Hey guys! This is the start of a mini-blogging series called “Writing for the Writer’s Block-Affected”! I know that it has been a very long time since I have touched base, and I do apologize! Between work, life, and everything in between, blogging wasn’t on top of the list. I’ve since made a few changes, and now I have the time, energy and most of all, passion to start blogging again, as per my 2017 goal.
So what is this series about? I’m going to share some of the concepts that I’ve used in the past and present that I did to keep myself writing, even when writer’s block kicks my ass. I’ll try to keep up with it, if not every week then every other week because as I’ve mentioned before life does happen. Let us begin, shall we?
In the Beginning…
While I have posted about why I started blogging, I never actually told the story as to why I started writing. In this part of the series, I will go into that story. Maybe someone can relate. Maybe someone will want to talk about it in the comments either here or on Facebook. Feel free to do so!
My journey started back in 1997. I was in junior high school, which was 7th grade for me. As you may or may not know, I was bullied massively in school. I had no friends and I pretty much stayed to myself. You know the person who was picked last in sports? That was me, if I was picked at all. You know the person who never got into group projects unless they were forced in by the teacher? That was me.
When my English teacher, Ms. A (actual initial; I usually don’t use real names outside of family, but she had a great impact on my writing endeavors, along with one other teacher who I will mention here too), assigned a group assignment to write a Christmas skit, I was once again alone on the log. I was used to it at this point. Depressing, but it was either solo or a zero, and I’ll be damned if I was getting a failing grade to sully my nearly perfect 100%.
I would also like to point out that my 13-year-old brain was just as scattered as my 32-year-old brain is and I forgot about this project until the day before it was due! Some things never change.
Anyway, I wrote the skit. Literally hand-wrote the skit. It was something like 10 pages long, written in pencil, and the main characters were Detective St. Ides (I forget her first name) and her sidekick, Minnie. Yes, my first creative writing gig was indeed a mystery. It was a group project, so I wasn’t expecting a perfect score, but was expecting at least a passing grade of a C. It would’ve been a hit, but it wouldn’t sully my grade that bad. I turned it in the next day and the following days were met with the groups performing it. This also kinda sparked my love for theater, but this isn’t here nor there. We got the grades back.
My heart dropped.
A++. I couldn’t believe it. Then I looked at the note that Ms. A left with it. “You are a wonderful writer! Keep on writing!” For years, I thought what with being bullied from not just kids but sometimes teachers that there was something wrong with me. Up until this point I had no words of encouragement, nothing to keep me motivated to do much. Hell, even going to school was a fight in and of itself. This is what I needed. In fact, this skit was so good that she even told my mom to encourage me to keep writing.
So I did. If nothing else, I kept writing. Writing now became my outlet for my teenage mind. I’ve written many things, from poems to prose, to screenplays. Sometimes for shits and giggles, sometimes just for myself, sometimes I let one person read it. I didn’t have friends, but I had sarcasm and a pen. And at that point, I was okay with that.
The Furthering of My Creative Passion
I went into high school with my love for writing. At this point, I’ve had books stacked nearly as tall as me with stuff I wrote since the 7th grade. I had to do a couple of elective classes and opted for Journalism and Creative Writing, both run by the same teacher, Ms. L. While I loved both classes, I felt more at home in the Creative Writing class. Maybe a little too at home!
Here’s how it worked: we were split into groups of 4-5, and every week someone had to write a short story and share it with the group. The bare minimum was a 2-page story. The Sapphire Dolphin spanned 12 pages long, while The War of the Seasons was an epic 18-page story. I let my juices flow, what can I say? Other than the ending of the latter being a bit frustrating of a cliffhanger (but was not), my group loved it. Then at the end of the year, we had to write several other pieces, and I ended up doing As Told By Shadow to fill in holes, and inadvertently make holes. Ms. L wrote a long note on that project which basically said that I may feel like a misfit, but I am very talented. “Keep on writing”.
So I did. And I expanded further by starting to blog. And the rest, as they say, is history.
The Writer’s Block Battle
When I was 21, I had a mental break. After this mental break, I had the desire to write, but couldn’t. I tried everything that I could, but I had really bad depression-induced writer’s block. This writer’s block lasted for months. While I’ve had writer’s block since then, this was the worst and I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy. I felt like I was slowly losing my passion, but in the meantime, I also had a burning desire. For these past months, that’s how it was. I had the desire, but not the energy. Now I’m slowly getting that back, and boy am I glad because the creative juices are flowing big time and I need to get that sumbitch out like yesterday!
So there you have it: how I found my creative passion in writing. Blocks suck just as much as plain old burnout. In my next post, I will delve further into the stuff that don’t work for me in terms of combating the writer’s block monster. Until then, unleash your awesome!