Writing and Life Series #3: Writer’s Block and A Collaborative Invitation

Photo by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash

I’m sure countless blog posts have been written about how to “deal” with writer’s block. Though I’ve only been blogging for a couple of months, I have been writing for over 10 years.; meaning that I am interested in this topic, as it happens to me from time to time. Further, I’m interested in ideas you have, and strategies you use to become unblocked.

A couple questions to guide the conversation

  • When does writer’s block affect you most?
  • What happens when you are blocked?
  • How often do you have writer’s block?
  • What strategies do you use to unblock yourself?

Alright, so in this post then, I will address these questions from my standpoint, and then invite you to comment on your’s.

When does writer’s block affect you most?

Interestingly, I’m not sure there is a pattern I can discern about the timing of writer’s block for me. I know that there are times when writing is easy. When the words just flow through me and onto the page. I once thought that “being in the flow”, was a product of feeling more inspired about a piece. I’m not sure if that is actually the case. Why?

Because there are other times when I’m not necessarily feeling all that inspired by a piece, and the words are harder to come by, yet they do come. In time. Some of it, I think, has to do with being patient. With not forcing the writing, but letting it come in it’s time.

I cannot tell you how many times in the past 10 years I’ve left a particular piece, to only pick it back up again later, with a renewed interest and insight. Often. I think this actually happens more with blogging. I’ve got at least 4 or 5 pieces that are in my drafts at this moment. When will they get finished? Your guess is as good as mine. I guess when it’s time.

What happens when you are blocked?

I’ve addressed this a little, yet will expand a little more here. When I am feeling blocked, it’s as if I know what I want to write, yet the process is not really working for me at the moment. Sometimes, as aforementioned, for several moments, which can last days. Depends.

The piece I wrote on the sound of rainfall yesterday took several days to complete; and, when I look at it, I am confused as to why that is. It’s a very small piece, yet did take more time. Conversely, the piece I wrote, which I think was my longest post thus far, about the sociological imagination, though much longer, only took a couple of hours. The words just came.

There was a time when I would force the writing. This is not a strategy I recommend. The reason is simple. Because when you force writing, like anything, you are immediately in a space of frustration, and that will make its way into your writing. Not so helpful. Instead, what I typically do is back away from the keyboard, and just let the piece sit.

How often do you have writer’s block?

It happens a couple of times a month. I should also mention that I write everyday. So, there is that. How often you are blocked might be a product of how often you write. Not sure.

Sometimes I am so blocked about a particular topic that I just let it sit. I will go back to it occasionally, yet may or may not pick it up again. At this time, I have a couple different posts that are sitting in my drafts that I may or may not ever finish. Don’t know.

I do know that I believe that if they are meant to be finished, they will be. And, if not, they won’t be. And, at this point in my life, I am okay with that.

What strategies do you use to unblock yourself?

There are several strategies that I use to unblock myself. They all depend on the context. Here are a few with context.

  • I’m having a hard time even coming up with a new idea – when this happens to me, I go on a long walk. I usually walk every other day, so it may be an extra walk I put into my week, or the one that I am already planning to take. Either way, I think best when I am away from everyone and everything.
  • Write everything down – particularly when I am blocked, yet I do this all the time, when I have new ideas, I write them down. Anywhere, on anything. Sometimes, I put them on a post-it, sometimes on my whiteboard, and sometimes on my phone. Doesn’t matter, I make sure to capture them somewhere.
  • Go through my ideas – one of my favorite strategies to use when I am blocked is to go through the ideas I’ve been collecting. Sometimes that works, sometimes not. Depends. Either way, having ideas to draw upon is very helpful.
  • Take a day off – not a strategy that I employ often, yet have done so. Taking some time away from writing, like anything, can provide more clarity, and the space for new ideas to generate.

I’m sure there are other strategies I could capture here, however, the ones listed above are by far my favorites.

Now what?

Well, if you haven’t tried one of the strategies listed above, try one, try more than one. For me, it is about trying something. Making sure to take action to provide yourself the space to ponder and reflect. And, then to see what comes.

It is actually in times when I’ve been the most blocked that I’ve come up with some of my best ideas. Some have made their way to the page, some will at some point. When? Don’t know. And, for me, that’s some of the fun of writing. The expectation of the new idea, the process of getting that idea out, then onto the page. The fun in playing with the idea until there is a level of satisfaction, and it is ready to post. Fun.

Alright, now I would like to hear from you. I am inviting you to post to the four questions above, as I’ve done in this post. A collaboration of sorts. If we can get enough people to post, I will commit to collecting those ideas, and creating a new post with all of our ideas. That would be fun. And, that is an idea that just came to me now. Creativity. Love it.

#becoming-unblocked, #blogging, #collaboration, #creative-process, #creativity, #writers-block, #writing, #writing-process, #writing-strategy

Writing and Life Series #1: On Writing and Vulnerability

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Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash

I’m sharing with you today a post that I wrote on one of my other sites. I like this one quite a bit, and seeing as the topic is writing and vulnerability, I thought I’d be vulnerable once again, and share it here.

