Friday, October 11, 2013

Celebrating the Humdrum of Everyday Life, Like Your Life Depended on It




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I was supposed to write on a daily basis, but that doesn't always happen - and for a myriad of reasons. Every writer gets to a point where they hit that wall, and find it hard to keep on going. Some folks call it the writer's block. I call it the dark little time where you curl up like a ball in your bed and cry yourself to sleep because you can't write something even remotely decent. Yeah,writer's block is probably a better word for it.



I'm a frequent victim of the block. I don't know when it hits, or why, but when it does, I find it hard to get back to my writing groove for days on end. Sometimes, though, it's all about finding a comfortable space to work in, but that's not always an option, unfortunately. A spot that was comfy the other day might not feel as good the next, for example. Or an article you were working on suddenly feels cramped and sad, and you just can't bring yourself to get back up on that assignment.

I don't exactly understand why writing - or any other artistic endeavor, for that matter - has to be so reliant on the whim of the pseudo-artist's demons. Some folks can just write nonstop. Of course, these people are likely to be called drones or something similar, unless you were a household name like, oh I dunno, Charles Dickens. And then you become celebrated, like a hero of sorts, except you didn't really have to go and fight a war, or die for your country. You're tres magnifique, a candidate for the Nobel prize, and an all-around good guy.

Meanwhile, hack writers like the rest of us have to keep hacking away at it, like the mindless drones we are.

So, at the risk of sounding bipolar, let me discuss what I do when the block hits.

That is to say, nothing. Or, specifically, something else. See, when you run out of things to say, it doesn't always mean that you're done. Sometimes, your mind just needs to take a breather from all the creative activity it's been doing. Like a motor, if your mind overheats, then you run the risk of breaking something, and that's what you need to avoid.

Back in the day, I would write in what I would call a fury, wherein I would just poop out words nonstop, and not the type of words you'd expect from an automaton, either. A term I picked up from Shawn Handyside of Staccato fame (look it up) sums it up perfectly: it was like staring into the eyes of god. But after long bouts of writing as if on crack, I would have long periods of creative drought. I guess you could say it was the same kind of euphoria you'd get when you rush a project one day away from its deadline. Afterwards, you're just so happy to get things over with, you're spent.

I learned - quite recently, to my shame - that in order to make sure to survive through these creative droughts is to do something monotonous. That's right kids. Over the past few years, I developed a system of tracking records, filing paperwork, and making coffee that, after sufficient practice, I could do in my sleep. I find that the automatic action soothes my mind enough to let it properly wander without having to have an actual goal at the moment. It is boring, with a capital B. I never wanted to be caught dead pushing papers when I was younger, and today, a shadow of myself in the early 2000s is rebelling against my transformation.

But on the flip side of things, I've been able to drag my ass away from work and into proper, non-marketing related writing. I've begun straightening out my drafts for whatever story I'm working on. I've written down new ideas for stories as well. And, perhaps the most telling of them all, I've managed to resurrect my blog, with a fee hiccups along the way.

So this is why I celebrate the monotomy of what life has to offer, at times. I don't think that it's the best way to live your life, especially if you get really impatient rather easily. But it just works for me, in getting my creative mojo going. And while you can't always beat writer's block, at least I know that I can always go into the kitchen and prepare a cup of coffee for myself when the block hits. And that's just fantastic.

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