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I’m struggling. I admit it. The only thing flowing out of me these days are low-paying online articles and that’s more like a trickle. I keep making deals with myself, that when I finish the income-producing work, then I can get creative. More often than not, though, I’m sapped after a day of kid rearin’ and service workin’. And I let myself get sucked into the online pleasure dome of social networks and blogs, etc. I admit I would rather read someone else’s great post than write my own mediocre one. Fortunately, I do find something worth seeing, and even learn a thing or two in my virtual escapades. I have been playing on Twitter more often, and definitely finding as many inspirations as distractions. And you know I like to share, because what is better than an excuse to procrastinate more? A: a reason to write, of  course 🙂

  • This link came across through someone’s tweet a few weeks ago and for some crazy reason appealed to me, so I saved it in my quick post sidebar (which has become something of a catchall for links and blog ideas.)…A post called 6 Tricks for Writing when You Don’t Feel Like It on Writer Unboxed which is a great collaborate blog for “genre” writers (btw, no offense, but I thought everyone wrote in some genre, but apparently that term has become common now for mystery/sci-fi/fantasy/etc writers)
  • One of the coolest developments born on Twitter are the tweet chats that are occurring regularly. Anyone can contribute or follow just by using the #(hashtag-yes, just like on the trending list, but better)… there are topics for just about everyone, including book chats (i.e. #followreader is mainly book bloggers and Tuesdays @ 7pm EasternTime is #TuesBookTalk) and writing chats like #writechat (Sundays 12-3pm PT), which is hosted by Writing Spirit who also has a very helpful and inspiring blog.
  • Speaking of hashtags, there are several writers can use, both to keep up with other writers and to keep oneself on track, including #writegoal, #amwriting and #writetip. I have found several new resources and blogs to read by checking out these lists. Warning, though, Twitter has been discovered by spammers, and they know how to use the tags too. I suggest going to interesting tweeters, then checking their actual blog/website link before adding them to your list. And do not hesitate to block obvious spammers. They deserve it.
  • If all else fails, I can ensure my place in literary culture simply by submitting a piece to the National Gallery of Writing. In conjunction with the National Day of Writing (October 20, 2009) this project is open for groups and individuals to contribute any form of writing (within specific limitations of course, this is sponsored by English teachers). Schools and classes are forming their own “exhibits” but submissions range from scientific essays and memoirs, to stories and poems. Frankly, some of the best pieces I have ever written were for English class, so maybe I should dust off one of those. 🙂 Write on y’all!

Thank you to Danielle over at Calliope’s Pen for bringing me back from my down swing. I guess i was burnt out after all of that forced creativity in April. I did finish the Poem-A-Day Challenge, writing several obviously rushed pieces in the last few days. Then I volunteered to read through not one, but two days worth of poems for Poetic Asides’ blogger Robert Brewer, who was under enough stress. It was a lot of poems. And a good lesson in itself. I feel more confident in my poetry writing now, but also know I still have a lot to learn and improve. Just when I was thinking I should give up on the novel writing and concentrate on other things, I was struck by another idea for yet another story, the kind where you wake up from a dream anxious to write it all down before it is gone again. That always feels good 🙂 So, even though I have not been on here, I have not been totally slacking, and I am working on getting back in the flow again. I still do not have  a job though. I guess we can’t really have it all…

PS: I am planning on doing a bunch of reviews in June, because I have also been reading [natch!].

Well, I am officially behind on the PAD challenge, though since they are pretty relaxed about when you post, I still can catch up. This is my ubiquitous I-just-need-to-post-for-NaBloPoMo-so-I-can-go-to-bed post. I have been using this blog and the poetry basically to escape, because it really isn’t something I “have to do” and it feels good to stretch old muscles, outside of the normal routine. But, meanwhile, I have worries and issues piling up and they are still there…plus, if you read the last one you may have some idea of what my house looks like. The kids are on spring break this week, so I get less time to myself, which of course cuts into writing and work time….yada, yada…

Also I am looking for work, real work, not freelance or sporadic assignments, but steady full-time income… and part of me is wondering how I am going to squeeze yet more in, but necessity calls. I don’t know which is harder to deal with sometimes, rejection for your creativity or rejection for your credentials… its all so frustrating either way. And draining…so goodnight friends. Hopefully, I will dream Shakespeare tonight and wake up with a sonnet in my heart 🙂

