I am always prone to what we call writer’s block and some people don’t believe in such a thing. I do. I hate it. It is my enemy. Yet, when I look at the times I have not been able to write, I see a pattern; I am usually in a storm of negativity.
I am a terribly romantic writer that felt my negativity could, in fact, be the reason I write what I write. You see, if I feel negative then I write down how I feel, why I feel this way. This can be buried away for weeks or even months but when I stumble upon it, it is material for something; a poem or a character. Negativity doesn’t inspire, it is dreadfully unhelpful in the moment, but it leaves me with something to work with one day.
During some of my most negative moments, I have always tried to maintain a sense of calm within my creative mind. I have taken some of the advice given by Virginia Woolf with regards to reading books and keeping a journal. I try to read as much as I can and I pick up books I would never usually look at. I write in my notebook regularly, a bit like a diary but I don’t write in it every single day and it never starts with “today I got up at 7.30am and ate my breakfast”. I dissect myself through my writing.
Lastly, I keep my eyes and ears open, wide. I get out of the house, I sit in a café and I see many characters, I overhear conversations on the train journeys I take. I observe, I gather it all in and I record it. When you start recording life you will certainly start to create a treasure trove of material when you are feeling stuck.
It has taken me many years to come to this, I have really struggled to overcome a block but what I truly believe is that we cannot just observe others in order to create, or simply be inspired by what is in front of us. We must be introspective, we must dissect and understand ourselves more in order to maintain creative order. If you feel down and can’t write, write about how you feel, not only is it good to get it out and use it one day but guess what? You are writing.
Don’t give up, don’t dismiss yourself as a writer and please don’t burn your work or move it all to the bin on your desktop. Put it aside and start again tomorrow.