Thursday, August 5, 2010

Inspiration, where ARE you?

I'm a lazy bum. And most of the time I like it. But lately I've been jonesin' to do something productive, creative, and have found myself completely lacking in the inspiration department.

I have a few things I'm working on, but I'm blocked. I know some tricks that work for me when it comes to fending off writer's block, but the problem is... I'm a lazy bum. I haven't felt like I've got what it takes to just sit down and work.

I've been blaming summer classes. Spanish 4 and me are hoping to break up soon, and Self Defense and I just parted ways. So I'm running out of excuses. I'm hoping in the next few weeks I'll be able to relax and add some words to my work in progress, or W.I.P. as I'm known to call it. Wip. Close to whip. Which is what it's doing to me right now—whipping me—considering I'm totally stuck on the plot.

The secret cause of writer's block.

When I took Creative Writing at TCC, one method I learned for scaring away writer's block was to write blindfolded. Which can admittedly look a bit odd if you're, say, at Starbucks to write. But the way I like to do it is to dim my screen completely and type away. I've found it really helps because you can't judge yourself based on how much (or how little) of the page you've filled up. You can't see your word count, so you can't feel behind. You just type, and keep typing until you run out of steam. It's actually quite nice.

What do you guys like to do to get out of a funk? Do you break out the blindfolds? Or are you less kinky than that? ;-)


Maggie said...

Boy do I know how you feel. Artist are the same way. Maybe do something relaxing? For me inspiration hits in the most unlikely places. The old writing mojo will come back soon enough. Good Luck :)

Sarah Thomas said...

Oh yes, the worst is when I'm randomly inspired and in a place where I can do absolutely nothing about it! That's something I LOVE my phone for. I make a lot of plot notes and ideas in my phone.

I actually just started writing again tonight and, while it took a little bit to get back in the groove, I'm actually pretty happy with what I wrote. Exciting!

Thanks for dropping by and commenting!

John Dearden said...

I really liked the blindfold idea.

I tried that once while making jewelry. Between hammering on the the metal (my fingers) and torching the metal (catching the desk on fire), I decided to change to a more jewelry friendly technique.

Actually I keep a few sketchbooks where I have some various ideas put to paper and a few books and magazines within easy reach to inspire me for making jewelry. When I want to try and write, I check out a few different blogs and see how other people write about things and their different styles.

For me, writing was never one of my strong attributes. My English teacher in high school once told me that I was the best procrastinator she has ever seen and I thought that was a great compliment until years later. I guess it is never to late to start.

But ultimately I find inspiration on those wonderful blogs I follow and the people who make me want to try and be better than I am. Like your blog.

toni said...

Hey, thanks for the blindfold idea. I'm going to give that a try! I find that it's just brute determination that gets me out of a funk. Most of the effort is put into agonizing about not writing when I'm sitting doing something else. Just have to have a strong will (something I'm lacking at the moment :p). But, I've also found writing promt-like competitions are a great way to get out of a funk. It gives me momentary purpose :)

Ariel said...

One thing I've learned about being a writer is that we (or any kind of artist, really) need space. If I get a dry spell with the writing, I usually find it is because I've had too many other things going on and have not given myself the space--or the quiet--to write. So when I find that beginning to happen, I'll usually put the writing down and read. Reading usually does it for me because it is relaxing and it also tunes me back in to the excitement of storytelling.

Let's just say I've been doing a lot of reading lately. =D

Jenna Clark said...

Sometimes I'll open a new document or pull out a pad of paper and start writing down my frustrations about not knowing what to write.

I spill out all the self-depracating b.s. in writing and it always seems to help me purge the negative energy that's blocking my creative process.

Oh, and carry a digital recorder for all those times inspiration hits you while you're driving. That's when it gets me! :)

June said...

First and foremost let me say—you’ve been missed! So glad to see you back (told you I check daily!).

I’ve not heard of the blindfold but I sure chuckled when I read that and pictured myself doing the exercise in Starbucks! I find that I have certain movies that really inspire me to write…seems they are mostly ones that are narrated (I’m a sucker for those), and music—the right music.

I love the way you write! We all find ourselves running short on words at time. Perhaps you truly needed the mental break. Maybe you simply need to do something you find really fun—with no guilt and no pressure to perform. (I mean..with the separation and divorce going on….you need it, lol!)

