I haven't looked at this blog in a long time.
In March 2018 my life was completely turned on its head when my dad passed away from cancer. It was, by far, the most difficult thing I have ever had to experience, and I am still dealing with it now. We all got to be there for his last days, and we spent a lot of time together. He was the strongest person I've known, and he remained so up until the end. I miss him so much, and every day since his passing has been a struggle.
How does this relate to writing? Well, after he passed, I found myself unable to write. I was completely shattered for the first couple months and barely did anything, but in the months after that, as I slowly began rebuilding my life and trying to heal, I tried numerous times to turn to writing. Writing has always been my way of dealing with everything in my life. It's solace and meditation to put words down. Even if they do not seem tied to things in my life, the act of writing soothes me.
But, now writing was impossible. I tried, but I just couldn't do it. No words would come. I've never struggled with writing. There have been times in my life when I didn't write as much, but I always at least kept a journal. I've never had complete writer's block until this past year.
I thought I was done writing. It made me depressed, but everything was changing, and I started to accept that this might be part of the change. Maybe I wasn't meant to be a writer. Maybe I had nothing else to share. My whole life I believed I was meant to write, but most of my beliefs had been shattered. Maybe this was just part of it.
It hurt, but I decided to move on and find other ways to keep writing in my life. I began narrating audiobooks, which I absolutely love, and I figured I was at least helping out other authors. I also started reading voraciously again, and I started a blog where I review books (mostly by indie authors). I could write about other people's work, and I wanted to help authors in any way I could.
Slowly, as I began to heal (and I am definitely still working on that), I began to have little snippets of ideas. I wrote them down, but that was it. Every time I sat down to write, the words would not come. I did begin keeping a journal again, but I did not feel that creative spark anymore.
I tried to be calm about it. I told myself that for all of 2018 I did not have to do anything. I didn't need creative projects. I didn't need to be busy. I just needed to be. Some days that was hard enough, so I approached my rebuilding with patience and kindness. Something I have never really given myself before.
With the start of 2019, something shifted. I felt drawn to writing again, and I started a few projects. Nothing took off, but it was more words than I had put down in a year. I was buoyed by this and started thinking more and more about writing. One day, an idea presented itself, and it stuck. I couldn't stop thinking about it. Then one day, I had to write it. It felt like an external force was driving my urge to write. It felt like it used to. I wrote out an outline - full story, even the ending, and then I started writing.
I'm still working on it weeks later. I know the whole story and just need to get it down. I love it and can't stop thinking about it. I'm finally feeling like myself - only wiser and with maybe a little more to say now. I think the story will end up being a novella, and I will keep this blog updated on my progress. Cannot wait to share it with the world, but for now, I am just happy to be writing again.
Feeling uninspired? We've all been there. Sometimes the creative juices are flowing so freely that there are stacks of notes and several unfinished projects covering your desk. Then it happens. The dreaded writer's block. You stare blankly at the computer screen. Your notebooks are covered in doodles but no words. You feel like you'll never write again. Here are some places to find inspiration when the well runs dry.
1. Read anything you can get your hands on. Books, magazines, internet articles/stories. It helps to read what others are writing. New characters or new information might spark something for you. If nothing else, you'll get to read some great writing.
2. Brainstorm. Sit down and write. Set a timer and write without judgement. You might remember this technique from school. It's a great way to get your thoughts out there. You can always organize them later.
3. Meditate. Sit down and get in touch with your mind. Daily stresses can get in the way of creativity. Let your mind wander freely without distraction and see what comes out.
4. Hop in the shower. There is no better place to think than the shower. This is my personal go-to when I need to work out a plot point, and many of the ideas that sparked a book or a play came up in the shower. Just make sure you write it down immediately after drying off.
5. Hang out with people (especially kids). Different ideas, personalities, and dress will give you lots of new ideas to apply to your characters. Just make sure you don't make it too obvious. Combine bits and pieces from several people to create a new person. I love working with kids because they are uninhibited creativity. They have funny ideas that can give you a new perspective on life.
6. Art/Dance/Theater. When in doubt, immerse yourself in someone else's creative endeavor. The arts have always inspired, and what moves you can easily be worked into your writing.
7. Remember your dreams. Write down the strange snippets and odd emotions of your dreams. They may not make sense in real life, but there might be something in there that can be turned into a great story or character.
8. New experiences. When life gets mundane, try something new. Not only will you benefit from challenging yourself, but you'll have a whole new world of writing inspiration.
9. Go for a walk. Or a run, bike, yoga class, etc. Exercise clears the mind, lowers stress, and can help get the creative juices flowing.
Em is a writer, theatre director, and hiker. She likes mixing horror with magical realism and adding sci-fi twist.