When the words flow, our creative juices whet the appetite for more. Writing becomes enjoyable work. But when we have to fight ourselves to keep in the chair and force our fingers to keep typing – then we wonder why in the world we ever chose to do this mammoth task.
Most of the time, when I sit in front of the computer – my fingers just take off. But occasionally, I have to force feed the sentences and that’s when I try to discover what has stalled my creativity.
Perhaps it is one of the following:
- Lack of sleep. I know some writers crawl out of bed hours before they need to be at the “other” job or they stay awake long after Letterman says, “Goodnight.”
But I can’t do that. If I don’t get my regular eight and sometimes nine hours of rest, I invite sickness, crankiness and all sorts of nasty attitudes. Nay, nay. To be creative, I must sleep.
- Stress. Neck muscles tighten. Blood pressure soars, and a headache begins to throb. Stress visits through unpaid bills, too many night-time activities when I don’t get the afore-mentioned shut eye or when anything at all happens to affect the car.
In my opinion, any type of car problem equals stress which results in stalled creativity. I find nothing at all creative about oil changes that turn into leaky hoses, bald tires or anything at all that is goofy in the transmission. I might have less stress if I just bought a horse.
- Wrong Direction. Sometimes we have to write a while to find out which direction the characters want to go, but if we come to a block where nothing is happening and we’re bored with our own words, creativity stalls.
That’s when the writer reverses gears, discovers a new character or resorts to binging on chocolate.
- Fear. What if no one wants to read my incredible manuscript? What if I write and write and no one ever nominates me for the Pulitzer Prize? What if an asteroid hits the warehouse where all my books are located and obliterates every word that I have so carefully crafted?
The what-ifs with their roots in fear equal stalled creativity.
- Guilt. So you decided to spend several of your precious hours working on your novel, but life interrupted and you didn’t get it done. Now you feel guilty because you’re supposed to write every day (that’s what they tell you in the conferences) and you haven’t done it.
That monstrous guilt voice overpowers you and stalls your creativity. You decide God probably didn’t call you to write after all, which adds to the guilt because real Christians are supposed to know what God wants them to do.
So how do writers unstall and move forward?
I don’t know, but I’ll figure it out in the next post. Right now, I’m feeling stressed and I need to sleep.
©2013 RJ Thesman
RJ – How many times have I lacked sleep only to suffer through the next day of writing? Your post is spot-on and timely. Thank you for it.
Shanna / LipreadingMom.com
Glad to know I’m not the only one who needs her sleep! Thanks, Shanna.
I can relate to all these – and don’t always realize it when I’m “trying” to write.
Yep. Me, too, although I find my creativity increasing with the writing of fiction. I guess it was always there but was sometimes stuck in the facts and figures of nonfiction research. Writing blog posts helps, too – as you well know!