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Posts Tagged ‘writer’s block’

When I write, I pick the title first.

I know people who do it the other way around, they write what they want to write and then look back through it and decide on a title that would best describe what they’ve just written and that’s obviously a valid way to do it as well.  I’ve tried but can’t seem to get it to work for me.  Rather I come up with a title, very often just one or two words, and then I just start writing.  Every once in awhile I check back in with the title I’ve written at the top of the page and make sure I’m still on the right track.  I find having the title is like a route marker keeping me on the right path, making sure I’m not straying too far from the thought I was trying to express.

But, that being said, lately all I’ve been able to come up with are titles.

It used to be that once I found the title, the rest just came into focus.  My thoughts would all line up neatly underneath and while I can’t guarantee they made sense to anyone else, they provided some clarity for me, at least.  Now I write the title down at the top of the page and there it sits, alone, unaccompanied by any other words that may actually flush it out into something resembling a clear and cohesive thought.

When I write, it has a way of emptying my head of all of the random, often useless thoughts that I have floating around in my head.  Putting them down on paper, all neat and lined up in a somewhat intelligent way stops them from floating any longer.  They are pinned down, immovable, stuck, which is a good thing because then my head is a less crazy place, at least for a few moments.

But lately, because I can’t come up with anything but a bunch of titles, the thoughts continue to float and dance around in my head.  And now it’s getting crowded in there.  There’s not really much room for floating so they’re all bumping into each other and banging around, making it harder and harder to concentrate and function.  They keep me from sleeping and reading and wasting time staring out the window.  I find myself in the middle of conversations and I’m not sure if I spoke the words out loud or just thought them in my head.

I have tried, really I have.  I’ve started writing a dozen things and all of them seem jumbled, all over the place, meandering from one thing to another, just like the thoughts in my head.  Rather than keeping me on track, the titles I now come up with seem to mock me.  Like ‘good luck writing something about this.’

But I know I have to get out of the rut.  I have to slap the titles back into line and show them who is boss.  I have to force the thoughts to make sense again, before they drive me crazy and I, in turn, drive everyone else crazy around me.  So, in the hopes of jump-starting some kind of inspiration, or at the very least ridding my brain of these random words, I’m going to list all of the titles I’ve come up with over the last week and a half, the ones that have proven to be less inspiration and more hinderance.  And in writing them down here I’m giving myself permission to let them go and start fresh, to stop being bogged down by the things I can’t write and perhaps make room for things that I can.

 

rememberings

uncomfortable

not caring

thinking your thoughts

in the corner

hiding

 

There they are, stuck on the page, at the very least these ones won’t be floating around anymore.

Now we’ll just wait and see if it helps.

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Sometimes I feel like I have the same conversations, over and over and over again.  Sometimes I find myself talking to a friend and suddenly I wonder if I’ve already told her this story, this anecdote, this punchline.  I hear my own voice in my head and I wonder how many times I’ve said these same words, relayed this information, bitched about this particular issue.

Sometimes I just feel like I’m stuck on repeat.  For those of us old enough to remember record players, I feel like I’m just skipping back and forth over the same words, again and again and again.

Sometimes I get tired of hearing the sound of my own voice.  Is it because I can’t escape it, because it is with me no matter where I go, or do others feel the same?  What if other people are as sick of listening to me as I am?

If they are, I can’t really blame them.  If I’m growing tired of saying the words, can I really be surprised that others would be tired of hearing them?

I can’t remember the last time I spoke with conviction, inspiration and passion lacing my words.  Was it last month? The month before that? Even longer.  The very thought makes me sad.

I need to change the conversation, I know that.  No one can control it but me and if I’m saying the same things over and over again, it’s because I’ve stopped searching for new things to talk about, to write about.  I’ve stopped reading things that make me want to discuss, argue, share my opinions.  I’ve stopped listening to things that evoke emotions.  I’ve stopped looking around to see what wasn’t there last time I looked, and to wonder what I think about it.

I’ve just stopped.

I sit down to write things here and I find myself wondering if I’ve written them before.  A quick search tells me that I have; and that makes me sad.  Have I really run out of ideas?  Run out of things to write about after such a short time?  Am I really struggling so hard to come up with any new, unique thoughts.  How depressing.

So I think it’s time I asked for some help, some help from you.

I have a friend who is a writer and a little while ago she asked me if I had any thoughts on some story ideas, things that I would want to read if she wrote them.  In about five minutes, I had a handful of ideas.  It was so much easier to think of things that I wanted her to write, rather than come up with things for myself.  All I did was close my eyes and think about the questions I would love for her to answer.  The things I had always wondered about but had never had the opportunity or guts or words to ask in the context of a regular conversation.  This was my chance to get them answered, in her words, in her voice, telling the stories that only she could tell.

And now I’m asking you to do the same.  Some of you have been regular visitors to the Palace almost since the beginning and probably have a pretty good sense of my particular point of view, my style, my voice.  So now’s your chance – is there anything you’ve ever wondered?  Anything you would like to read if I wrote it; anything that could get me off the skipping record player and back to looking at things with fresh eyes?  A few of you out there even know me in “real life,” is there anything you’ve always wanted to ask but haven’t, for whatever reason?  Now’s your chance!  Believe me, at this point I would appreciate any suggestions you may have!

I will understand if you can’t come up with anything; if I can’t do it myself I can’t really expect it from others, but know that any suggestions, prompts, swift kicks to the butt would be greatly appreciated.

Anything to get me off of repeat.

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