Saturday, September 01, 2018
5 Tips on Writing Through a Difficult Time
1) Don't let location inhibit you.
I don't know about you, but often times I have this image in my head that I'm supposed to be writing at my grand handmade oak desk facing out my 30 acre backyard in a chilly fall day with the sun shining in through the window. Realistically speaking, that isn't how I write at all. In the midst of a bad day, the best chance for me to write is wherever I'm at. How? Many times, I use an app. The one I use is called "JotterPad." The interface works for me and it syncs up with Google Drive, so my files are saved. I have written far more thanks to this app than if I waited for that perfect moment in the perfect setting.
So, let writing find you wherever you are. Stuff a notebook in the kitchen that you can grab easily. Write by email that you add to throughout the day at work. Write on post it notes at you leave at your desk. Text yourself story scenes.
2) Keep it in sight.
I don't do much of it these days but I do like to handwrite on occasion. Keeping my notebooks in view is my link back to easier days of writing. Often times, I read through these notebooks and it inspires me. If you are blocked, read through past work. I'm not talking about the published stuff. I'm talking about notebooks and files that contain incomplete stories, the handwritten drafts that are practically illegible and the scraps of ideas that you read and can't figure out why it ever inspired you at all. Keep in touch with your writing and it won't be so unreachable when you are ready to return and you never know, you may just start writing.
I love to write fiction but I sometimes need to empty my brain. I pull out my journal and just write things out. It's private, it's for me, and it's simply something that helps me process the world around me. If you don't have an official journal, just start typing out your thoughts on some kind of notepad on your computer. You will be surprised the kind of difference this makes and how much it unclogs your brain and relieves stress.
4) Listen to music.
You know what inspired my latest writing session? Listening to music. It was a stormy Sunday night and my mom and I were cooking dinner and we put on music. Usually on Sunday nights I'm fighting the blues badly but I let myself really enjoy the music. I listened. Really listened. When I sat down to relax, I got a spark of inspiration and I went with it. I ended up finishing a story that has plagued me for so long (using my app!) and I'm now in the revision stage. So, put on headphones and put away distractions. Listen to music that just speaks to your soul. And really listen. You may just be surprised at what spark of creativity inspires you!
5) Give yourself a break.
In the midst of a bad time, sometimes you need to give yourself a break. Yes, I'm sure we all know that discipline is one of the most important factors for being a writer. Yet, sometimes we just need a break. Writing will wait. In the meantime, consider reading things outside of your comfort zone. Buy coloring books and crayons at the store and get in touch with your inner child. Do stream of consciousness writing. Bad times can feel like forever, but they do change, even if it's ourselves that change. So my last piece of advice is simple, take it easy on yourself. Writing will be there when you're ready.
How do you write through the bad days?
Nicole Pyles at 4:00 AM