How often have you heard people say that they yearn to become a writer, but do little more than dream and fantasize about it. There’s real work involved. Consider the Irish female warrior, Boudica; women hold her up as one to emulate due to her strength, her tenacity and her courage, but they fail to realize that in order to become the Celtic Warrior Queen that she was, Boudica had to practice sword fighting, condition her body, as well as learn about the art of war and leadership. She prepared and worked and sacrificed and took a risk. What was her foundation? Passion. Without passion, one won’t have the staying power to plow the row, sow the seed and reap the harvest.
Writing is a system. Systems are based on regularly occurring actions. So it makes sense to say that writing is a system of regular action. Writing occurs when you show up at a scheduled time. Think about writing as though it’s a job - and it is a job because there’s work involved. Boudica needed to build her strength in order to lift a heavy sword, as well as train repeatedly in order to yield it to defeat the enemy. She also had to overcome the stereotype that women are not warriors. Fight for your writing time, it’s not frivolous, it’s the expression of the gift you were born with. Yes, you were born to do this, never forget that.
When you think of Boudica, you don’t think of some woman with 101 excuses as to why she can’t go into battle. Too many would-be writers spend their lives defending these 101 excuses instead of taking action, taking a risk and making a commitment to invest the time necessary to make a dream come true. Excuses are dream busters. Excuses must always be banished. Excuses are rubbish and have no place in a writer’s life.
Creating a writing system is the first challenge. Completion of your work is next. Publishing and book promotion follow. One.Thing.At.A.Time.
When you are ready for the next phase, you simply take action.
I had to learn the hard way about the myth of writer’s block. While it is not entirely a myth, for the most part it is. The reality, is that the writer is distracted, not blocked. If a writer is experiencing a loss of direction for how the plot should turn, then they need to take a specific action. Perhaps more research of the time period is necessary. Maybe it’s as simple as going for a run. The bottom line is that a writer must take the next right action.
As I mentioned, I learned this the hard way. I spent a long time confusing distraction with writer’s block. Distraction occurs when we don’t want to face something. We evade feelings of uncertainty, fear and being overwhelmed by deciding to do laundry, clean out our closet or jump from web-site to web-site. Instead of taking mindful action we are mindlessly distracted.
I was distracted because I was evading some long overdue personal work that had to be done in order for me to move forward; not only as a writer, but as a human being. I had people to forgive in my life, including myself. I had to tackle some financial issues, as well as gain the clarity necessary to walk away from the career path I was on. In a state of what can only be described as numb, I was going through the motions. I was mindlessly going to work,(even though my soul was trying to reach me) and I stayed far too long in the distraction mode. I was unable to write and couldn’t understand why. This is not writer’s block, it’s distraction. It stems from a lack of awareness, a lack of honesty with self or perhaps even a fear of awareness.
Overtime, distraction actually becomes emotionally painful. Reaching a new level of desperation, you are finally ready to learn from others and begin following a right course of action. I got there eventually. I learned that I was blowing off all kinds of signals. I worked at developing awareness and finally broke through the fog. I’m writing again. The sequel to ‘Whispers on the Wind’ is finished and I’m developing plot lines for future work. Currently, I’m walking through the self-publishing process of bringing the Sequel, ‘A Woman’s Equal Share’, to the market, and that process will be the subject of an upcoming post. Back to the matter at hand, writing is a system that is successful only if we are practicing honesty and awareness in our lives. Writer’s block can be annihilated through action.
When I refer to awareness, what I mean is taking a conscious look at your feelings or thoughts. We have to remember that we are greater than our feelings or thoughts, after all, we are observing them. Instead of distracting ourselves online, we need to take an action and get to the bottom of it. Talk to someone, read something, take a baby step - anything is better than distraction.
If you’re seriously feeling dry in the creativity area and are having no luck getting started, try writing about a concept entirely independent of the work in front of you. The other morning I was aware that I just wasn’t zeroing in on a definite direction for a character, so I went outside and started writing about the sky and what I saw. It helped to unleash any rigidity that had set in and once again I was plugged back into that creative circuit.
Other lessons I’ve learned that have informed and improved my writing have come from trying to live a healthy, balanced and honest life. I believe in being debt free - while a home mortgage is necessary for most of us, credit card debt is not. I need this freedom that comes from living a financially responsible lifestyle for my writing to be its best. I also believe in physical strength and eating to live. While I’m no saint, my intention is to live my day-to-day life with moderation in all things. We have to take care of ourselves in an honest way in order to bring this honesty and awareness to our writing. This extends to our relationships. Toxic people are just that - toxic. While avoiding them is a no-brainer, it’s the other people in our lives that we are concerned with here. Again, this is an area of healthy living. We don’t take any abuse and we don’t dish it out. Anything that messes with our sense of balance must be dealt with honestly. Forgiveness is non-negotiable. We free ourselves mostly in doing so and freedom within unleashes our creativity.
Advancing in a spiritual life gives back to me by informing all that I do. At its core, a spiritual life to me is my own personal relationship with a Higher Intelligence that I choose to call God. There’s nothing mindless or weak about Faith. Having Faith in God, in today’s secular culture requires a Boudica state of mind. Faith provides strength, love, foundation, peace and truth...and you know what they say about truth ... it will set you free. Growing that spiritual component in my life, contributes to helping me in my writing and beyond.
Finally ... as you embark upon a writing career stay true to your own voice.
Bridget’s writing career as a newspaper columnist, a web-site contributor, content writer and French language translator has found new expression as a novelist. Whispers on the Wind, Bridget’s debut novel was the first installment in the Kate O’Rourke historical fiction series that continues with A Woman’s Equal Share. Join the www.desertrosebooks.com E-zine and you’ll receive a free E-book: ‘Essential Oil Diffuser Blends and other Beneficial Recipes’ just for subscribing. http://bit.ly/1rMNT9h
Paperbacks in the Celtic Heart Historical Fiction Series are available exclusively, here at Desert Rose Books. Visit the Bookstore.
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