This week, Mr. Huberman asks the question, “Can limitations and obstructions push us forward in our creative work?”
Poor Snoopy. He always begins his writing this way. It’s very limiting. I have often wondered why he didn’t start his stories with, “It was a bright and sunny day,” the cheerful promise of a positive story. He might have had a book deal with that opener.
In writing posts, one of my biggest concerns is to not be repetitively boring with words or contents or use of the same old writing genre. It’s no fun for the readers if I begin a story with the same opening line or keep repeating the same flowery, ten-cent words. Yet, there are times when I feel that’s exactly what I’m doing. It might be that I don’t feel fully educated on the nuances of writing and that speaks to my own limitations as a writer. I would love to learn more, enroll in a creative writing class…if only a job and friends and family and all of my other hobbies didn’t get in the way.
Similar to this one…
Barnes and Noble can be a dangerous place. I’ve been wanting to buy one. No, I don’t know when I’m going to have time to color in a book. Perhaps at lunch time or while I’m on the treadmill at the gym or when I’m sitting on the couch, watching Star Trek. This is another self-inflicted issue with writing. I want to do everything, including but not limited to writing. I want to bike, to hang out with friends, to be involved at church, to visit mom, to pay attention to the cats, to color with pretty pencils. It all takes time and then I have to do laundry and make supper.
Yes, I know that I should be writing. Would you like to come to my place and encourage me?
I need you to tell me this every time I write a post.
Too often, I doubt myself.
Encouragement is always good, darling.
I would guess this happens to every writer. We type, type, type along, only to click on the red “move to trash” link over there.
I’ve done it a few times, when trying to wrangle out a post that simply will not come together. It happened before I published a post on Sunday…spent two hours with photographs and a story that did not please me. It finally went to the trash and I started over with a new photograph, a quote and a poem that came easily and in less time.
Why the difference? Why does writing one post feel like dragging a 50 pound sack of sand through a mud puddle, while the next post writes with the ease of a La-Z-Boy’s motorized touch controls? Has anyone every answered that question? Does someone have a hypothesis?
I find that one of the more difficult areas of writing a story is the ending. It’s a great story that starts out with a bang. The words roll along, engaging the reader with quick wit, adventure and humor (or so I’d like to believe). Then bang…the rolling word train comes to a screeching, teeth-grinding halt. I will sit and stare at the computer screen for what seems like hours, reading and re-reading the story, trying to find a way to end it all. This process can be painful. It’s similar to talking to your best friend for hours and then not knowing how to end the conversation. Do I simply say goodbye, or do I give a drawn-out explanation of why I have to say goodbye?
So, it’s the fault of my imaginary friend? Really? I did not know that.
What do you have to say for yourself, imaginary friend?
Okay, that’s not funny. I’m trying to get to the point here and end this post about obstructions to writing. I could use a little help.
*mumbles a few opinionated words*
Thanks, that’s somewhat better. I’ll take your disjointed sentence under advisement.
Early on, when I began this blog, I wandered into the dangerous Barnes & Noble in search of books to help with writing. I found two. One is a “daily prompt” book that encourages stories based on specific words, sentences, themes or pictures. The other book, Writing Tools by Roy Peter Clark, offered a refresher in grammar and punctuation, along with tips, tricks and techniques to help with a better blog post or book draft or letter to grandma. Utilizing both gave my writing knowledge and creativity a well-needed boost as a newbie blogger. I would definitely recommend such books if you have been feeling a bit stuck or wordless or don’t know where to start. They are all obstacles to your intended goal.
In the daily prompt book that I purchased at B&N, the author talked about “writer’s block” and offered the following piece of advice: When you don’t know what to write, write anyway. It simply means write something, anything. Regardless if the writing is unworthy of a published post or the first chapter of your next novel, keep going. No matter that it’s silly or stupid or would have the Grammar Police after you…keep writing. The author infers that sooner or later, the words start to flow again and you are back on the La-Z-Boy, pushing the “I’ve-got-this-one” button.
I try to remember that advice, but it doesn’t always work. If I have to write “it was a dark and stormy night” more than 10 times, I’m done. I don’t want to spend time going nowhere. Another obstacle or two for me: Impatience that I am unable to come up with a theme for the next post within ten minutes; and lack of determination. That last one is a big killer in my writing, just as it is in regular visits to the gym and on-going abstinence from sugar.
In summation, these are the obstacles I face when writing a post for this blog: Time, repetitiveness, la-z-ness, writer’s block, impatience, lack of determination and imaginary friends, and no handsome men to point their fingers at me. Tough obstacles, for sure. In the end, though, I love being here and I love to write. It’s what allows me to toss the obstacles aside from time to time and keep going.
What about you, my fellow blogging peeps? What are your obstacles to writing? What keeps you from starting? From continuing? From finishing a post?