So my SAD seems to be affecting my flow…and it can’t be good for my Chi either. I have been procrastinating so much with my work writing that I don’t feel I can justify fun writing…but I miss it and have to remind myself that the blog does help my flow. I was contemplating how ironic my blog name is considering how little flow I have to show…when I began this blog, I was coming out of a long block and needed an outlet to write my never-ending opinions. I was also trying to learn more about the blog form and can say I have definitely achieved that goal.
I cannot say I am exactly blocked these days. I am writing [for-profit!] and still working on various creative projects. But I am at more of a trickle than a flow. Naturally, when I am struggling with work and rejection, I am not going to be at my peak creative performance, but the muse is still THERE…giving me dirty looks and whispering in asides. Quite aggravating. So why don’t I just get back into the flow already, what is holding me back? These are the kind of things I contemplate when I am internally berating myself for not finishing the novel or not submitting more often…not writing what I really want to write…
Anyway, I do not want to get to deep into the self-pity stage, but rather want to share yet another fab resource I have found for anyone who understood everything I just wrote.

logoarchetype

I was attracted by this site’s offer to help fiction writers with their characters’ psychological needs. I plan on sending my YA heroine to group therapy, and boy, does her mom have issues. So I want to get it right, right? Archetype [The Fiction Writer’s Guide to Psychology] offers just such a resource and then some: writing prompts, advice for submissions and agent searches, even worksheets to help newbie writers. There is also a Media Portrayals section [essays on psychology of characters] which looks interesting and will hopefully expand.

What I did not expect was to find answers to my own psychological needs (or at least the ones linked to writing). The site also has articles about creativity and the psyche, beating the dreaded block, even-and this floored me because it was like finding the answer to life-what is “writer’s flow”- no kidding: here’s the link

http://archetypewriting.com/articles/articles_ck/muse_block_ckFlowArticle.htm

It explains so much in such a succinct way. I read a few other pieces before I found that one, and I am going back for more. If you have any need to diagnose your protagonist, are looking for key characteristics of a disorder, or need a boost to your own flow, head on over. There is an Archetype Writing blog worth checking out too, and the site does accept article submissions as well. Frankly, I think they could add a forum and offer online therapy for those of us loony enough to love our writing lifestyles. Sign me up!

Creative Procrastination

Originally uploaded by Inkygirl

Yes, it’s still the topic of the season…whatever season it may be. I guess some folks may call it Spring Fever these days…though we are definitely having nasty, grey, non-springy weather here. Perfect for staying inside and playing on the web.    And May flowers…

The procrastination dilemma seems to be in the air lately or perhaps it’s all in my mind. [haha] Or is it even “procrastination”? I like the word “synthesizing” that Andrea Goulet used in her comment on my last post. It definitely puts a positive spin on the process. And it offers hope: someday all of the things wrestling in my head will all come together in beautiful harmony as one manifestation… man, i can’t wait. That’s gonna be awesome.
OK, so I’m being a bit facetious, but seriously, I am trying to look at the whole “block vs. flow” thing in a different light. Like I have said before, I really experience both, often simultaneously, and sometimes there’s a fine line, I believe. It can be almost as hard to control the flow as it is to lift the block. I used to feel hopeless and rather pathetic. What kind of “writer” doesn’t write? Or writes and writes and writes, but doesn’t let anyone read it? Or has anxiety attacks when trying to write a query? Well, as it turns out [she said with apparent glee] a whole lot of ’em.

In the last year, since I began focusing on freelance writing as a realistic career choice, I have been amazed, and yes, comforted by the masses of sites and blogs dedicated to writing. Of course, sometimes I feel like a really little fish in a big sea–insignificant. I almost didn’t start this blog, because honestly, we really don’t need another blog to improve the world, do we? But, at the same time, there is strength in numbers. Like I originally said, it is a learning process. Writing here has definitely helped my other writing, or at least it feels like I am producing something, which is better than nothing. And of course, I have found new resources and insights while exploring other blogs.

It was through Writer’s First Aid that I found out about If You Want to Write by Brenda Ueland, which I promptly ordered through PaperbackSwap. It’s subtitled “A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit” which sounds like my kind of book. This classic writing book, first published in 1938, and now the bestseller at Greywolf Press begins with these words:

Everybody is Talented, Original and Has Something Important to Say

What better pep talk could I get? I am only about half done reading it, but can tell you it is worth checking out if you have any blocks, anxieties or just curiosities about writing. She was also a writing teacher and took pride in helping “ordinary” people find their creative streak. In fact, as she says, this creative spirit can be applied to any career, hobby or interest.

