I’ve been bothered a lot lately about my writing. Mainly, it’s the lack of writing. It’s the lack of being a writer. At first, I thought this was just a post-holiday funk, but after looking at my writing habits for the last few months, I found my writing “block” might go much further than a mere funk.
Over the summer, I participated in a writer review group where I read and reviewed another author in exchange for a review of my own book. I read some good books and some not-so-good books, but because this was an obligation read, it sucked the fun right out of it. I was reading for the review.
After the group ended, I became disinterested in reading in general. Hell, I didn’t even want to read comic books. This all happened about the time I wrapped up Soul Seekers, which marked the time from which my writing habits completely disintegrated before the holidays.
Leaving me here, looking back and wondering what went wrong.
Reading is a huge part of writing, a part that slipped away from me. I was reminded of this last night while reading a post on Reddit. The question was “Do you always have to be reading to be a writer?” and one of the most poignant answers was this:
A musician never asks, “Do I Always Need To Be Listening to Music?” They just listen to music, always.
Wow. How had I let this important lesson slip by me? I’ve always loved to read, but somehow in the last few months, my “love” for reading turned into a chore that simply vanished. But why?
Perhaps because my love for books had begun to decline. Since publishing Spirit Summoner over a year ago, I’ve easily spent most of my “writing time” doing things like marketing. Blog posts take up a lot of the gaps in between, as does editing, leaving very few hours of actual writing time.
Since becoming a published author, a little piece of me has become turned off to the idea of books. I’ve forgotten about the fun and adventure one can have with a book. So how do I go about changing my perceptions?
Like a true Bookaholic, admitting I have a problem is the first step. The first thing I did this morning was pull a book from my shelf, one I’ve been meaning to read for a while now, as well as load a couple books on my Kindle app. Coupled with my own techniques for curing blocks (I posted about this last week), I hope to turn my funk around quickly.
I’m really looking forward to reacquainting myself with my love for reading again. Please, if you have any suggestions for reading, I’m all ears!
The holidays always seem to screw with my rhythm. This applies to just about every aspect of my life, but mostly with my writing. Travel and parties that take up the weekends, plus the stress of spending and obligation that comes along with the season, always make it hard for my mind to focus. This results in a loss of activity when it comes to writing, which eventually turns into...stagnation...or writer’s block as many people call it. I tend not to believe in writer’s block though. What I have is a breakdown in will.
So how do I plan to beat the breakdown? Why figure out some new strategies, of course:
My wife and son hate them, but they do the trick for me. I set an alarm on my phone to go off every two hours, and I picked one of the most annoying ringtones I can find (I use the Prometheus siren). When the alarm goes off, it jars my consciousness away from whatever I’m doing and reminds me to come up with an idea. It could be a blog post idea or something to do with my writing. Whatever the case, it’s doing the trick. My mind and body are slowly moving back into a familiar rhythm.
Putting an ACTUAL pen against ACTUAL paper is one of those techniques that are going away in the new digital age. However, sitting down in front of a computer screen lately has become something of a bore for me. I sit. I stare. I peck at the keys. This is no fun at all. One day, I slid the laptop off my desk and whipped out a pen and paper. Sure enough, within a few minutes, the writing poured out of my head. I remember going through fits like these over the years where I’ll write for months with a pen and pad, but transcribing it all into the word processor can be a chore. Nothing beats the feeling though.
Sifting through my old writings is also helpful in finding new rhythm. I recently came across an old story of mine that I’d long forgotten. Reading through it helped me see flaws and think of new routes in which to clean up the writing and tell the story clearer. Simply reading the story was a huge help in finding my new rhythm, which brings me to my last point...
Reading, while easy to dismiss, is easily one of the integral parts of good writing. Reading is usually the reason we all started writing after all. The holidays tend to screw with even our deepest set habits, and after the holidays ended, I found that reading had definitely fallen off my radar. So, I’ve lined up some books both old and new, and I’m intent on getting some reading done as my new ideas churn through my brain.
If you have any ideas or suggestions for finding a new rhythm in the new year, please let me know!