An open letter to Writer’s Block

Bust Writer's Block

Dear Writer’s Block,

Thanks to you, it’s taken me almost ten minutes to write this sentence. You’re the gag gift that comes with every blank page. The side of half-baked brussel sprouts with every meal.

You are more persistently irritating than a grain of sand nailed to the eyeball. You are a plague to writers around the world. You poison our creative wells with anxiety and depression to make sure we still suffer even when you’ve moved on to your next victim.

We cannot find peace even when you grow bored with us. For when you leave, we know you’ll come back. You always do. When we least expect it. When we most need you to leave us alone and let us work.

You, dear Writer’s Block, defy all reason and logic. Many, even fellow writers, simply don’t believe in you.

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Some of the best advice I ever got

 

BetterGetWriting

No one gets where they are by themselves. Positive or otherwise, we’re all shaped by the advice we choose to take or ignore.

These are some of the best bits of advice I’ve gotten over the years. When I follow it, I do better or at least feel better. Hopefully, you’ll find a bit or two that speaks to you.

Words of wisdom and stuff

Say it straight, then say it great.

Don’t depend on anyone else to inspire you. You have to inspire yourself.

Always go to the bathroom before you go into a meeting.

Have confidence in yourself. If you don’t, then don’t expect anyone else too. Know your worth.

Be your own creative director. Push yourself. Push your work. Push yourself as much as you want. Your director and partners can’t do it for you.

If something doesn’t sell the first time, keep it in your pocket. It might work next time.

Understand how you work. Know your own process. Be your own advocate.

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Creativity gone zombie?

CreativityGoneZombie

(Photo credit: AMC, The Walking Dead, Pilot)

Ever feel like your creative cup has run dry? Like the Sahara Desert, only without the beauty and mystery?

We’ve all been there.

For the past few weeks, I’ve had zero energy, inspiration or give-a-cares to devote to any creative pursuits outside of the fourteen marketing campaigns that are on my To Do List at any given moment. (I’m a copywriter; it’s my job.)

Until recently, I’ve felt pretty crappy about how uninspired I’ve been.

I mean, shouldn’t real writers be writing? Don’t we put a ton of pressure on ourselves to follow our creative passion at all times? I do. I also have a serious case of Imposter Syndrome, so when I’m not writing, I’m even more terrified of being discovered as a total fake.

Worse, if I’m not working on my creative or personal writing, does that mean I’ve turned into one of those ‘writers’ who call themselves writers but don’t actually write and instead just walk around wearing puffy shirts and correcting people’s grammar and wax mysterious when asked about their latest work? (That stereotype came from somewhere and whoever did it, sucks.)

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The day the prompt prompted anger

judgemental-cat-isjudging-lolcatI was stuck. Horribly stuck. For two hours, I tried. But nothing. No words. So I turned to Writers Digest for a creative writing prompt. The day’s prompt: Hello! I’m Captain Jiggles by Brian Clems in honor of Chuck Sambuchino’s new humor book, When Clowns Attack.

At first, I figured why not? I’m as stuck as a constipated slug crawling over tar; this is no time to be picky.

I skimmed the page. “Huh,” I thought. “He also wrote When Garden Gnomes Attack.” I just finished that book. It was cute. I was intrigued about this new offering.

Then I saw it. The dangling carrot of a free book for commenting on the prompt. And I could get a second entry if I tweeted about it? Sign me up!

Only I couldn’t.

I couldn’t comment.

I hadn’t logged in to the site.

Okay, I can roll with that. Pretty standard.

Hey, wait. I don’t already have an account? I’ve been visiting this site for years. I’m a magazine subscriber. Am I really that behind?

Okay, I’ll just create an online account.

Wait a minute. Why won’t it create my account? I just registered. I should be able to comment. Wait! Stop taking me back to your stupid Create an Account page! I just did that! Like five times already! You’re killing me, Smalls!

I JUST WANT A CHANCE AT A FREE BOOK!!!!!!

Oh. I’m already logged in. When did that happen?! AND WHY DID YOU KEEP TAKING ME BACK TO YOUR STUPID “CREATE AN ACCOUNT PAGE”?!?!

Okay, I’m back on the right page. I’m logged in. Here we go.

Wait, why is everyone posting their output from the writing prompt? Am I supposed to do that? What if I don’t want to? What am I supposed to post? Theirs are so good. I’ll look like an idiot.

I don’t want to look like an idiot. I already feel stupid and all I did was register! What the hell? WHAT THE FREAKING HELL?

Long story short, I managed to tweet but not comment. If you can, though, you might be randomly selected to receive one of three free books.

Here’s the link again: Hello, I’m Captain Jiggles

Yes, arguably, I shouldn’t even feel like giving this some free press, but it’s not Chuck’s fault that the Writer’s Digest user experience sometimes sucks. (Or maybe it’s just me but right now my right eye is twitching and quite frankly I think I’ve taken enough abuse for one morning.)

Also, I liked Chuck’s book, When Garden Gnomes Attack. Also-also, this blog is about what happens in the life of a writer, and I’m fairly certain that I’m not the only one who’s suffered deep emotional scars at the hands of confusing UX.

So there’s my altruism for the day.

(Looks up “altruism” to make sure I used it correctly. Yup, we’re good.)

Tip 1: Make sure you’re signed in.

Tip 2: Don’t try this at work. It’ll only confuse your fellow cube dwellers.

A Writing Fangirl Confession

LOLcat - Invisible Bow and ArrowI read an article on The Renegade Writer about the seven differences between being a writing fangirl or a real writer by Linda Formichelli.

The point of her article is that ‘fanfolk’ spend more time acting the part of a writer than actually writing. Real writers on the other hand, write.

Of the seven differences she outlines, number 4 hit a nerve in all the right spots.

Anyone looking at you, with your exclamation point tattoo and “Writer at Work” doorknob hanger, would think you are a writer. But…are you actually writing? Don’t delude yourself: A collection of quill pens does not a writer make. – Linda Formichelli

Note: I don’t have an exclamation point tattoo. If you’re gonna go there, go for an interrabang.

It’s the difference between a person who wears a thousand-dollar tracksuit to sit on the couch and another person who hits the pavement for a five-mile run every morning.

I have a confession.

Without knowing it, I was a creative writing fangirl for years.

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