Monthly Archives: March 2015

Am I Lost in a Fictional World?

Can creative writing be considered a mental illness?

 

Creative writing crazinessIf you love it too much, does it actually take over your mind, for good?

I’m a proud, card-carrying weirdo, and I’m certainly a top contender for geek-of-the-year (for over thirty years, running), but when it comes to writing the Perspective book series with Amanda, I am taken to an entirely different oddity plane. I stop living here and I start living on an entirely different world that exists inside my head.

On any given day, I think about the books, the characters, and the future direction of the plot, more times than I can count. I can honestly say that an hour hasn’t passed in fourteen years in which I have not thought about something happening on the planet Qarradune, at least once.

Writers are known for being a little bit on the different side (to say the least). I think the entire artistic community – actors, painters, authors, sculptors, singers, etc – has a certain requirement in terms of being somewhat strange. But at the same time, as much as I’m glad to be unique (some might say that “unique” is a rather kind way to describe myself), I do wonder if I am crossing the line from being a quirky artist in the creative writing world, and stepping over into madness.

Am I supposed to think about a fictional world this much? Are people who are figments of my imagination and who interact with people who are figments of Amanda’s imagination supposed to matter more to me than some of the characters I have met in real life?

The thing is, allowing my mind to drift over to Qarradune so that I can mentally hang-out with Irys Godeleva, Megan Wynters, Thayn Varda, and Acksil makes me very, very happy. Even Galnar can bring the occasional twisted smile to my face…hmmm, maybe I should be questioning the sanity of that, too…

Perspective book series - crazy writerOccasionally, I think that the fact that I am this passionate about the book is a good sign. A lot of famous authors are, after all, known for completely losing themselves in their fictional worlds, to very extreme degrees. Then again, many of those authors are also known for struggling with the real world and escaping through hard-core drugs or a permanent visit to the bottom of a river.

Will I be able to recognize if I ever make that leap from peculiar or eccentric to plain-old nuts?

For now, I plan to embrace my bizarre side and to keep loving the world that flows from my mind and out through my words. Hopefully, someone will let me know if I’ve made Qarradune my forever-home, so that they might help me come back to Earth to visit, now and again.

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Take a Break – Free Yourself from Writer’s Block

I’ve recently joined Goodreads as an author and one of the site’s recommendations is to answer a few general questions that people frequently ask authors. Since I was looking for a little inspiration for my blog this week, I figured I’d make one of the questions I was asked by Goodreads the subject of my blog.

The question is: “How do you deal with writer’s block?Writer's Block leaves you hanging

This might be a question that other writers may be able to answer in an instant. However, for me, this wasn’t the case. I really had to think about what solution works best for me when I’m struck with the big WB (no, I don’t mean a wrecking ball or Warner Brothers). The reason being, once I have overcome this maddening writer’s plague, I don’t spend much time reliving it or contemplating how I will be victorious the next time it strikes. Instead, I’m far too busy blasting through the block to care about what it was that finally gave me the power to smash through it.

That being said, what I did realize, as I gave it some thought, was that taking a mental break is what has always helped me to unshackle my mind and creative writing talents. While that is certainly not a revolutionary solution to the problem, it does work (for me, at least). Unfortunately, the trouble is that when I’m actually faced with writer’s block, the last thing that I usually want to do is take a break. I trick myself into thinking that if I keep writing, I’ll get past it.

This is the biggest mistake I make when I’m suffering from WB: I try to force myself to write. For me, this strategy is always a flawed plan. Forcing myself to write, when I am already discouraged, only makes the situation worse. Then, not only is my heart not in it, but I feel like an even bigger failure by the minute and I only make myself more frustrated. In the end, all I have successfully accomplished is to turn me into my own worst enemy, when what I should have done was supported myself, as I would have a friend, and cut myself some slack.

However, as soon as I take a brain break from what I’m writing and allow my mind to become fully distracted by other things, the block begins to lose fortitude. When I stop obsessively thinking about what I can’t do and what I’m not achieving, and turn my attention to other interests and activities, I’m reminded of a much bigger picture.

For overcoming writer’s block, the following are some activities I find to be especially therapeutic:

• Showering
• Taking a brisk walk or going for a run in fresh air
• Reading a book or watching a movie/TV that I greatly enjoy
• Getting proper rest (sleep does amazing things for thinking and memory!!)
• Playing a game (video or board games), especially with friends
• Engaging in a silly activity or conversation with friends
• Singing my favourite songs at the top of my lungs
• Dancing like no one is watchingWriter's Block Freedom

I’ve discovered that it doesn’t really matter what I do, what is important is that whatever I do choose, it’s got to take my mind 100% (or at least 90%) off of my writing struggles.

Finally, I’ve realized that not every case of WB is the same. There are occasions when it can be cured quickly, while in other instances it can last for what feels like forever. Regardless of how long it decides to stick around, don’t fight it directly and don’t rush yourself. Sometimes, the last thing that you want to do is the best thing that you can do for yourself. I hope I remember this the next time I’m faced with the block.

Thankfully, I’m not suffering from writer’s block at the moment, but if you are, my heart goes out to you and I’m sending you digital support and a digital hug (*hug*). Good luck and remember to cut yourself a bit of slack – you deserve it!

Thanks for reading 🙂

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Creative Writing: The Emotional Toll

Refusing to be the Little Engine that Couldn’t

I am SO tired! Okay, whining done. I just had to get that off my chest.

I love (love, love) creative writing, and knowing that other people will be reading what I have written (that is, what I have written with my exceptionally talented co-author, Amanda, of course) is a huge thrill for me. But, like so many other things in life, the extreme highs that writing brings to my life has also sent some powerful emotions at the other end of the scale.

love of creative writingGetting the book published is the start of the dream. It really is. But it isn’t just a matter of finding a company that will put the book on shelves and then sitting back to relax as you automatically become a bajillionaire whose works have been read by pretty much everybody.

To be fair, I was never under the impression that, after finding a publisher, my only other activities would be to decide who gets the movie and merchandise rights. I may have been living on the fictional world of Qarradune for the last 14 years, but it doesn’t mean that I’ve completely lost touch with reality.

Still, even after having been the owner and operator of a small business for more than a decade, I wasn’t entirely ready for everything that would be required of me in order to make sure that Amanda and I not only had a book, but that people would hear about it and read it, too.

Look, Ma! I’m a marketer..?

Marketing is fun for me. I genuinely like taking part in the ads, videos, social media, and all of the other steps that we have been taking. I like to bring a personal side to things. I’m not one for hard-sells, but I like the idea of opening up a conversation with readers and, hopefully, engaging them to the point that they see the book – the passion of my life – as something that they’d like to experience.

True…but I’m still a writer, first

I take part in marketing every day. I also work every day and I try to write Book 2 most days of the week (because what’s the point in having only one book in a series?). As is the case with everything in life, things go right and things go wrong.

hard work creative writingWhat’s different about the experience when it has to do with my creative writing is that it is not only immensely personal and important to me, but it’s also happening at a time when I am stretched about as thinly as I possibly can be. Nearly every minute of my day is filled. If I’m not working, marketing, or writing, I’m thinking about those things. I haven’t had a day off this year, and it doesn’t look like things are going to slow down at any time, soon.

Am I upset about this? Nope! This is exactly how it has to be. But at the same time, the lack of rest and the extreme range of emotions that all this entails are certainly taking their toll! The idea that the result of all of this hard work could put me in the spotlight has also sent my social anxiety into high gear…which only makes me more emotional.

But it’s worth it. When you find what you want in life and you don’t put everything into it, you’re making the decision to be the “Little Engine that Couldn’t”. That’s not going to be me. I’m going to keep trying, keep working, and keep putting myself out there because I know that this book is a lot of fun, I know that the second book is going to be even more exciting (we’ve laid out the first seven chapters so far and all I can say is “wowee-zowee!”), and I am going to do what it takes to keep my dreams coming true.

If that means the occasional random tears of exhaustion and a lot of genuine apologies for snapping at people when they didn’t deserve it, then I am willing to pay that toll. Knowing that people are reading and enjoying the Perspective book series means everything to me. I guess that means that I’ll need to become a version of myself who can handle it.

This is going to be interesting. Look out, world!

PS – Do you find that creative writing is something that puts you on a roller-coaster, too? Tell me about it in the comments, below. I’d love to know that I’m not the only one who is responding to the writing/publishing experience in this way.

Okay, I’m going to go cry now…then snap at somebody…then apologize 😉

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