Monthly Archives: April 2010

writer’s block


some people may never understand the meaning of writer’s block. i understand what it means – but what i find more interesting is what causes it? and how to overcome this issue. whether we are employed at a job that required regular writing, or do so for pleasure, why do some of us literally get a mind block mid sentence (like a frozen computer screen) and we have to reboot and do something to shake our minds back into play.

in my frustration, i started to do some research on the matter, and came across the following information at “about.com”
(you can check out the full article here: http://fictionwriting.about.com/od/writingroadblocks/tp/block.htm)

the author explains, “Most writers will have trouble with writer’s block at some point in their lives. The possible reasons for writer’s block are myriad: fear, anxiety, a life change, the end of a project, the beginning of a project…almost anything, it seems, can cause that particular feeling of fear and frustration. Fortunately there are as many ways to deal with writer’s block as there are causes.”

She proceeds to give those of us struggling with this mental block a list of recommended tips to use to try to overcome this barrier:

“1. Implement a Writing Schedule.
Carve out a time to write and then ignore the writer’s block. Show up to write, even if nothing comes right away. When your body shows up to the page at the same time and place every day, eventually your mind — and your muse — will do the same. Graham Greene famously wrote 500 words, and only 500 words, every morning. Five hundred words is only about a page, but with those mere 500 words per day, Greene wrote and published over 30 books.” – a comforting example here for those who work piece by piece!

“2. Don’t Be Too Hard on Yourself.
In fact, don’t be hard on yourself at all while writing. Anna Quindlin wrote, “People have writer’s block not because they can’t write, but because they despair of writing eloquently.” Turn the critical brain off. There is a time and place for criticism: it’s called editing.” AMEN

“3. Think of Writing as a Regular Job, and Less as an Art.
Stephen King, a famously prolific author, uses the metaphor of a toolbox to talk about writing in On Writing, intentionally linking it to physical work. If we think of ourselves as laborers, as craftsmen, it’s easier to sit down and write. We’re just putting words on the page, after all, one beside another, as a bricklayer puts down bricks. At the end of the day, we’re just creating things — stories, poems, or plays — only we use vocabulary and grammar instead of bricks and mortar.”

“4. Take Time Off If You’ve Just Finished a Project.
Writer’s block could be a sign that your ideas need time to gestate. Idleness can be a key part of the creative process. Give yourself time to gather new experiences and new ideas, from life, reading, or other forms of art, before you start again.” good to keep in mind for those trying to meet a daily post regulation

“5. Set Deadlines and Keep Them.
Many writers, understandably, have trouble doing this on their own. You might find a writing partner and agree to hold each other to deadlines in an encouraging, non-critical way. Knowing that someone else is expecting results helps many writers produce material. Writing groups or classes are another good way to jump-start a writing routine.”

“6. Examine Deep-Seated Issues Behind Your Writer’s Block.
Write about your anxieties regarding writing or creativity. Talk to a friend, preferably one who writes. A number of books, such as The Artist’s Way, are designed to help creative people explore the root causes of their blocks. (Studying the lives of other writers can also provide insight into why you’re blocked.) If your writer’s block continues, you might seek counseling. Many therapists specialize in helping artists and writers reconnect with their creativity.”

“7. Work on More Than One Project at a Time.
Some writers find it helpful to switch back and forth from one project to another. Whether this minimizes fear or boredom, or both, it seems to prevent writer’s block for many people.”

“8. Try Writing Exercises.
As much as it may remind you of your high school writing class, writing exercises can loosen up the mind and get you to write things you would never write otherwise. If nothing else, they get words on the page, and if you do enough of that, some of it is bound to be good.” never thought you would go back to wanting someone to give you homework, did you

“9. Re-Consider Your Writing Space.
Are your desk and chair comfortable? Is your space well-lit? Would it help to try writing in a coffee shop for a change? Without being too precious about it — or turning it into another form of procrastination — think about how you can create or find a space you’ll look forward to being in.”

and the true kicker…

“10. Remember Why You Started to Write in the First Place.
Look at what you’re writing and why. Are you writing what you love, or what you think you should be writing? The writing that feels most like play will end up delighting you the most, and this is the writing your readers will instinctively connect with. At the end of the day, writing is too hard to do it for any other reason. If you continue to touch base with the joy you first felt in writing, it will sustain you, not only through your current block, but through whatever the future holds.”