I received a comment on this post from someone that talked about just how vulernable you have to be to blog. If you take the time to read the post, which I invite you to, let me know your thoughts on vulnerability in general, and more specificalluy about how you feel about writing and vulnerability. Enjoy.

Writing and Life Series #1: On Writing and Vulnerability

In the past day or two, I’ve written a couple of posts on vulnerability. I am constantly amazed at the importance of recognizing and participating in our own vulnerability. It is in those spaces, where we find our most vulnerable selves that we also find wealth beyond measure. For me, it is not money, or prestige, I’m after, it’s creativity and innovation. And, to create and innovate, you must be vulnerable.

Here is me being vulnerable with you right now. Though I’ve never really liked to read poetry, I like to write it. Not often, just here and there. And, here is one, I’ll share with you now.

The seed looked up at the sky,

and the sky said,

sow.

I’ve never before showed this poem to anyone. Actually, I don’t think anyone knows that I like to write poetry. Vulnerable. Actually, this poem can be written another way, which I just thought of, so let’s put that one in too.

The seed looked up at the sky,

and the sky said,

sow?

Writing in itself is a rather vulnerable pursuit, like any other art form. This is why creativity and vulnerability are so closely related. In order to be creative, and to develop a creative outlet through any medium, one must be willing to be vulnerable.

What I’ve recognized these past two years is that when we are vulnerable, we get back so much more by doing things that we once might have declined to do, or resisted doing. A sense of accomplishment, yes, and a visceral understanding of what it is like to live through experience, rather than through thinking about experiencing something. Experience is everything. The ultimate knowing.

What can you do? You can be vulnerable. How, you ask?

Here are a couple of suggestions.

  • Do something you’ve been planning to do, yet have made excuses and justifications for why it is not necessary, or it’s not the right time. Just do it. No pun intended.
  • When a friend asks you to go somewhere, or do something with them, and your natural inclination is to say, no, because you are too tired, or have something else to do that you think is more important. Do it anyway.
  • The next time you have a thought or insight about doing something artistic, or creative, don’t put it off, or make excuses about not being creative. Express your creativity.

Just a couple of suggestions. Whether you try those out or not, please remember one thing.

We are all creative beings, every single one of us. Humans are naturally creative.

Some say it is our highest quality. Not sure. Yet, I do know how it feels to be vulnerable, and to be creative. It feels scary and uncomfortable, and exquisite and amazing all at the same time.

So, if writing is your thing, write. If it is art, then do art. If you don’t have a creative outlet yet, do some research and pick a medium. There are many. It matters less what the medium is, than it does that you create the space for yourself to be the creative being that you are. And, it takes being vulnerable to get there.

Originally published on the4catalysts.com

#poetry, #art, #blogging, #creativity, #vulnerability, #writing

Fear of the Unknown: Take A Stand and Take Action Anyway

Photo by Austin Chan on Unsplash

Posting during a weekday, a different experience for me. Yet it is important. Yesterday, I wrote the post Creating and Maintaining Relationships Part 2: Standing for Each Other and our Shared Humanity. In that post we discussed how important all of our relationships are, as is taking a stand for ourselves, and all those we are in relationship with.

When we take a stand for ourselves, and for others, we are in what I termed a valuable relationship. I believe valuable relationships are disruptive and cause transformation – they cause transformation within us, and without.

Here is an example.

Today, I’m sitting at my desk and am working, not thinking about last nights post at all. Yet, in my inbox comes this post, On Racism, Oppression, and The Need to Do Something About It, by Cristian Mihai.

Now, as some of you may know, I started blogging about 7 weeks ago, and Cristian was the first individual to like a post, and follow my blog. Of course, likewise, then, I went to look at what Cristian was up to, and found the site The Art of Blogging. Fun.

Fast forward 7 weeks or so to this morning’s context, and the aforementioned blog by Cristian dropping into my email. Well, in that email, there were 4 or 5 different ways to contribute, to take action. And, I did so.

The reason I have paused my workday to write this post is that the story above is exactly what I was writing about in my post last night. Exactly. We believe that it is only in the relationships with those that are closest to us where we have the opportunity for, as I’ve defined in this post, a valuable relationship. Not so.

I don’t know Cristian at all, yet I would consider this a disruptive and transformational relationship, thus valuable. The action, from which, continues as I write this post.

In order to be involved in these kinds of relationships, you must be willing to let go of the fear you have about acting. Let go of the unknown about what will happen if you act. Release yourself from that.

It is not about the result of the relationship, it is about the actions taken inside the relationship that matter. And, that the relationship fosters taking a stand and creating action. These actions are disruptive, are transformational, and are valuable.

My invitation to you

First, remember, that you do make a difference. You make a difference every time you take action. If you’ve been held back by fear of the unknown, let it go, and get in action. For, you can also make a difference in someone else’s life by taking action, by taking a stand for yourself, and for them.

#blogging, #cristian-mihai, #disruption, #fear, #fear-of-the-unknown, #relationships, #take-action, #transformation