I’ve written several writing articles over the past couple of years, and for the most part, they’ve been read and well-received. Nothing viral, but I’m pleased with the overall results. Older ones have been popping up lately with highlights and comments and even some claps.
The advice is practical and sound.
It’s encouraging to see that these articles have endured.
What isn’t encouraging is that I’ve somehow failed to follow my wise, all-knowing suggestions. Yes, I feel like a fraud. COVID-19, social isolation, and the constant barrage of information haven’t just caused writer’s block.
It’s worse. They’ve caused writer’s constipation.
The ideas are there, but I can’t get them out. And it’s painful to feel so full, yet so unable to produce anything worth reading.
I push myself, move my fingers, but it’s like walking up a staircase to nowhere. I am not sitting here for show trying to look like a writer. I am honestly trying to write. And stay focused.
I close my eyes, breathe, and bring myself back. What is the title? Okay, let’s get back to it. Section one: go. The sun warms my face and draws me into a feeling of false security. I turn my head, look out the window, and someone walks by with a mask.
I’m back to square one.
But I’ve got to accept my role in this. Accept it, let it go, and stop flailing.
And finally, I’ve got to review and take my own advice.
My Advice in Review
The most recent writing article that popped up was, “Why You Should Write Even When You Feel Insecure about Your Ideas.”
My target audience here is newbies, oldies, and in general, anyone who’s afraid to dip their toes in the water. It’s scary putting your ideas with your voice out into cyberspace for all the world to read. I think more than anything; we’re afraid of meanness, trolls who are looking for a victim.
But chances are, even if you do run into some trolls, you’ll find someone who reads your words and says, Exactly!
Every writer goes through this from time to time. We all have self-doubt. If we don’t, then our egos are too big. So in a sense, you’re being brave and putting yourself out there, even when you’re not certain.
My advice, if you took the time to write it: share it.
The second piece that comes back around and seems to resonate with readers is, “When You Hear Voices in Your Head, Take Dictation.”
This piece instructs the writer to listen to their inner dialogue and write it down. No matter how trite or bizarre, get your words from your head to your fingers.
Then, put your fingertips on the keyboard, or pick up a pen, tap into your stream of consciousness and go, go, go. No editing of any type. Set a timer for at least 10 minutes. There’s one on your cell phone.
If you can’t think of anything to write and all you can think is, crap, crap, crap, then write crap, crap, crap.
Think of it as the only time you have the freedom to talk to and answer yourself.
My advice: meditate, listen to music, or sit quietly. Calm your turbulent mind. Then write.
Next up is an article about Natalie Goldberg’s, Writing Down the Bones. “Follow the Genius Advice From Writing Down the Bones, by Natalie Goldberg” extracts tidbits of great advice from each chapter.
Writing Down the Bones is one of the best reference books out there. Natalie tells us to choose our words carefully. Be precise. Everything has a name, and that name alone gives it a unique quality.
This is one way of showing as opposed to telling.
And edit, edit, edit.
Scenes show and slow the story down. The narrative tells and pushes the story forward. There’s a balance, and it takes practice.
My advice: read the book.
I left the best for last. By that I mean, it’s the one with the most views.
This article emphasized the importance of sharing what makes up most of the experiences in our lives: the little things. Giving a reader a peek into your heart, and maybe into your living room window is something they will enjoy.
It’s your story.
It’s a matter of remembering that our experiences of the mundane are different for everyone. And there is beauty in the small things that some people overlook.
It also provides writing prompts to get you going.
My advice: look out your window and start writing.
I need to dig into my past work, read it, and take my advice.
Screw insecurity, write what I think, review Writing Down the Bones, and take the small stuff to heart. It’s what we all need to do so we can write that next piece and keep the idea flowing.
So slow down. Ignore the outside world for a bit.
Sit still long enough to meditate, let your mind become still and allow the flow of that energy to shape your thoughts.
There is beauty out there, especially as Spring approaches. The sun is warmer, and you hear sounds of celebration can be as birds spread their wings and take flight.
And by all means, take your own advice, admit you need it. Think of it as a wake-up call from the past that will help you rediscover the possibilities.
And the possibilities are endless.