Tuesday, October 15, 2013

There Are Times We Can't Write

Sometimes life sits on our bellies very hard. So much so that we can barely breathe much less write.

The prompts and prompters – including myself – tell us we must Do It Anyway. But let’s face it. Sometimes we can’t.

Crises and catastrophes. Tight spots and tense periods. They come to all of us. Life moments and episodes and sometimes longer periods that overwhelm us.

The priority here is to get through it one step at a time. Or if you can’t move yet – just hang on. That’s the true Do It Anyway in such times. Get Through & Hang On.

So what about the work? What about the writing that restores your soul?

There is the rub actually. If you could do the writing it would restore your soul. But sometimes you simply cannot write.

BUT – you can collect material.

In our writing no matter what the genre may be we seek to create intensity and drama and power. These gut-wrenching soul-crunching experiences are exactly that. Intense – Dramatic – Powerful.

So take notes.

Maybe you’re not up to transcribing full scenes but you can still grab the best goodies from your bad situation. Snatches of dialog. Flashes of description. And most of all the feelings. All captured on a page for future use.

This is a scavenging operation and a salvage project. This is making lemonade from lemons – though maybe not particularly sweet lemonade. This is also an antidote because the writing down can often be an airing out as well.

Life in its perverse generosity offers each of us many such intensity opportunities. Here’s what a writer can do about that. Get through. Hang on. Write it down.

When you finally drag your battered self back to your feet again there it will be. A heartload of paydirt material. Waiting for your creative touch to re-purpose it into what just might be some of the best work you’ve ever done.


Cheryl St.John said...

This is so true. Sometimes writing is like therapy that gets me through a bad stretch. But there have been times that life is paralyzing. I have learned to be kind to myself in all the seasons.

Alice Orr said...

Dear Cheryl

It is imperative that all of us remember to be gentle with ourselves I am notorious for not doing that. But every time I neglect myself other things get neglected as well. Don't be afraid to let yourself take a break when you need one. Please. Listen to the place inside where you always know what is true for you. The still small voice you hear there will tell you exactly what you must do every time.

Thanks for reminding all of us of that -- including me.