professionals, we need to find within ourselves the ability to create that inspiration.
The next time you are in a rut, try a change of scenery. Take a walk. Get outdoors for a bit. Change the energy and find a new room in which to write. Trust me, that really helps. Surround yourself with things that move you and music that rouses your soul (for me, nothing works so well to delve into fantasy realms like Howard Shore’s soundtrack to The Lord of The Rings. You can thank me later for that one. Of course, some good Vivaldi will do the trick too).
Do not let negativity or procrastination create in you a sense of “writer’s block.” As professional writers, we have no time for it.
We would love to hear from you. What suggestions can you offer to fend off writer’s block? What things do you do to change the energy around you to a more positive state?
This is your community, we want to hear from you.