Writer’s Block Or Life Block?

typewriterrrr.jpgI was reading Writing Magazine a few days ago and came across an article about writer’s block. It’s something I have always struggled with. I go through phases of no writing at all and I always blame it on writer’s block, I either have too many ideas and can’t seem to pick one or unfortunately, sometimes, I have no ideas at all.

I’m sure all writer’s can relate to this, the ongoing struggle to get the beautiful poetic voice in your head to somehow find its way to the page, to find the right words and put them in the right order and to finally turn an idea into an actual story. However, I’m starting to realize, after reading this article mainly, that it may not be writer’s block.

Every writer has their ‘perfect mood’ to write. Some wait until the world is falling apart around them to finally get a poem on the page and some have to be in a happy state of mind to even consider putting pen to paper. I am the latter. I’ve been through a lot of personal struggles and during this time, I haven’t been writing. Now I feel I am moving away from the shadows and finally feel myself again, I want to write.

Strange isn’t it? Maybe I was intentionally choosing to let life block my writing muse? The events of my life were forcing me to ignore the writer in me. I was so focused on just getting through each day and understand the range of emotions I was feeling. I was failing to do the one thing that helps me get through almost anything and that is to write about it.

I feel like my ongoing battle with depression and anxiety has not only killed my happiness, but my confidence too. I had no belief in myself that I could write anything good, so I didn’t write at all. Silly really. I shouldn’t care if my writing is good or not, I should do it because it’s what I love to do. Only now that I am on the other side of a long, dark tunnel, do I actually see what I have been doing all of this time.

Now, I don’t know if this feeling of being myself will last. So I’m going to make the most of it. My typewriter is sitting on my desk, waiting for me to carve words from my mind and piece together something beautiful. I’m going to do what I do best, I’m going to write and no amount of self-doubt is going to stop me, not this time!

Advertisements

Good Things Come To Those Who Work Hard

goodthings

Today is the day I’ve been waiting for, I’ve finally got a job. It’s been a year since I graduated university with a degree in Creative Writing and it’s been a tough year with a lot of rejection and a lot of disappointment but perseverance has finally paid off. When they say good things come to those who wait, it’s true but you also need to work hard and not expect anything to be easy. When I left university, I was blindly optimistic and perhaps a little naive, I thought I would get a job straight away. It’s fifteen months later and I’ve finally landed to job that I wanted. I am finally going to get paid to write. Good things are finally happening for me.

It’s been a long year and I have struggled with having no money, no job and no sense of purpose. There were some days that I didn’t want to get out of bed because I didn’t see the point. I was frustrated by the lack of momentum in not just my career but my life, I felt stuck. However, I managed to live day by day, I did my best to stay positive and I never stopped believing in myself. Now I can say that I have made it through. Years of working for magazines for free and now I will be paid to write for Female First, an online magazine that I previously worked for two years ago. They were impressed with me during my internship and contacted me directly when the freelance position came available. I believe that this will be a great opportunity for me and it’s definitely a step in the right direction.

I am learning that if you really want something in life you have to stay positive, work hard and believe that you can do it. I still have a long way to go, I don’t know where I will be working or what I will be doing in one year, five years or even ten years but if there is anything I have learnt from being in limbo waiting for a job it is this, you have to live day by day. Think about the future sometimes but don’t focus too much on it, don’t dwell on what you don’t have, what you haven’t achieved and what you will never be. Focus on being present, live your life with a positive attitude and be grateful for what you already have.

Writers Write

There is nothing more frustrating for a writer than a blank page.

For the last few months there has been a lot of blank pages. I have made no progress with any of my writing projects. I haven’t settled on an idea yet for a novel, I’m not writing poetry or short stories. I’m struggling to write articles and I have to sit down and remind myself to constantly update this blog.

It’s like I have nothing to say. I try my best to write but the words don’t come. I sat down at my typewriter a few days ago. I started to write a short story. I got about ten lines into it when I decided that it was rubbish, I threw it away and sat there with my head in my hands. I was frustrated with myself and I still am. Why can’t I write at the moment? I feel like I have lost all of my confidence and I have no ideas, nothing.