Credit and Thanks to Ginny Wiehardt for these thoughts and tips.

so my fellow blocked writers – try a few of these out, see if they help you proceed in your endeavors – you started writing with a story to tell – so tell it!

the healing powers of a good run


if you had asked me a year ago “are you a runner” i would have said HELL NO, are you crazy? i was active a year ago, went to the gym now and then, enjoyed walks, did some yoga. but all the while i was a smoker (had been trying to quit since college graduation), i ate somewhat healthy food – but nothing to make a nutritionist swoon for sure.

anyway, now to the point. i mentioned in an earlier post the importance of routine. in that post, i explained that due to nature not giving me the strongest lungs and ankles running was difficult. i never pushed my physical and mental strength as a team to achieve the goals i knew deep down i could. i let doubt take me over. NOW – i know i can run any distance i push, prepare, and train my body for. i ran 5 miles at the gym tonight – sorry to gross you fellows out, but i worked up a good sweat, jammed to some fun tunes, and just got “out of my head” for a minutes. to feel untouchable, like you can block out the worries and the stresses of the world at least for those miles you choose to run – it’s just therapy.

not always easy to get started – but for all of your former “me’s” out there – once you do start – it’s worth it!

(disclaimer – you can also apply this to walking, yoga, aerobics, cycling, ANYTHING physical AND to anything mental – studying, achieving your work goals, organization, and much more)

have faith and you can do anything (cliche, but damn if it’s not true!)

before the jury


some people are born to be laid back, confident in every decision, and to top that off seem to have skin made of leather. nothing seems to phase, hurt, or distract them from what they have decided to do. this can be a good and bad quality. on one hand, you will be successful – you know how to get what you want and without too many emotions or second thoughts getting in the way, should have no trouble achieving your goals. on the other hand, you may end up trampling on some people and feelings along the way without ever realizing it.

i am always told by those around me that i am “too nice” “too sensitive” and “too quick to defend” – is that because i am surrounded by these tough skinned people who were born SURE about everything? just the fact that i am writing this post (and you will notice several others seem to include phrases like “i suppose” “others say” etc…) shows that i must feel the need to defend my nature and my typical actions – so fine, here goes:

let me state, (out to the random blogosphere of strangers-really brave, i know) that i am tired of being told that i am too nice, sensitive, and defensive. i admit these qualities have a tendency of making things more complicated than they need to be. but i pride myself in defending my professional and personal ability to accomplish the most detailed tasks and the more confrontational situations, all the while remaining considerate of those around me, and am strong enough to overcome any adversity i meet along the way – even if i don’t “trample over” it

so for any former or current doubters – i say STOP. i am fully capable of achieving what needs to be done in my own way. i am confident in my decisions, and if in the process of making decisions see nothing weak about asking for the opinions of those closest to me. i am sensitive and will always be – but that attribute enables me to empathize with nearly every person i have the pleasure (or pain) of interacting with.

not to gloat – but give me something to handle, and i’ll handle it

case closed (gavel sounds)

routine…the importance and the diffculty


many would agree that starting or getting into a routine is the most diffcult step, making a resolution is easy, sticking to it is another story.

take for example:
– a healthy diet (we aren’t talking a get thin quick scheme, but an actual life change in diet)
– an exercise plan (again, not to reach a goal and then stop, but a plan maintain strength, and health)
– a manageable way to complete daily tasks at work and at home
– (though listed last here and not always easy, this should always be priority) family and social time = mental health

i am proud to say that 2010 has thus far been a year in which this difficult start has finally clicked. i have been motivated to develop multiple routines and stay with them after seeing results. i strive to eat healthy meals and snacks (without killing myself or beating myself up if i slip once in a while), i have been successful in weight loss by balancing this healthy eating schedule with working out, in march, i achieved my goal of completing another race in the time i was reaching for (finally gathering the mental will to run a distance without stopping despite my former excuses of weak ankles and tough lungs), and i take pride in keeping an orderly home, on the norm – things are put away and though i dread sunday nights as the nights i must have everything prepared for the coming week including laundry, lunches, meal ideas for the week, and more – i feel accomplished when i have everything in order.

so, my question to other soon-to-be wives and eventually mothers (god willing) like me are, how do we balance all of these spheres of routine without getting exhausted? it has been approximately five months of consistent new juggling for me, and i can sometimes feel the tension of responsibilty to keep these “balls in the air” as they say for fear they will all drop and i will have to start from scratch again. if you must drop a ball, how do you choose which to drop? how does one with a nature such as mine avoid feeling like a failure for dropping any of them? i think a good point is made in observations of women my age setting an expectation of themselves to be successful in the workplaces, well liked, respected – as well as in the home, as a wife, mother, friend to other girlfriends dealing with similars wants and needs. what is the best way for us to support ourselves and each other

the older i get, the more i respect the generations before us who balanced more struggles than we can imagine (including war, the depression, lack of the technology and resources we have today). (there will likely be some elaboration on this at a later date)

thanks for “listening” and reading.

take me to your pillow


my physical being has officially retaliated today – i feel like a 3 year old squriming and twisting, taking my sweater on and off, putting my hair up and down – why is it that we have days when we absolutely can’t achieve comfort.

i wish i could be like my feline in this photo today!

%d bloggers like this: