writing block

How to Make Yourself Feel Better When The Writing (or your Life) is Not Going Well

Hands-pray-prayer-1688128-lWe've all been there.  (Some of us are there much more than others.)  The miserable writing session when the idea won't come, when no words appear on the page, when nothing works, no matter how hard you try.

It sucks.

And just as a gloriously wonderful writing session can make the world glow with a special light, a bad one (or a series of bad ones), can make the world a dark and depressing place.  And that's no way to live.  It really isn't, because it's not going to help your writing.  At all. 

Now, I'm not advocating that we all adopt a Pollyanna attitude, no matter what problems we face.  I get that many of us are enduring difficulties that make it hard to be cheerful.  What I am proposing is that life is better when you look at it with a glass-half-full approach, and your writing will be, too.  Because wallowing in weepiness for an extended period of time ultimately doesn't work.

And so I have gathered some hints to help you drag yourself out of the muck.  Again, these are all based on personal experience.  I've been there.  I still go there.  But I'm much better able to change my mood these days.  It takes work, but it's worth it.  So here you go.

1.  Feel it. So often when we feel something negative, we immediately gloss over it and attempt to cover it up.  But when you do that, the emotion tends to pop up somewhere else, at an even worse time.  Surprisingly, the fastest way out is often through.  Feel the emotion fully.  Magnify it, even.  Immerse yourself in it.  This won't feel good–but that's the point. The more
fully you can feel the pain, the faster you can get through it.

2.  Forgive and release.  I'm fascinated with the process of letting go, surrendering, or releasing, whatever you want to call it.  It sounds so easy–just release it!--but in actual practice it is anything but.  What I've learned lately is that adding forgiveness to the mix hastens the releasing process.  Forgive yourself for your belief that you're a lousy writer.  Forgive yourself for your idea that you'll never finish this damn novel.  Forgive yourself for the belief that you are anything less than an amazing writer.  And don't forget to forgive anyone who might have convinced you of this in the first place while you're at it.

3.  Renew your vision.  You know that dream you have of becoming a best-selling novelist?  Now's the time to envision it again.  You probably lost sight of it while you were busy beating yourself up about what a crappy writer you are.  Connect with it again, in all the 3-D, technicolor glory you can muster.

4.  Send love.  Close your eyes and imagine gold and silver light in your heart center.  Now send it out–to anyone who made you feel bad about your writing, anybody who rejected you, even to the writing itself.  Love is the most powerful force in the universe.  Use it for the good of your creativity.  And use it creatively.

5.  Go write.  Right now, or as soon as you can. Writing will make you feel better than anything.

What's your favorite technique for making yourself feel better?  Leave a comment, so we all can benefit.

Image by Steven Fernadez, under Creative Commons 2.5 license.


I hate earthquakes.

Like hate hate them.

They terrify me.  And yes, I've been in a few.  Not big ones, because we generally don't get big earthquakes here, even though the experts say that the Northwest is due for a whopper like the one that hit Japan. Land-earthquake-earth-58633-l

And so I, like so many others, have been on edge since the events of last week. 

It didn't help that there were tsunami warnings on my beloved Oregon coast.  Or that the nuclear power plants in Japan were in danger of meltdown.  Or that some yeehaw "scientist" predicted that a huge earthquake might hit the West Coast.  Or that we started bombing the hell out of Libya.

All of these things, and earthquakes in the lives of so many friends, have lodged themselves inside of me and wrapped themselves into a ridiculously big ball of fear.

It culminated the other night.  We went out to Happy Hour with friends and, while I only consumed two glasses of wine, it didn't occur to me until later that the pours that night were huge.  Like nearly double size.  I think.  Don't really remember. But what I do remember is that an excess of wine is not good for my sleeping habits.

And that night I awoke in the middle of the night and I could not get back to sleep.  This is unusual for me.  While I often wake in the middle of the night, I generally go back to sleep easily and quickly.  Not Friday night.  Of course, the moon was nearly full and the sky bright.  And that didn't help either.  Because it just made me think more about the Super Moon which was supposedly going to trigger the above-mentioned earthquake.

And then, in the way that fear has, thinking about the earthquake made me think about other problems in my personal life.  (Which, let me just note, pale in comparison to what the people of Japan face.  In the light of day, I know that.  In the dark of night, fear makes me forget it.)  I tossed and turned, unable to switch my brain off and get back to sleep.

Finally, in desperation, I started counting my blessings.  You know, like that old song, the lyrics of which go something along the lines of "Just count your blessings instead of sheep, and you'll fall asleep counting your blessings."  Nowadays we call our blessings gratitude, and the word is overused and the act often made fun of, probably because Oprah promotes it and people make fun of everything she does.

But I have to admit that it helped.  I lay there and thought of all the things that I feel grateful for, from the fat cats that were hogging the bottom of the bed to my writing career.  And pretty soon I fell asleep. 

So why do I mention all this on a blog devoted to writing?  Because I imagine quite a few of us are feeling fearful these days.  Or if not fearful, then on edge.  Anxious.  Nervous for no reason.  And none of these feelings, not a single one, are compatible with writing.  I think that counting your blessings, or making a gratitude list, works because it helps us to remember.  When we're fearful, anxious and on edge, we don't remember how lucky we are.  We don't remember our true selves.  And most of all, we don't remember that we can write ourselves back to ourselves.  All we have to do is pick up the pen.  Which is what I did the next morning, as I do every morning. 

And then I felt better.

What do you do when you get anxious or fearful?  Please feel free to share in the comments.  Because what works for you might well be useful for someone else.  Thanks.

And remember, if things get too out of whack for you, contact me.  I can help with a Get Your Writing in Gear session, or good old fashioned coaching. 

***And please, remember to come back to this site on Friday because I have an amazing interview that will inspire the hell out of you lined up.  


Photo by runrunrun from Everystockphoto.

Promptitude: Super Moon Edition

In case you haven't heard, tonight we're having a super moon.  There's all kinds of craziness going on around this phenomenon, but basically the earth's orbit is the closest its been to the moon in 18 years.  Moon_full_moon_248337_l

I'm a moon baby, born under the sign of Cancer, and I've always felt the ebb and flow of the moon.   So the topic of a super moon inspires me.  Thus, this week I offer several prompts for your consideration. 

Most often I use prompts to inspire my fiction writing, or to ease me over a block.  Not as often do I use them for personal writing, because, well, I never seem to have much problem getting words on the page in my journal.

But the moon makes me feel all cozy and intimate, so here are three prompts that might take you into your own life:

Eighteen years ago, in March of 1993, I was…

When the moon is full, I feel….

The things that inspire me are…

And please remember, if you are having a hard time writing, I'd love to help.  Check out my coaching page here, or the Get Your Writing in Gear page here (there's a couple more weeks left on the March Madness sale).


Image of moon by tomisted, from Everystockphoto.