Writers write but right now, I’m not writing. I don’t know what to do. I feel like I have tried everything. I have given myself time, I have tried to read a book to try and get inspired, I have tried writing prompts. Some writers have to feel pain or sadness to write, for me, I think I need to be happy. At the moment, I’m not entirely happy. It’s hard to explain. I feel tired but it’s a tiredness that cannot be fixed by sleep. I don’t find writing enjoyable right now and this is hard for me because writing has always been an escape. I feel like life is trying to bring me down but I have to try and stay positive.

One day soon I will pick up my pen and write, for now, all I can do is wait until that happens…

 

 

Letters To Emily

I’m still amazed that I completed NaNoWriMo in 2014. I set myself the challenge to write 50,000 words in 30 days. I completed it and now I feel like I am ready to write another novel. Writing 1:58 was an amazing experience, I finally finished a novel. It was a big achievement to actually finish something. 1:58 is technically a novella but it’s definitely given me the confidence boost that I need to move forward.

I learnt a lot from the NaNoWriMo experience, I found that discipline was extremely important and I learnt to turn off my editor voice in my head and just write. I really loved the characters in my story but once I wrote the finally word and ended it with a full stop, I knew that the plot definitely had to change. My original story fell flat and I knew I could do better. That’s when I started to plan Letters To Emily.

There were many different titles but I’ve decided to settle on Letters To Emily because it fits the idea I have in my mind perfectly. I’m still using the character’s Eleanor Hemming and Lacey Collins because I loved writing about their lives in 1:58. However, instead of the story being centred around two babies that were switched, I’ve decided to change it to a child that is taken.

Now, I know that the idea has been done many times before but there are a few twists and turns that I have planned to make sure that my novel stands out. There will be many different forms in the novel. Letters and messages will be embedded into the narrative and the story will not only focus on the lives of Lacey and Eleanor but their daughters Charlotte and Erin and let’s not forget Lacey’s husband Ben.

A big secret will change the lives of both families and I want to focus on how a tragedy can effect a family. I also want to write about the bond between mother and daughter and another layer to my story is how the internet has become an important part of our daily lives. Charlotte and Erin meet on an online chat room, they become friends and confide in each other about the daily problems that they both face. Erin feels disconnected from her mother Eleanor, they never stay in one town for long and she finds it difficult to meet new friends. Charlotte is tired of constantly being in Emily’s shadow, her mother is still obsessed with finding her daughter even though ten years have past. Ben doesn’t know if he can save his marriage and Lacey is either running her bookshop or posting in an online forum about missing children.

I am confident that this is the book that I want to write. I know that 50,000 words is achievable in 30 days so I shouldn’t have an issue with writing 80,000 to 100,000 words with no deadline. Of course I would love to finish the first draft of the novel by the summer, so I can edit it and make it better and hopefully get it ready for publishing by the end of this year.

I Love Being A Writer


I love being a writer. Why you ask? There are many reasons… I love that writers think differently to other people. We see the world in a unique way and we have an ability to create, turn a blank page into something beautiful. Our minds are never empty, we’re always thinking in rhymes and metaphors and we not only want to write, we feel like we have to.

I love being a writer. It’s an amazing euphoria to escape into a character’s world and decide their fate. I love the way words can blend together and inspire others, I love the way black ink looks on a white page and I love the smell of old books and the fresh aroma of a book that has just been printed. I have pens scattered around the house, knowing that inspiration can strike when I least expect it. I could be drifting off to sleep and an idea ignites in my mind like a flame, I have to write it down so I can explore it in the morning.

I love being a writer but sometimes it’s hard. Writers are sensitive beings, we have to keep our emotions at the surface and call us judgemental if you wish, it’s our job to be. We have to analyse the people and the world around us, we have to see the flaws and we live to make assumptions. A person on the bus, a family member or a stranger walking his dog, anybody can ultimately become a character in our minds, so watch out! Writers have a natural curiosity. Being a writer is an important job. We have to create something from nothing. We have to inspire, make readers cry, laugh, smile. We have to paint a picture and make words dance on the page.

I love being a writer. I feel like I am part of a secret club, the non-writers in my life think that I am weird, quirky, posh and emotional but the writers out there know that these qualities are what we all possess. We all have the same burning passion in our hearts. We all hide away in a secluded room and pour our hearts onto a blank page, it’s exhausting, it’s amazing and it’s therapeutic.

