Somehow, I have developed an aversion to writing. Starting to write that is. I have young kids, work full time,and have a sick wife, yet I still have opportunities to write. I just find I’m unable to take advantage of them.
It’s not ideas I’m short of, it’s discipline.
So in lieu of a good spanking, can anybody point me in the direction of some quality creative writing self-hypnosis downloads or scripts? Or even anecdotes about how going to a hypnotherapist solved all their procrastinations/aversions/creative blocks etc, etc?
For an alternative to hypnosis, consider one (or both) of the following:
Go for the simple. Begin with an easy target (e.g. 50 words, in any order, they don’t even need to make sense) and plan a simple reward for when you reach them (e.g. a milky way, or a quiet cup of tea in the garden, whatever rocks your boat and is viable in your world). Do this a few times then slowly increase the number of words required for the reward (e.g. 100 words, then 150, then 250).
Alternatively (or, even better, in combination) aim for a writer’s chain. Mark on a calendar every day you write and see how long you you can make your “chain” (consecutive days of writing).
I used a writer’s chain this for my thesis, aiming for a minimum of 500 words a day. Not a huge amount, so even on the days when I felt I couldn’t write a thing I’d often manage to bash out a couple of paragraphs. They were sometimes atrocious, but bad words are better than none. At the beginning, my chains lasted only a few days, but very quickly they grew to weeks and then months.
I was in a similar situation 23 years ago. My writing was dying. Then I came across the book “Writing down your bones” from Nathalie Goldberg, read it, did the exercise she proposes, and this saved my writing. I published my first novel 6 years later, went writing full-time another 6 years later, and while I am writing this posting, I have the manuscript of my 21st novel or so, which will appear in 2013, open in another space.
I don’t know whether this book might change your life as it changed mine, but it’s worth a try – and a lot cheaper than a single therapist session.
Natalie Goldberg’s Writing down the bones is one of my favourite books on writing. My all time favourite was her next book, Wild Mind. First read about 20 years ago. It’s still good, and I still paste a copy of her “rules for writing practice” inside the cover of every writing journal.
Couple Natalie Goldberg’s exercises with a writing chain and you’ll always have something to write about, and an incentive to do it.
I don’t suffer from ‘Block’, I have no trouble writing anything…as long as I don’t HAVE TO write it. The nanno-second an imperative to write something rears its ugly head, my ME scrambles my brain, and I can spend hours and hours just staring at the screen. In most cases I come up with barely a sentences or two at best.
But that’s not why I’m posting here right now.
I’m half way through Doryl Jensen’s English translation of ‘The Carpet Makers’. Intriguing. How come there aren’t any more English translations of your work, Andreas?
Here is a little creative visualisation trick that has been tested in combat.
Imagine your novel (or PhD or short story or screenplay) as a shimmering, light emitting ball of changing colours that you can hold in your hand.
When that image becomes real you can almost drop it on your foot. It gets heavy if you don’t write it and organise its energy. The only way to get relief from its weight and brilliant light is to write it each and every day. You HAVE to attend to it. While you nurture it it nurtures you and it remains light and vibrant. But if you ignore it, it niggles and annoys you and gets heavy. Only writing it until you finish it can keep it light and dancing and feeding your soul.
Before you go to sleep at night (or take a refreshing writer’s nap) see if you can visualise it - its presence will burn into your sleeping subconscious and feed your creativity as you sleep. Give it the name of your project. Look into it and see the world of your story inside it - the characters doing what they do, the settings, the plot unfolding, the … .
It is a shimmering crystal ball of pure creative energy that lets you see vividly into the world of your story.