Our Mission Statement:

The mission of Pens & Pages Writers Guild is to facilitate and encourage writers of all genres, to share resources and tips about the writing process and, most of all, to provide a positive and productive forum that will encourage and support each writer in his or her creative endeavors.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Writing When You Can't Write

Her chest was tight and her breathing difficult. Breathe. Relax. Go back to sleep.... She coaxed herself to be calm. It was no good. Anne hugged her stomach. She felt like throwing up. The clock said 3 a.m.. She needed rest, but the exhaustion that first allowed her to sleep was gone. She wouldn't rest anymore... not until fear wore her out enough for fatigue to again release her.
What is Anne afraid of, cancer, a new job, foreclosure, a stalker? I don't know about Anne, but sending my son off to college this week terrifies me! So I get up and read a book until I can't resist sleep any longer, and the next morning I capture all my feelings in a journal entry for later use.

Times of change bring stress. Life careens out of control--much like entering a curve too fast. All you can do is deal with the moment and hold on. Such times often devastate our writing intentions, but they can be a foundation for better writing in the future. The key is to focus on the type of writing that can best be done in the situation, rather than to give up writing all together.

For me, the busyness and stress of sending a son off to college drove out the time and the motivation to do my mystery rewrite or romance rough draft. I don't have time to remember where I am in a story, let alone focus on it. Will I lose days, or weeks of writing, until the crisis is past? When life interrupts my writing goals, journaling keeps me from being unproductive. By journaling in times of crisis, I capture the tension of those times. I step into my writing mindset and examine my feelings. What better time to grapple with describing what it is like to be uncertain, terrified, or harried than when we are feeling that way ourselves?

Life's interruptions can be a writer's road block, or they can be our on-the-job training. Learning to communicate the intensity of difficult moments will bring our writing to life. So step back, observe, write, and maybe, just maybe, you will manage to preserve your sanity in the process. Sane or insane, you will have made the most of the moment as a writer.


Grannie Carol said...

Remember when your children were tiny little rug-rats? You thought "when they are grown, then I'll have time to think and do." I too had planned to put some creative juices to work once the kids grew up, left home, went to college, got jobs, married, produced grandkids, etc. Well, guess what! The worry about them never goes away. The creative flow is always going to be interrupted by something your children are doing. That umbilical cord never gets completely severed.
Grannie Carol

Solard said...

I was thinking that same thing today, Granny!

D, the post is right on, my friend. Use the time you have, in whatever way you can, it's all practice!


DJ said...

LOL, maybe I just need to imagine the worst, and make a great plot with it! As long as it remains fiction!