I love being a writer.
I love being in a world where words are everything.
To put it simply, I live to write and I write to live.

 

The Muse Has Returned

152039262

For a while now I have been leaving my novel alone, not intentionally of course. I’ve been avoiding writing all together. I don’t know why I do it. I love to write. I feel better when I write. I ignore my compulsion to write. Why do I depriving myself of it? I’ve figured something out about my writing process though in the last few days. I can’t focus on just the one writing project. I blame university for that. I got so used to juggling several projects at once, short stories, poems, scripts and novels that I can’t help but do the same thing now I have finished my degree (I got a 2.1 by the way, go me!!). So now I’ve started a new poetry collection from scratch, a new short story collection and I’m carrying on with my novel. I don’t understand the impulse I have to do this but it’s worked, my muse has returned.

Today I have written two poems, I have three new story ideas for my short story collection and I have started writing chapter nine of my novel I Choose Life and it’s only 1pm! Hopefully this will be the end of my writers dry spell and I can finally get something done. I love the feeling of finishing a piece of writing but I have yet to complete an entire first draft of a novel. That will change by the end of the year. If I work hard, I can get my first draft done by the end of December. Most writers claim that the editing stage is the hardest but I think I might find that easier than getting the story written. The problem is, I question myself. I think about all of the things that I am going to change once I get to the second draft stage and I really need to focus on just writing the story from beginning to end.

I need to believe in myself like I do when I write short stories or poetry. Anyone who claims that writing a book is easy, obviously isn’t putting their heart and soul into it. Anyone can write words but it takes a truly disciplined person to be a writer. Although I sometimes lack motivation and give in to the negativity that tells me that my writing isn’t good enough I know that I have the strength to eventually start writing again. There is no way that I am giving up. I will finish the first draft of my novel. I might decide in the second stage of editing that I hate my story and I no longer want to pursue it, if that happens then I will still be pleased that I reached the milestone of writing a 50,000 word draft of a novel.

I’m going to leave it there because I have to get back to my novel. Then I have to write another article for Women Make Waves. Then I might start another short story this afternoon. My mind never stops. I might need another two coffees to help me but today is definitely going to be a great writing day!

Poetry Is

poetryis
Poetry is freedom. Poetry is emotion. Poetry will always be whatever you choose for it to be.

It is hard to define poetry because poetry can be anything you want it to be. It can be one word placed in the middle of a page. It can be fifteen pages long if you want it to be. There has to be rhythm but does there have to be rhyme? I used to believe this. That poetry had to rhyme but now I have opened my eyes and my mind and now I really stand by the statement that poetry can be anything you want it to be.

I have been writing poetry since the age of five. It is something that I naturally do. The voice in my head creates metaphors, phrases and rhymes. I write them all down and create something wonderful that describes my feelings, my thoughts and my emotions. Each poem I write is another snapshot image of a memory of mine, a piece of writing that paints a picture, words that capture my interpretations of the world.

Although my Creative Writing course includes a poetry module, I strongly believed that poetry should not be taught. I found the module to be pointless and a little bit tedious at times. I didn’t want to learn about poetics, I just wanted to write poetry! I thought it was a waste of time until my teacher’s reaction to my work persuaded me to change the way I write my poetry and I am glad she did.  My poetry teacher blatantly told us that we couldn’t write poems that rhymed for our portfolios. What? I was in disbelief… I have been writing poetry for about fifteen years and more times than not, I used rhyme.  Of course this surprised me, I went against her wishes and wrote the poems that I wanted to write. I then showed her the first draft of my collection and she quite literally crossed them out and muttered ‘too many cliches’, ‘too many rhymes’, ‘I don’t like that.’ That’s her opinion of course and this is why I believed that poetry should not be taught. The marking is too subjective. How can one poem be compared to another?

However, sometimes people have to be cruel to be kind and I took my poetry collection away and tried to write something different to prove her wrong. I started to write my second drafts, I removed some of the rhymes and cliches, I played around with different styles, line breaks and formations and recreated my portfolio. I definitely surprised her when I received my final mark, not only did I receive a high mark but also a comment that it was good enough to be published. Okay, so maybe I was wrong. Poetry can be taught. Kind of. Or maybe not. It was her opinion that pushed me to change my poetry but she did not teach me what was right from wrong. I think my point is that a writer can be taught and guided to improve their craft but it is a different thing entirely to say that one poem is the right way to write poetry and another poem is the wrong way. I still write rhyming poems but the strong opinions of my lecturer’s taste pushed me to try something different and step out of my comfort zone. I still use rhyme in some of my poetry but now I have the confidence to write poetry that is a little bit more original… and that is a great lesson I learned on a module that I originally didn’t believe should exist.