Another great writing “block” book I am reading is Dennis Palumbo’s Writing from the Inside Out (2000). One thing he says that really stuck out for me is simply that the fact that we struggle with these creative feelings means that we are writers. Basically, if we didn’t ever question, worry, criticize, analyze… well, we wouldn’t be writing our best. Or as he puts it:

It’s only by knowing who we are, and accepting this with compassion, that we grow as people–and as writers. Moreover, if some feeling, painful or not, is in us, then it’s in our readers, our audience. The investigation and acceptance of our authentic experience, and our willingness to write from that place, are what make the end result compelling, funny, true.

He is actually a writer and psychotherapist who works on writer’s block issues a lot. I honestly had thought about calling my former therapist and asking if she knew anything about this phenomena before I found Palumbo’s book. Reading is my favorite form of therapy, though, and while it cannot replace real help when needed, I highly recommend it too.

Yes, as much as the web has to offer, I still turn to books. I believe that both of these forms of communication complement each other, rather than hurt each other. It’s easier than ever to get connected, to find publishing information, or to take a class and to explore, browse, play and yes, procrastinate, as well as write. Some of us even manage to do all of the above.  In case I haven’t shared enough diversions, here’s some more, to aid the synthesis process. Take some inspiration from Sherryl Clarke on Books and Writing. She used her downtime from writing her latest novel to create what could possibly be the new Novelist’s Creed. Now that’s creative procrastination…

Which leads me to the so-titled cartoon above that comes from Inkygirl, a blog dedicated to Diversions for Writers, including her amusing comic Will Write For Chocolate, which I believe I found through NaNoWriMo which could only exist on the web. Personally, I am using November as one huge anti-block exercise. After all, i love a good deadline like any procrastinator.

50 Ideas to Immediately Combat Writers Block « Andrea Goulet

OK… i came across this list when i was surfing around in the middle of the night, checking on some sites, researching, well, I was procrastinating, doing anything but writing which is what I got on here to do in the first place, but of course, first I had to check my mail and answer some messages and click this link…and another…

and I have to confess that reading this list was all the inspiration I needed [at least to come here] because it is pretty much a list of all the things I do anyway when I am procrastinating, I mean combating writer’s block…[which sounds so much better], but am I? I am a procrastinator from way back, in fact, I would have minored in it but I never got around to applying, though i definitely racked up the credits. At this point I have to admit that I am not so much blocked as I am slack… [Can I call it “writer’s slack”?] That’s what I mean by ‘flow’– I have ideas flowing out of most of my orifices these days but I am just not doing it enough…‘it’ being writing, producing…creating…

Sometimes I have so many thoughts and ideas streaming through me, I can’t stop and get them down…my best stories have never made it to paper. Is that even writing? When I was young, I couldn’t sleep at night until I followed a story through, in my head. They’re all still up there, bumping around, and of course, they have to compete with all of the anxieties and numbers and crap i have to remember and think of all damnday… I still can’t sleep with the noise going on in there, so I read other people’s books until I fall asleep…or get caught in the web where I read other blogs… other people’s words just to avoid my own…

Even this has become a diversion of sorts, but it’s also an exercise. Perhaps in futility, but like I said when I began this weblog, this is a learning experience. Aren’t they all?

Which somehow leads me back to Ms. Goulet’s list…another diversion perhaps, or maybe a checklist I have almost completed. Now that I have procrastinated enough and released the block, am I ready to work?

More pulp in media….

2007-09-16-simpsonarrested1Normally I would pass on the Juice, I find it hard to swallow all those chunks and I am definitely more of a java junky, but I am willing to discuss global warming and the BS that passes as news, and this piece by Bob Cesca in The Huffington Post wraps it all up in one hilarious breakfast burrito…

And in other news….

Yes, the Emmys are censored, duh… [don’t the pretty puppets know they aren’t supposed to think for themselves… just smile and read the script…] Sally, we still love you!- from a mother

But at least Gore finally won something he deserves. (hey it’s a start, and more than Reagan got in Hollyweird.)

And since Freedom of Speech is in the news and it’s football season I will add…

GO GATORS!

Glad to see the Independent Florida Alligator still does such in-depth reporting. Well, at least Kerry answered the question…[anyone know what the response was?] And did he have anything to say about the cries of “HELP!” echoing down the esteemed hallways? [I always miss the good stuff…Gene Simmons spoke when I was there, but I missed that too.]

I know this has nothing to do with writing so I will call it writer’s overflow… and I will stop procrastinating now… good day!

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