I still haven’t been writing…I’ve been sick and stressed at work. I have also been avoiding even picking up my notebook. It is sitting in the study, waiting patiently for attention and word love, but I am playing hard to get.
I just got a new Writers Digest magazine and there are some good articles about skill building for writers. There were some great ideas that actually sparked me to want to run to my notebook with open arms and confess how I had missed the lines on her pages and the comfort of sharing secrets…but I didn’t.
I was thinking later that these skill building exercises might just be tricks. They might be gimmicks that make me think I am getting closer to overcoming my writers block, but really they lead me deeper into the woods.
Last weekend I Skyped with my two writer soul mates and even though it was wonderful and grounding to hear their voices and stories, I was saddened that I couldn’t report any new writing. My friend is sooo dedicated and never seems to be plagued with the deadly writers block – at least in the last four years since we met. How does she do it?
One of the differences between us is that she puts in the time, everyday, even when the world gets in the way. I used to do this too. I was able to keep this up for about a year while I feverishly rewrote and dissected my novel The Christmas Child, but since then – no dice.
I am a bit of a bi-polar writer if left to my own devices. I am manic and write like a crazy person for a couple of days to a week, sometimes a month if I’m really on a bender. At some point I fizzle out and then slip into the depression. I spend all my gunpowder in one glorious firework and then I have to wait for the next holiday to show my colors again. I was able to keep out of this cycle for a time, by only writing for 20 minutes or so a day and always leaving the page with an idea still in my head, like a line of dialogue or an image that I could use to get me to the page the next day. But alas, this only lasted for a couple of months as well.
I also confessed during my post-Skype chat with my other glorious writer friend that part of the problem is that I don’t know my stories well enough to tell them yet. I worked on The Christmas Child for ten years. I know that world in a visceral way. I know how it smells, tastes and feels. These new wiper-snapper wip’s are unreliable and smell unfamiliar. I’m not sure if we have any chemistry and I am avoiding getting to know them. I have been thinking that maybe I need to work on some short-stories while I court my wip’s and get to know them better. But that would take me actually writing…
Maybe this Writer’s Digest was divine intervention. Could this skill building article be my miraculous fix? Could I use these gimmicks to trick my bi-polar writer psyche into picking up the languishing notebook and knocking out some killer short stories while building the back story and character profiles for my neglected wip’s? Perhaps. It is possible that these gimmicks could actually be secret squirrel ninja tricks that take my writers block and kick its sorry ass.
I hope so!