Whether you are a writer, musician, or an artist, we juggle routines with responsibilities and priorities. Responsibilities, such as getting the kids ready for school or taking out the trash, can’t be ignored. Just as priorities such as dropping that morning deuce or brewing that fresh cup of coffee are essential to daily living. But there are things we often think of as priorities when they’re really not. Catching up on Orange is the New Black on Netflix or watching the latest live stream on YouTube aren’t really priorities, and in fact eat at the time you could have for your creative endeavor.
Am I full of crap? Let me put it to you this way. I talked with Chris Roy on a recent episode of the Deadman’s Tome podcast, and this man is an author. Chris Roy has a few books out and his recent work is Her Name is Mercie, a collection of short stories. Now, you might be wondering, big deal there are lots of writers and authors out there. But while you spend maybe an hour a week on that project, he spent hours a day. While you have access to a computer and just about any writing resource, he’s limited to a cell phone and very limited data. You see, Chris Roy is a prisoner sentenced to life. While he has plenty of time to write, and a mind swimming with ideas, most wouldn’t think he would have the tools, resources, and environment conducive for the craft.
Yet, Chris Roy makes it work. I think the big reasons for that are ambition and priority. In prison, Chris does not have to worry about the distractions and the bullshit that constantly bombards those on the outside. So, do what he does and extract those distractions form your life, remove yourself from the temptation, don’t even kid yourself that just on more round of Fortnite will be enough to satisfy you so that you can spend another 30 minutes staring at a blank screen and 15 minutes of actual writing.
So, next time you even think about procrastinating, think of what Chris Roy can accomplish just on a phone, using the time he has. What can you do with your computer? What can you do if you’re not wasting time consuming media?
Have you ever worked on a project that tested your comfort level? During a conversation with Renee Miller, we discussed a story that she wrote that really pushed her limits. If you missed the conversation, you can check it out here:
This had me thinking about projects that I’ve worked on that made me uncomfortable. The only book that has really left an emotional impression on me is Seven Attempts at One Death. I wrote that book during one of the darker chapters of my life, and it reflects on a very deep, and corrosive depression that tried to hollow me out completely. The emotions connected are so strong I did nothing with the book for almost a decade.
What about you? What projects have you worked on that really pushed you to the limits of your comfort level?
Have you ever worked on your craft while under the influence? Not going to judge if you have, or if you do. Several well-known authors have had worked on various books while under the influence. Stephen King drank mouthwash for alcohol and snorted rock star levels of coke while working on Cujo. The legend has even admitted he doesn’t remember how he even wrote the book, because he was so out of it. Ayn Rand was taking speed while working on Fountainhead. Of course we can’t forget Hunter S. Thompson, he wrote Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas while experimenting on mushrooms.
So, I extend the question to you. Do you write under the influence? If not, why not/ Have you ever, and if so what was it like?
An idea suddenly appears, emerging out from the darkness like a blast of light. An overwhelming sense of inspiration rushes through you in vibrant waves, empowering you to craft the wondrous and frantic thoughts in your head into something tangible.
But inspiration can vanish just as quickly as it appears, leaving you staring at a black space. A blank space that seems to mock you as you struggle to find the words.
Writers in of all kinds seem destined to face this delima at least once in their life. And the question is, what helps?
What helps overcome those moments when inspiration suddenly stops?
Is it searching for the source? Is it searching for a certain feeling?
I don’t know for sure. I have, of course, tackled this problem before. But what worked for me, my not work for everyone else. For me, it was remembering who I was writing for. It sounds so simple and cliché, but it involved time and soul searching.
I invite fellow writers to share their experience with writer’s block.