Monday, January 23, 2012

Trying to thaw a deep freeze



Lately I've been having one of those deep freezes take hold of my brain. You know the ones where you can feel what you're writing. It's like something or someone removed a chunk of my brain. I know I've had them before and they scare the flippin' daylights out of me, and I'm starting to figure out why they happen to me.

Every time I learn something new or work on a 'technical' aspect of writing, it seems to freeze all creativity. It grabs hold of comfort and joy of writing and stuffs it into a bag that's black. I have so many new ideas (I can see vividly) and so much I need to do on the manuscript I want to query, but I freeze and that part of me trembles and curls into a corner. I want to feel it again. That love. That freeness. I know it will come back. It has to--to fill the void it's leaving. And I finally figured out why it's happening this time.

Remember my grammar post? Yeah, my weakness of grammar is holding that euphoric feeling captive. My fingers start then I stop in fear that it will be horrible. When I'm being technical, things don't flow. It's so scary because I miss that feeling when everything just pours out without thinking. I know I'm growing and my writing is getting stronger, but it just feels uncomfortable. Even in my posts--I'm afraid I missed something important and it's making me look stupid. It makes my writing rigid.

I've tried other things--taking a break, reading, free writing--all of it still leaves me frustrated and scared. This is one of those dips in the roller coaster ride. You know, where you're screaming your head off trying to make sense of which direction the coaster will go next. Where your stomach is in your throat and you can't let go because you might fly out of your seat. Yep, that feeling. It leaves a shiver.

The question is--How do you thaw out the frozen part of your brain? You're trying to learn, grow and strengthen, yet all the rules make you analyze and over think, stopping anything creative to flow. How can you recapture that feeling of being free?

Have a great day!

11 comments:

  1. Maybe just open a document and write w/out the pressure. You're not going to ever try to publish and you just want to have fun. Getting too caught up in the rules of writing can do this. Hope the freeze thaws soon!

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  2. I am so like that. When I allow myself to think about technical writing instead of just getting the story out, I freeze. Stressing about the 'perfection' of our writing must come after we've written the first draft, maybe even after we've gone through a few rounds of edits.

    To thaw out, I usually find a different creative outlet, like watching a great movie, reading, painting, or even singing (poorly) to music.

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  3. Christine, when I get stuck or frustrated, I try to remind myself that revising and editing a chapter on the page is easier than staring at a blank page. Get the ideas down, and fix the grammar later. Try to make the editing a separate task, one that you might even learn to enjoy. The only way to get better at something is to practice it, and if you're trying to improve the technical aspects of your writing, then you have to have material to work with!

    For me, getting stuck and losing creativity usually means I'm taking the story in the wrong direction. Even then, I remind myself that if I write half a chapter and then delete it, it will help me pinpoint what I'm doing wrong. Sometimes I have to write pages I know I'm going to delete just to figure out where I've taken a wrong turn, if that makes sense.

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  4. I don't have this problem. Because of the way my brain's wired, I'm both a creative and analytical person. For me, it's just a simple matter of flipping from one side of the brain to the other with a flick of the switch.

    Sorry, I can't be of any help. Laura's idea sounds good. :D

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  5. I remind myself to stop over-thinking.
    Like Stina, the editing part is more freeing to me than the first rough, messy draft.

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  6. i tell myself to write like a first grader. it works sometimes.

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  7. I hate freezes! Sometimes you just have to wait it out and keep trying what you're trying: free writing, outlining, anything. Good luck!

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  8. It sounds like you've overdone it at some point. This always happens to me when I push too hard. I'd say allow yourself to take a break, and enjoy it. You'll come back to your creative self soon!

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  9. That is when I take a break and knock out some blog posts, something to stop the over analysis and get the creativity going again. There are some fun blogfests coming up and those tend to help me as well. However, I really like analyzing too, so maybe that's not something that will help.

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  10. Oh,exactly, Christine! I think I was doing better a couple of years ago when I hadn't studied much about the craft itself and just wrote for the pure joy of writing. I was unstoppable! Then a CP told me I should be buying this book and that book and studying them and learning from them. Ever since then, I started freezing up when I write. It takes a while to thaw. Sometimes I have to do something physical, like a brisk walk or cleaning the house. Sometimes I just watch a movie. A cup of tea and some chocolate cake helps too!

    Good luck! Hope you thaw out soon.

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  11. I think you've just explained why I love first drafts and have trouble with everything that comes afterwards. I can put anything I want in a first draft. After that it has to, you know, make sense.

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