Thursday, 11 November 2010

writing and the subtle art of cleaning house

I've been a bit stuck of late and I thought I might share some unsticklish, in case it helps someone else. Doesn't matter if you are a blogger, short story writer, poet or bid writer, everyone needs a little unsticklish now and again.
It’s my habit to write ‘pages’ every morning. Three pages of stream of conscious drivel mostly. It’s a writer’s technique to clear out the debris, the idea is simple - by clearing out the psychic dust bunnies collecting in the corners overnight, you have a better chance of creating something of value later that day… morning pages >>
So far, I’ve got two months worth of utter nonsense and one fleetingly interesting riff which crashed over the rocks of self conciousness as soon as I recognised it might be quite good and a lot of ‘lists’.

When the only rule is to keep writing over 3 blank pages, even if that means repeating ‘I don’t have any idea what to write.’ 300 times until you make it to the last line, then I find I take refuge in endless, mundane lists.

I list the things I have to do that day; what I ate the day before; what order I’m going to do the things I have to do and if I’m really struggling, I reprise a previous list and assess how well I executed each item. It’s not encouraging or freeing. It’s mortifying.

I have detected a pathalogical attachment to putting off anything difficult.

I need a ‘kick up the backside’

I suspect that unless someone suggests the topic, gives me a deadline and offers to pay me for the output - I am singularly incapable of writing anything of worth. Which is more a statement of my anxiety about cash than my ability to create. Bugger!

This blog entry is, in fact a pathetic attempt to assure myself I can at least put something down that has sprung uncommissioned from my head. So far I’m not convinced it was worth setting out on the journey… sigh I am bored with my sweet self and I’m beginning to suspect that it is this boredom that is causing the writer’s block.

I can write stuff, that’s not the problem - but I want to write interesting, engaging, witty stuff and mostly that has been eluding me.

When the going gets tough - writers clean up.

Which brings me to cleaning up. When in doubt clean house! I used to have a highly respected and revered shamanic teacher, who would encourage her clients to sort out their sock drawer, or organise their dry goods cupboard. If anyone came to her and were overly focused on an issue or behaviour pattern that wasn’t moving them forward - she would give them a mundane  housework ‘sorting’ or cleaning task.

Time and again her technique produced results for her clients, and at their next session they had leapt forward.

My top tip for today if you're feeling stuck - is to put down your pen, pick up your duster and do some mindless housework. Be active, own your choice not to write, rather than beat yourself up for lack of commitment or productivity - do something with that time and trust that tommorrow - it will be different.

Tommorrow I will load up the next part of "margy and the cake shop". In which we meet Vlad the vampire baker...

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