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Posts Tagged ‘writer’s block’

This hasn’t been a great week for writing.  I don’t know where the time is going, but it hasn’t been going towards my poetry.

Well, I’ve had a few ideas and rambling thoughts but they always seem to bubble up when I am halfway between places and can’t stop to record them.

One made it to paper when I got home, and I am quite excited about it, but it’s a story not a poem so although I can add notes and ideas, it shouldn’t be my focus…  Everything else was absorbed into the ether, never to take physical form.

It would be easy to waffle on at this point about the whys and wherefores, but you’re all human and you all know that some weeks are more productive than others.

My task now is to put a bit more effort in over the next couple of days. It helps that I am faced with some glorious sunshine at the moment which buoys me up no end; perhaps an hour or so sitting outside, listening to nature, will get me back on track.

And if the poetry is really off this week I still have prose, reading and studying to fill my writing needs!

Happy writing,

EJ

🙂

 

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Tonight is my only night free in a week, and the last free night for another week. I love having things to do with my time but I am getting a little tired out.

So tonight I’m not doing anything in particular. I’m sitting down with a candle going, and watching a bit of trash tv. I am well aware I should be writing, or researching courses, or even just carrying on with a few writing exercises – but I’m giving in to the temptation of a lazy night.

I have read so many comments from writers saying they write even when they are tired, or excessively busy, or overwhelmed that I wonder if it means something particular when I choose not to work and watch sci-fi nonsense instead.

Perhaps it does – but perhaps it simply means I didn’t thrive on exhaustion. Perhaps it means I have less stamina. Perhaps our relative views on how busy we are is different. Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps…

Of course this post is, in some ways, perfect evidence that I didn’t just sit and do nothing. I did do a writing exercise.

I took a few details and shared them to form a scene, and I gave the narrator free reign on a stream of consciousness. I set context, I even gave the character a personal quandary to consider.

Wow – it’s amazing how much work you can get done even if you’re taking some time out!  But after all that effort, I really need a break 😉

Happy Writing,
EJ
🙂

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It’s actually just gone midnight so technically it’s Friday but never mind.

I have not had time to write much content this week – I feel like I’m saying this a lot at the moment but there’s been a lot going on and trying to fit everything in has been difficult.

Tomorrow/today is a difficult day for me on a personal basis but come Saturday, I will be off on a break to celebrate my first wedding anniversary which my husband and I are really looking forward to – it will be great to have a change of scenery. It’s not quite the trip we had planned a few months ago but we are lucky to get away.

One thing I always find when I go away is that my inspiration levels go up – not just for writing but for experiencing different things. I am really hoping something piques my interest over the course of our break because I need to break through this writing holding pattern I have got into.

I see other people storming ahead – a writer from our local group has just published his first poetry anthology on Amazon, another friend is about to publish his work online – and I feel I am at a standstill.

But maybe it’s not a standstill, maybe it’s a crossroads. Maybe I need to spend some time listening to my gut rather than my brain – rather than my insecurities.

If I can reconnect with the creative part of my brain over the next few days, hopefully I’ll be able to break the holding pattern and get back to my writing self.

Keep your fingers crossed for me – I think I’ll need it…

Happy writing,
EJ
🙂

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I am back from my Welsh retreat, and it didn’t exactly go to plan…

Retreat Mountain

Despite adding a good 10,000 words to the whodunnit, I am still a long distance from the finishing line.  I was genuinely surprised to see how little movement those words gave me in the storyline.

I was seriously fed up after three days of writing and no sense of closing the story, but for my own peace of mind I tried to look on the bright side – if I don’t I will ultimately just put my pen down and walk away from my writing, and that can’t be an option.

So I shifted my perspective instead.  It took a bit of effort and a glass or two of wine but I got there:

I have a proper plan showing story development; I am 10,000 words further along than I was, and they are purposeful words, not just space-fillers; I managed to enjoy the beautiful Welsh countryside and really have a mental time-out every day I was away, which was absolutely necessary.  I got to be artistic with pencils, and creative with poetry, as well as work on the story – this gave me a chance to reconsider elements and re-write paragraphs that weren’t working as I intended.  I got to spend quality time being peaceful with my husband, without the blare of the tv or the interruptions of work.

I also accepted that this is a growing story – from short story to novella, and from short form novella to long form.  Possibly even a novel, by the time I’m through.  The storyline carried me onwards, and is almost setting its own parameters.

Having hit the wall on this story a few times having it flow naturally was something of a relief and I’m not going to regret it.  When this whodunnit came into my mind, it was a way to work through a problem I had in another story, getting the twists to work effectively. However, I’ve become much more wedded to this story, and am being much more tenacious about completing it, than I was the originator.  Reading a few crime novels along the way has been invaluable, and has really opened my eyes to the potential in this genre, which is one I never previously cared for as a reader.

Now it is time to regroup and identify what needs to be done to get this story finished. As of tomorrow, the timesheet comes back into play as the key tool to carve out time to write, with a pragmatic and realistic target of about 1 hour per day.

I have a family event in Germany in a few weeks time so I will aim, once more, to be close to the conclusion by the time I go away.  If I set enough targets, I’ll hit one eventually!

I am going to stop there because this is already a long post and I want to go back to the whodunnit for a little more time before I get myself ready for a return to the office.   After all, I might not be on retreat any more but that is no reason not to retreat into my work!

Happy writing

EJ

🙂

 

 

 

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Firstly, let me tell you that I have done some writing this week – again not as much as I might have hoped but as I’m still doing extra hours at work and have very little writing time, I am just happy to get something done.