Impossible & Possible Dreams

dreammmm

When we are little we have wide eyes when it comes to the world around us.. Eyes that are full of wonder and unimaginable possibilities like being a princess, an astronaut or a film star. But we grow out of these impossible dreams and start to wonder about the possible dreams we can reach. We realise that the world doesn’t owe us anything and we have to dream possible dreams rather than impossible ones. We realise that there isn’t a plan for each and everyone of us and we have to make our own decisions and our own mistakes. I have had my fair share of dreams and even though I am young I have changed my path more than I should have. But what happens when you are frozen and unable to realise your next dream? Waiting for the next calling to come along like warmth in the winter to show you the way? I feel this way at the moment. I am searching for another dream.

My youngest childhood dream was to be a mermaid, bare in mind I was three years old and I actually believed that Ariel was real and crabs really did sing, but that is my earliest memory of dreaming and I was quite an imaginative child. I grew up wanting to be a number of things, an actress on TV was a big dream of mine, I also wanted to be a poet at one point and I had a phase of wanting to be a fashion designer (I was unaware of the fact that I couldn’t draw at the time). When I was old enough to understand what I really wanted I settled on being an actress. The people around me knew it was very unlikely that it would happen but I was oblivious, ambitious and in my own bubble. I really wish I wasn’t in my own bubble though sometimes, I don’t regret having that dream or trying to reach it, I just think if I was a little less ambitious at such a young age, I would have released my potential to maybe excel in something else. But we learn from these experiences, I learnt that I was ‘acting’ confident when I was performing and I was ‘acting’ like someone I wanted to be but I wasn’t being true to myself.

Since quitting performing I have realised this, I wasn’t being my true self and even though as a result my confidence has suffered, I realised that it was a pipe dream, that’s all it was ever going to be. I then decided to take a leap of faith and do a creative writing degree, I wrote as a hobby and I wanted to go to university to pursue a career in my passion. Sometimes I feel a little pinch of regret, I rushed into studying at university and I know that I do not have another option to go back, if I wish to change career paths again. I know there are many different jobs I can get with my degree, once I complete it. Publishing, journalism, article writing, marketing and advertising, editor and many more. I would love to be a novelist but it is simply a hobby, you can not make a living from it. Unless you are J K Rowling then maybe you can. I feel like I am stuck at the moment and I don’t know what to do next. Dream wise that is.

For the first time I have no impossible dream, no goal and no drive. I just want to be happy in the future, of course I want kids and a nice house and a good job. But the good job is blank in my mind, like a white piece of paper with no inscription. I have no dream to reach and I am finding it difficult because dreaming big is what defines me. It is a big part of my personality. I am a dreamer. I know I should let the future write itself but I am a perfectionist, I like to be in control. I need to start thinking about my future soon because it waits for no one, not even me. Maybe it will hit me one day, maybe I will realise what my purpose is and what I should be doing?

I know I love to write. I know I love to sing. I know I love to play the guitar. But all of these things remain hobbies because I haven’t got the confidence to pursue any of them. It saddens me that I will never be what I truly want to be, a singer-songwriter. I believe that I don’t have enough talent, I believe that I don’t have the skills and I believe that it is an unreachable dream. I feel like I have grown out of these childlike dreams and I need to find something that will satisfy my creative urges but also be achievable. I always knew that this would happen. There are only so many impossible dreams you can pass through before you have to decide on a possible one. I am searching for another dream. But right now I think I should focus on the present and trust life for once. Trust that things will be okay and I will find another dream. A possible dream. One day.

Stay Strong

womancrying

Masking the desolation
you face every day,
Your happiness eclipsed with
the ease of just a smile.

Strong enough to hold back
your silver tears,
Unfair, the path that
leads you is painted with
black most days.

Light will shine for you
one day, I promise you
this, stay strong. Be faithful.
Stay beautiful, mother.