I’ve had the WORST writer’s block for the past month. It’s not just affecting my writing, but also my songwriting. I’ve recently written a pretty catchy song. It’s got a melody, a chord structure and all that, but I’m just struggling with writing the lyrics. I’m scared to sing the song with just any lyrics in case I can’t shake them off. GAH.
I’ve been accepted into Footscray Community Arts Centre’s West Writers Group and while I’m learning lots and meeting new people, I’ve also placed a pressure on myself to be “on my game” and write some decent stuff. When I step away from everything, rational thinking tells me to give myself a break and allow myself to make mistakes and write terrible things because it’s better than not writing at all, and it’s the best way you can improve. But of course, I don’t do the rational thing and I just end up feeling paralysed. It’s mostly a confidence issue, but I also struggle to figure out what it is I want to write about, what story I want to tell, and if I have the authority to tell certain stories.
I spent the last two weeks living with Liam’s parents while I did some receptionist work at their company. It was really fantastic for me, not just because I had a “purpose” every day, but it was like taking a break from “creating” and putting more emphasis on reflection. I feel fresher and have a clearer idea of what I want and need to do to get the most out of this writers group.
I’m slowly starting to see this writers group as not just about writing, but an opportunity to dabble and experiment with form. I’m trying to keep an open mind and rather than believe I only do one type of writing (narrative non-fiction, poetry etc), I’m seeing how the form of a text can enhance the content. I’m laying out a rough plan for a piece which has elements of Epic Theatre, so I might even write a play, which I’ve never done in my life!
When it comes to the actual “writer’s block”, there’s heaps of advice out there, but I think the most useful advice I’ve received is just to figure out what it is that’s stopping you from writing and somehow fix it before it affects your words. If you’re already writing something and there’s a particular paragraph or section you just can’t get through, it’s sometimes helpful to just stop, and move onto another project or task.
Here are some resources that might come in handy:
I’m a big fan of Charlie Jane Anders’ writing and she regularly writes posts about writing on io9. Most of it is catered towards Sci-fi writing but they can be applied to other things too. The one I found most useful is her post on the 10 types of writer’s block and how to overcome them. Very handy! http://io9.com/5844988/the-10-types-of-writers-block-and-how-to-overcome-them
Writers Victoria have a whole section on their website dedicated to interesting writing “work outs” by writers for writers: http://writersvictoria.org.au/help-for-writers/writing-workouts
This is not really just for writing, but if you’re lacking inspiration, check out Keri Smith’s 100 Ideas post: http://www.kerismith.com/popular-posts/100-ideas/
What do you do when you have writer’s block?