I do have one idea for you, I suppose….hum….it just might work….you could read my blog:) Sometimes I find inspiration in other’s blogs. But I’m weird like that, lol!

Whatever you do…whenever you get to it…I’m confident it will be worth the wait—but hurry, would you?!! Hehehe!

Loryn said...

Go for a walk somewhere new, or drive around a new neighborhood, or go to a cafe place you don't normally go to (or even mall) and people watch. Those usually help me :)

Sarah Thomas said...

@Josh—Yikes! Anything involving flames is probably best to do without a blindfold. ;-)
I am also a world-renowned procrastinator. My excuse is that I work best under pressure, but that’s only partly true.
I’m so glad you find inspiration from my blog! That really means a lot!

@toni— You’re very welcome! I hope it works for you as well as it does for me! Determination is also a great tool for defeating writer’s block, for sure. Sometimes I just tell myself, “Okay, so you’re writing crap. Just keep writing it until it gets better.” Ha! And YES. I love writing prompts. I have this great book my friend Matt got me called The Writer’s Block. It has all kinds of awesome prompts and ideas in it. Plus, literally, it looks like a block. I love it!

@Ariel—Totally relate to that, girl! I’m a much better and more effective writer when I am actively reading. And I get so much inspiration from the books I love. It’s just a good idea all around. The more I write, the more I use books as a tool. If I think I’m being too wordy, I read other books and see what they do. If I’m having trouble with descriptions or scenery, I see how other authors handle it. It’s an invaluable tool, to be sure! Thanks for the comment!

@Jenna—I do that, too! I keep a journal and there are more than a few entries of babbling about how I can’t write and I’m frustrated about it. And a digital recorder, what a great idea! I’m going to have to try that!

@June—Aw, thank you so much! It’s so nice to be missed. :-)
I definitely get inspired by movies, too. Anything with a good story, a strong plot—those are what really move me. And, of course, music.
I think the mental break was good for me. Being able to write just for me is such a great feeling. No papers due, no deadlines. It’s excellent. And I will absolutely be visiting your blog!
Thanks for the vote of confidence about it being worth the wait! I hope I don’t disappoint!

@Loryn—That sounds fun! I’ve been dying to go for a walk lately but it’s been so hot outside I haven’t had the will to stand it. Ha! The cafĂ© sounds like a good idea. People-watching is a great pastime. :-)

Jess said...

Well I've had a long streak of bloggers-block/writers-block. I usually wait until something happens in my daily life...even if it's something that gets me experiences and things that I find funny are usually what I blog about. However, my blogs here lately have been rather emo and I'm somewhat embarrassed. At the time the blogs were written it was just an expression of how I felt and what was going on in my mind. Going back and re-reading them leaves me feeling embarrassed and like some whiny dork. I'm still grasping at inspiration wherever I can get it but it's hard! Good blog. I'm sure you be motivated again soon!

Matt Bukaty said...

HUH! I adore the piece of paper with his pleasantries.

And I don't really have any writer's block advice...but we've had this conversation before. If you figure something out, drop it my way.

-socry <------- "So, cry!" There, that's your writer's block cure. *nod*

Sarah Thomas said...

@Jess—Writing about daily life is definitely a good way to go. I find that if I can take a situation that was bad for me, or hard for me and making it funny and relatable, I’ve done something positive when what started out as a less-than-desirable situation. Plus it’s pretty cathartic. Don’t be embarrassed or feel whiny! It’s your blog, and if you need to vent, it’s perfectly acceptable. I’ve done it before, too. :-)

@Matt—I’d tell you to try the blindfold thing, but the stuff we write isn’t exactly the same. I’m pretty sure you need eyes to write music. Maybe?

And I adore the piece of paper, too. ^_^

Sabriel Skye said...

That's definitely an interesting way of fighting off writer's block.

Every time I get writer's block, I make myself a cup of hot tea with milk, sugar, and whipped cream. For some reason, when I drink hot tea like this, the words just pour from me.

It sounds weird, I know, but whatever works, right?

Sarah said...

Absolutely! I say who cares if it's weird as long as it works? :-)