The good news is that although my sister is still in ICU she is doing much better. They have taken her off of life support, which means that she is breathing for herself again, but they are keeping her on oxygen because she is still having trouble processing the air that she is breathing. Still all in all it is a great improvement. For those that took the time to send well wishes and prayers to the various Gods and Goddesses, I thank you and them. I don't think that I'm quite ready to loose my sister quite yet.
In other things... last night for the first time in months I actually wrote another chapter in book #8 of Cali's adventures. If you have been with me for a while, you might remember that I actually wrote #7 right here on my blog. It didn't take long and turned out quite well. However for some reason I had some trouble getting the next one finished. This brought me to wonder exactly what causes some kinds of writers block and how do we overcome them? Usually I tell people to just start writing and the flood gates will give way, and usually that is great advice, but... this time around I tried to do that very thing and ended up stalling out once again... several times. So, I had to sit back and reassess the problem.
I knew where I my story was coming from and where I wanted it to go. The outline was not the problem. I was trying to accomplish a story line that I had never done before, yet still the outline kept me in line and the basic challenge of this style was not the problem. I realized as I tried to force words onto the paper (figuratively speaking) that this forcing was the actual problem. In my day job, I carry a gun for a living. One thing that we learn early when learning how to fire the weapon is how to hold the weapon. It's not like television, although they are getting better. If you are having trouble hitting the target, 6 times out of 10 the problem is in your grip. If you hold the weapon too loosely the round will sling wide to the right and go high, but if you hold the gun too tightly the round will pull to the left and low. It will also become exhausting to hold the weapon. (BTW these principles don't change if you hold the gun sideways liken an idiot gangster. In fact holding the gun sideways will make it more difficult to aim.) Anyway... using this analogy I can accurately describe what I was doing in my writing, I was holding the gun too tightly. I was squeezing my mind too tightly and trying to force the words to come out. Because of this, I was missing the target.
Once I realized this, the question became, why.... or what is making me so tense that I feel the need to squeeze so hard? I have pondered this question for quite some time and my only answer seems to be that my life had been in such turmoil for the past few months that it really did affect my ability to write. My personal problems had nothing to do with anything in the writing world, but they caused me to loose focus on writing. Looking back this problem had a profound affect on my freelance business as well. Funny that most people look at me and think that I am unmovable. Clearly they don't know what goes on in my mind.
I suppose for those of you out there that are aspiring to be writers I should give you a bit of friendly advice, even if you hold it in and seem like a rock on the outside, what is happening inside of you can and will affect your writing. The best thing to do is to ride it out, take care of the business that is binding you up, and then continue with your writing. I say that because I don't think that I would be very pleased with any work that reflected the dark moods that I have felt in the past couple of months. If I had been writing Cali's story surely those moods would have infected the story and that would have been a disaster.
I know that many a great painter and composer and yes writers have infused their works with their own personal tragedies... Edgar Allen Poe comes to mind. If works like the Raven are what you would like to write, then by all means pour your tragedy down onto the paper. But, if you are more inclined to other ventures, then please deal with the darkness and the struggles before putting pen to paper, this way you can think with a clear head.
That being said, there is room for both in the life of a writer. I have written a book much like the darkness of the Raven, called A Return to Sanity which chronicles some of my darkest thoughts and some of my life's darkest times. It is written in the third person and from the point of view of an outside friend. The hero is renamed Rebecca and her thoughts, which are my thoughts, are examined using the figure of speech of the simoly (yes I butchered the spelling). She imagines her mind as a room that is filled with clutter. Some of the clutter is just stuff, while other bits of the clutter is dark dirty things that need to be gotten rid of. All of this clutter combined keeps Rebecca from seeing the other side of the room. On the other side of the room she knows that there is a door out into a brighter place. Her job is to clean the room. Slowly through the book she pulls aside all of the useless clutter and finally reaches the floor. When she reaches the floor she finds it covered with mud and muck. This represents the growing filth that sticks to her feet and keeps her from moving forward towards the door out which is the door to her life. She must clean this floor, but to do so she must examine those events in her life that caused the muck to be made.
The book is not long, but is was very difficult to write and when it was done I felt cleansed, much like the room that Rebecca cleaned. If you have a dark or troubling past, I strongly suggest that you attempt to write it all down. It can be cleansing, but it can also lead you down a dark path so be careful. This recent bout of mine with personal problems has opened my eyes once again to how easy it is to slip if I am not diligent. My inability to write was a symptom that helped me to realize just how far I had gone down the dark road.
Needless to say when I realized the problem and turned it around I was immediately surrounded by light again and writing became easy again for me. In a way it is just a change of attitude and in another it was a more direct intervention in events in my life. At any rate... I am back and I feel good about being able to write again. It has been a long few months for me and I am grateful to you who stuck around and kept faith that I would return.
Live well and be good to each other.