I said before I wouldn’t get the writing timesheet back out but I think I might after my retreat, which I am now thinking will be a kick-start more than anything else!

I have been getting some reading done, ably helped by long tranches of time sitting in the passenger seat of my husband’s car, but I have found concentrating on the book a struggle (I will tell you why on Tuesday, of course!). I finished my trapeze course and got to my dance class and travelled to a family party a few counties away, but I feel like the week has been all about picking up bits and pieces and not really getting anything ticked off the list. It’s been a little like that at work too, with my extra hours being sucked into new tasks rather than completion of current ones.

Overall, it has been hard to focus over the last seven days. It hasn’t helped that the weather here has veered all over the place; one day abnormally hot, the next day a dry thunderstorm, the next day abnormally hot again, then a torrential downpour.  Even the weather can’t get into a groove!

I’m feeling a bit of a writing failure, to be honest.  Someone I know even said I don’t write anymore, that I’ve moved on from it.  So I have to get it back into everyone’s mind that I am a writer, and I have to own what is, in effect, a period of writer’s block.  I have to get back into a habit and even if I don’t write the whodunnit I need to write something.  Every day, in some way, I have to be a writer.

That way, if someone says anything similar again I will know they are wrong, and not just hope it.

In other news – Book 93 on the 100 Novels list is Money: A Suicide Note by Martin  Amis.  I have only read on Martin Amis book, London Fields, and I really didn’t like it very much.  I’m not sure if it was style, substance or subject but if I think about it, I can feel my face screw up which is a sure sign I don’t want to revisit it!  That makes me very unlikely to read any other Martin Amis, especially one which sounds very ‘macho’ in terms of money and power.  It’s not a style that floats my boat, as they say.

And finally – I found an article focussed on writing poetry about ruins.  As I love poetry, and ruins, and have written poetry about ruins, and one of my favourite poems is The Ruin (as mentioned in the article as well as on here in earlier posts!) I decided to share it as a reminder that however much changes in the world, some things are strong enough to keep on standing.

Happy writing,

EJ

🙂

 

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Well, I’m back on a Thursday, for this week at least!  Hopefully I’ll be able to do at least one of these posts a month going forward, now I’m getting to grips with my new life timetable 🙂

This one really is a thought, and one I wonder if anyone shares or if I’m just an old-fashioned girl…  At my last writing group, one of the other writers was talking about tools they use. One of these is a website for rhyming words, which they use for poems, and they advised us all to use the site when working on our own pieces.

I have spent a lot of time thinking about this advice and I am not entirely sure I am comfortable with it.

For me, part of writing is about seeking out a word that says something to me.  Every word in my poems is fought over, and wrestled with, until I get a line or stanza that has the emotion, rhythm, and physical feel in the mouth that I am after. The work has to look right on paper as well – spiky letters or round, long words or short, repeated letters. All of it is part of the work, and I can’t imagine just picking a word that rhymes is nearly as effective.  In fact, only about 30% of my work has a formal rhyme scheme because often I can’t have the poem I want within the confines of a set scheme.

Don’t get me wrong; if I was massively stuck with something I might use it to prise some ideas loose, but it wouldn’t be a shortcut, it would be a jump-start.

Writers of the past – Shakespeare, Wordsworth, Auden, Owen to name but a few – didn’t have these tools, and they managed to produce poetry that has long outlived them and still has power and resonance today.

So what do you think? Should we writers use every opportunity to make life a little easier? After all, a writing life can be pretty draining.

Or should we delve into ourselves to find words, sweat over them when needed, to make sure they fit the poem in every possible way?

I’d love to know what you think – post a comment below and let me know if you are like me or if I should get myself into the 21st Century already!!

Happy writing,
EJ
🙂

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This week my writing of an hour a day went a bit awry because I found myself watching some family history programmes in my allotted time instead. It wasn’t a waste of time entirely, because some of the situations exposed through research were pertinent to my writing, and made me question a couple of technical aspects of my story – but it was a fairly standard avoidance technique.

I will do better this week.

Having said that, I now have a full team of characters (with a notable exception I’ll come back to shortly), with a victim, murderer, two who have strong motives, a very useful red herring and a great setting.  There’s just one character I need to sort out…

The detective.

I’m torn – and I’m stuck in the storyline, where the detective needs to come in.  I have a victim, and no-one trying to help them rest in peace…

Do I have a police officer, an expert in their field like Morse or Wallander? A private investigator (official or otherwise) like Poirot or Holmes?  An ‘ interested neighbour’ in the vein of Miss Marple or even Nancy Drew?  Or is the matter solved by an injured party – someone who loved the victim, or a suspect who wants to clear their name?

Because this isn’t my genre, and I don’t read a lot of this type of writing, I am struggling to make a decision.  I am considering taking the question to my writing group next week to see what they think, but what do you guys feel works best?  Does the busybody idea, the butting into conversations and eavesdropping at doors, get old fast? Do you think a sociopathic detective really adds a bit of texture to the tale?  In this day and age is it likely that anyone other than a police detective will be allowed near the crime scene or the case file anyway?

Realism suggests a professional police officer, I guess.  But am I going for realism?

As you will see from the number of question marks this week, I don’t know the answers.  If I can find the one necessary question to make a decision, I will be able to set my detective to work!

In other news – I have worked on a peace post this week, but as with all my writing at the moment, I can’t find the right words. I will continue seeking them this week.

And finally – I am falling behind on the 100 novels list again, so just to get back up to date I have not read books 68 or 69.  I am however reading, so at least I’ve managed to do something I can tell you about in my posts this week!

Happy writing,

EJ

🙂

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