I stand in the mist and cry, thinking of myself standing in the mist and crying, and wondering if I will ever be able to use this experience in a book. ~Erica Jong, Fear of Flying
Happy Thursday! I’ve been holed up in the one remaining tower of Muse Headquarters that wasn’t destroyed by, ahem, experiments in Amanda’s lab. I miss hanging out and cleaning up whatever goo flood the lab or whatever substance is on the walls in the dungeon, but right now, the tower is where I need to be.
Sometimes, words can fail even the most prolific writers. I’ve never been one to make excuses or listen to them, but there are times life legitimately throws you for a loop and the words retreat. It’s hard not to panic, but of course they will return when I’m ready for them.
Here’s the thing about writing. There are natural fallow times that are part of our creative cycle. Then there are times we are sick or overwhelmed with life, and even our solid routine and writing habits leave us at a tenth of our normal word count.
This is the time to take notes.
If you can’t write fiction or concentrate on a coherent article, take notes on what’s going on. Record your feelings, reactions, and generally have a good brain download onto paper. There are two reasons for this. The first is that it lets you keep a hand in, so to speak, and keep getting something down, even if it doesn’t feel worth the ink it’s written with. The second is that, when we are dealing with life like that, there are valuable bits of gold in the experience. Writers are memory banks, and recording what’s going on files things away in those memory banks for later use.
On a side note, this also goes for introverts who find themselves face to face with far too many people day after day. That’s enough to slow the word river to a drip all by itself. Just trust that seasons change and so will your circumstances. Take notes.
A year from now, I’ll go through what I’ve written in the last two weeks and find plenty of fodder for characters and plots, I’m sure. I count on it. Writers have a wonderful tool for dealing with life. “Everything that doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. And later on you can use it in some story.” (Tapani Bagge).
I feel a bit odd writing this post. Writers who have a history of high word count or regular, daily writing habits just don’t stop writing. They don’t give excuses. They don’t wait for inspiration. They write. Oh how the smart-arse writer has been brought low. I concede. Sometimes life just pushes the words away. Taking notes is a good way to coax them back.
To be an artist means never to avert one’s eyes. ~Akira Kurosawa
How has written observation during “course adjustments” benefited your writing down the road?
Author’s Note: It’s just a car accident. Unpleasant for anyone. Life goes on, of course. 🙂