After wind, hail and blinding rain, we were left without power for a few hours yesterday. The sun peeked out briefly but not long enough to eliminate the need for candles. Without internet, WordPress or Twitter on my laptop I, of course, went to my iPhone.
Genius. Until I noticed it only had a 10% battery life left and no means of charging. After complaining, to myself, and feeling the heat begin to rise due to no A/C, I sat down and listened to the silence. Without the constant sounds of technology ringing in the background–I found, surprisingly, a little peace.
The stillness in the house didn’t create a flickering of candlelight, only a warm shadowed glow across the surface of my table. As I watched the shadow move slightly, I felt a weight lift from my shoulders. Silence has a strange power if you just listen and let go.
I wrote with pen and paper in the candlelight and the pressure I’ve placed on myself loosened.
I complain about being stuck and unable to break this wall I’ve built around my WIP. But as I sat and wrote, I realized beating my head against the wall isn’t what this is about. We get so caught up in writing the perfect novel, short story, etc… So caught up in all that surrounds us. All the Noise. The inbox alert, the tweet alert, the phone ringing, the text alert, our blogs and Facebook accounts. It’s so much and it’s no wonder we lose our place, our concentration and…our reason for writing in the first place.
Before realizing my battery was close to dead, I sent out a few tweets from my iPhone. Complaining. Lisa Kilian, a fellow writer, blogger (and editor), tweeted me back. You can find her extremely insightful blog here: Lisa Kilian’s Blog
She said that she wished her power was out. She needed to decompress. Now I know what she meant. If we stop and hear the quiet for just a minute and re-connect with the reason we write, the weight lifts.
Writing isn’t about readers or followers. It isn’t about the number of blog hits or Facebook fans we have. Writing is about us, the writer. You. Me. We write for ourselves because we have something to say. The rest is just bells and whistles. Icing. We can’t use the icing if we haven’t baked the cake.
Let there be light.
It may be upstream but I won’t stop. I know it may sound crazy, but my characters are what ultimately keep me moving. No matter how frustrated I may get or how many times I close the laptop and rest my head on the edge of the desk, they won’t let me stop writing. They are begging for their story to be told. And what can I say….? I owe it to them to make the most of this story and give it all I have. It’s a strange thing really. This is YA fiction, not reality, not a memoir. But the characters have become people. I’m guessing only my fellow writers can fathom where I’m coming from. As much as I may complain, it’s a good place to be.
Sometimes writers block leaves me staring out the window, hearing random dialogue in my head and drawing on my notes until the margins of the paper are indecipherable. It’s an automatic shut off. I’m sure all writers have certain ticks when writers block takes hold. Certain unconscious habits. Drawing, although never unlocks my brain, definitely unlocks the strain that accompanies the frustration of feeling stuck. Running helps when I have too many thoughts that I can’t organize. And writing nonsense streams of ideas helps when I think I have nothing to say. Drawing on the other hand is this whole other door way I can walk through and feel a sense of calm. Art has had an incredible impact on my life. I have and have had many talented artists in my life, all of whom I commend for their gift and passion. I never really thought about how writing and painting or drawing related but now as I look over my pages of notes covered in fine print drawings, I realize the two are walking hand in hand in my life–that these two creative art forms have always walked side by side for me. Not sure why it took me so long to realize that. I suppose some times in life it can be hard to see what is standing right in front of you.
I’m reminded of my post: How To Write And Stay Focused. Today as I’m staring at my laptop screen, I realize that I didn’t mention much about how to get through writers block in that post. It’s because I don’t hit writers block often but when I do, like today, I’m not so sure how to get passed it. I mentioned that The Duck Pond would be very challenging for me to write, well…here we go. I’m challenged. I hit these walls with this novel that I haven’t run into with Legend or with The Guardians of Historia (the third novel I’m writing) and nothing I do seems to help. So I write these random blog entries to loosen my brain a bit. Sometimes it works. The problem I have with The Duck Pond really, is the subject matter. It’s close to my heart, maybe a little too close. Although I am a fiction writer and this will be a book of fiction, there are some elements that are based on true events. For me, that makes things difficult which is the reason I keep walking away from it, picking it up, putting it down and not finishing it. But I am determined this time around and I will finish it. Maybe the treadmill will unlock the vice I have gripped around my brain…or maybe it’s gripped around my heart. Maybe both. Run, run, run.