HARD TO GET GOING MOST DAYS
AMBER LOVE 28-JUNE-2016 I’m sure there about a hundred thousand or more blog posts about how to overcome writer’s block (including those that say it isn’t real). Sometimes I don’t have writers’ block specifically, but still can’t get my fingers moving across the keyboard.
If my Depression has reared its ugly head, it’s hard to find pleasure in anything. I turn to food, that’s no secret. The food itself still has no flavor. Doing fun things can help, but I’ll usually cancel my plans. Sex usually won’t happen because I hate everything, even bodies. Then there’s trying to be creative.
Writing requires a particular set of mental processes that are the non-sweaty equivalent of running a Spartan Race. Writing isn’t easy. It isn’t a nine-hour warehouse shift, but it does require a lot of brain effort.
I’m also not one to ignore the physical toll sitting at desk requires. It sounds ridiculous to say. I was a massage therapist once upon a time and I’ve spent most of my working life at desks. I see what sitting on your butt hunched over does to the body.
Being in pain can absolutely keep someone from wanting to write (or paint, cook, whatever your outlet). I watched all of HOUSE — centered around main character Gregory House who was addicted to pain pills because of chronic pain from muscle death. Even though being high on pain pills usually makes outsiders think a patient is floating in bliss, House was a great fictional example of pain making a person so grouchy, fatigued, and frustrated that they’re just an asshole to be around.
Whether you have intermittent pain or chronic pain, if your body is not cooperating, writing will be even harder that day.
Any illness of the body and the consequences of treating or not treating it, can get in the way. Today, I’m in what I called a “Benadryl hangover” because that shit is great for letting me sleep, but I have a hard time functioning the following day. But I needed it because I had been itching for hours and crying with worry and anxiety. My skin was not going to let me lie in bed restfully watching TV. This weary, drugged feeling means I envision my characters in my head like watching characters of a video game, but mine are stuck with network lag. They aren’t doing the work. I need to make them move, but I feel like I can’t.
WHAT TO DO IF WRITING WORDS ISN’T WORKING
As I said, if you search on “overcoming writer’s block” you’ll get a million hits for ideas. Take a walk. Play with your dog. Call your mother. There are tons and tons of suggestions, but none of them are personal answers and, quite frankly, not being able to do your work is a personal problem. What works for someone else might not work for you and that’s an obvious thing to point out. So here is one thing I’ve been doing:
Playing with tarot cards
I’ve been reading cards on and off for decades; I’ve had long periods (of Depression) where I wasn’t atheist exactly, but I was furious at whatever possible higher power could let bad shit happen to good people. Part of my faith/spiritual practice is divination in different forms. One of those is tarot cards. The victim of this story a part-time tarot card reader so I decided to start messing around with my different decks and diving back into divination.
I’ve heard several other people say that they use tarot to help motivate their creative forces, sort of like a pagan version of Mad Libs. “Protagonist is at odds with [King of Pentacles] as s/he [travels away from home] and the result is that [s/he is able to find sanctuary or hide].”
Today I used The Pocket Goddess Tarot which is one of the decks in my collection that I never used. I’ve just begun trying to use tarot to make decisions for my characters or see what’s in my own way and prohibiting me from writing. The cards pulled today all about overwhelming struggle, but the swords indicate the struggle can be overcome; Goddess Freyja (love, creativity, beauty) is on the Power card indicating that power is probably going to be misused.
Well… wtf? Struggle is something I’m completely familiar with, so those cards didn’t surprise me. But “Power”? What freaking power? I feel like I have none in my life personally. As for the power over my story, that’s another puzzler. With the Benadryl haze causing my characters to stand still or glitch, I need something that inspires me and is strong enough to get me to move them.
What could the Power card mean? Should I abuse my characters more to show them I have the power? Should I grant them the power to take down the villains? I know that’s the end goal since this is another mystery novel, but what steps at this point in the story can I take? I’m at the place where the suspect list is short. The protagonist has a good idea of what’s going on, but she has two main suspects and doesn’t know how to prove the evildoing.
I drew another card from the top of the deck, Seven of Staves (Wands). Dammit! It still means “struggle.” I know that! I drew another, Five of Cups – disappointment and seeing that two cups are still full while three have spilled and lost their contents. My main character, Farrah, is like me and we are “the glass is half empty” kind of people.
This particular story (book 3) already is about loss: death, divorce, not getting the dream job. Farrah and her friends, June and Lenore, are not having a good time in this book.
Unfortunately, none of these cards are helping me solve today’s writing problem which is to move Farrah forward and prove whodunit. The reason it’s not a complete bust is because I wrote about a thousand words here in this post just to talk about it. I’ve sent out questions for a written interview too. My fingers have been clacking at the keyboard. Now I have to hope some of the cobwebs are clear so I can get to it.