Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Stuck Like Old Chewing Gum?

Writers are filled with neurosis. With all the time spent alone trying to work out a story, thinking being the major occupation, it is inevitable thinking about one’s self will be in the mix; about one’s place in the world, one’s place in relationship to other writers and other human beings or any number of subjects in the known universe—or outside it. A distraction.
Guilt is a major weakness to be chewed on and spit out. Anything we feel we should be doing and are not comes into the mix.
Mental trips rotate around our mind like a merry-go-round about our writing. “My work is superior, why isn’t it recognized as such?” Or, “My writing sucks, it’s not up to par, what if everyone hates it?”
Then there is writer’s block or lack of inspiration. “Maybe if I fix my work schedule and update my priorities, and avoid procrastination, and drum up some motivation—and maybe even find that perfect writing program that will simplify the whole writing process. . . .” And on and on.
Oh, and sarcasm. Lots of sarcasm pours out of molting writers.
Until finally that book or story is finished. And then the promotion and marketing begins. . . . "How can I promote enough but not too much? I don’t want to aggravate people.”  I can’t/don’t want to do that!”
So what’s a writer to do when he/she is too much in his head and is stuck on any number of subjects or processes?
Stop thinking. Take a break from your mind.
Meditate or take a walk and feel the air on your skin, listen to the sounds around you – or the sound of silence. Let your senses take in the world. Tamp down the processes you overuse and need a break from (thinking and seeing) and instead focus on smell, touch, taste – intuition. Give it enough time and you will feel the ideas, inspiration, motivations return as they slowly seep in or quickly pop up.
Sometimes that’s all we need to do and the last thing our mind lets us do. It wants to ‘figure it out at all costs.’ So, maybe it is time to forcefully pull the plug and get yourself some space. Give yourself a break when it seems you have the least amount of time. If it gets you past that stuck, resistant place, it is gaining you time in the end.
Oh, by the way, this works for anyone, not just writers. Then, when you're unstuck, pop in a fresh stick of gum and begin chewing all over again.

Do you have a process you use to get un-stuck? I'd love to hear about it.