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Midnight Writes

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I have this weird little thing happen to me as a writer that I simply can’t explain. I suppose most writer’s go through dry-spells and writer’s block, when creativity is at a minimum. I have my own, sometimes lasting months, and I’m never too sure when they’ll end.

However, the fact, is when inspiration strikes, it hits hard. And often at really inconvenient times.

I never seem to be inspired to write when I’m sitting around with nothing to do. No, it’s during midterms, or when final projects are stacking up, or when my computer is in the shop because it is failing to work properly as always.

And most importantly, I almost always get my inspiration strikes at night.

Sure, my blog posts get put up midday, but often, I’m writing them in the evening and put them up later to get better readership.

When I say night, yes I do sometimes mean normal times like eight or nine. But other times I am referring to my owl-like tendencies where I can’t start getting a good bit of writing done until midnight or later.

Don’t believe me?

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Writing Is an Open Door

To any who haven’t seen Frozen yet I highly recommend it. With fantastic music, beautiful animation, and a marvelous storyline, it is easily one of Disney’s greatest movies.

One of my all time favorite songs in it is “Love Is an Open Door.” I don’t know why exactly, other than the fact that it’s catchy and fun. But I guess in the last few weeks I’ve been thinking a lot about openness, about closing oneself off, something that is a big part of Frozen. You might have noticed, dear readers, that this has been a theme of my last few posts. I suppose it’s just something I’ve been thinking about that’s been coming up again and again in my life.

Elsa and Anna represent two completely different approaches to life. Elsa closes herself off completely for fear of hurting others or being hurt herself, but in doing so she pushes anyone who might try to be close away. Anna opens herself wide, expressing all of her feelings, letting loose her heart, but in doing so she puts herself at risk for those who might hurt her.

In relationships I’ve so often found myself doing one or the other. It’s easy to either slam the door shut or to open it too wide. I once had someone compare friendships to walking into a house. With some people we only let them sit on the porch, others come and walk through, and still others are allowed into secret dark rooms to see the dirtiest most broken parts.

But writing is also something where someone has to debate whether to open or shut a door. Do you write about personal private things that hurt, or do you simply write fun amusing stories with no depth?

In my literature class this semester I had the pleasure of reading Moby-Dick and ended up writing my end of the year research paper on it. In reading more about Herman Melville I found that his novel was in many ways a picture of his own dark and desperate struggles with life’s questions: whether there is a God and if so is he good? Can humans define their own destiny? Is there a greater purpose?

First Edition American copy of Moby Dick by Herman Melville

In reading about Melville, about how he allowed himself to open the door to the inner turmoil and capture that on a page, I found myself utterly fascinated. I’ve always prided myself on trying to remain open in my writing, but to put such dark confusing questions into a novel remained something I wasn’t sure I could ever do, or certainly not something I could publish at the very least.

Writing is much like relationships in that respect. It’s a choice whether to open the door and let depth and meaning come about, to allow deeper connection with readers, and yet risk being hurt. Or to shut that door and keep up a cool exterior of writing that has nothing to do with anything personal, merely meaningless fun.

There are writers we read who certainly do the latter. One of my literature professors had us try building a portrait of a writer we were reading, and we agreed that it was easy to understand what type of person he was just from reading his works, but other writers hide behind their works and we never really know who they are. Sometimes maybe we catch a brief glimpse of their voice, but it’s never with the same depth or meaning as others.

As a young girl I promised myself I would never write anything just for the fun of it. I use to say: not for the fortune, nor the fans, nor even the fun. And I think that continues to be my motto as I write. I never want to be like Elsa and close off that door to my readers. I don’t want to build an icy exterior to keep my readers at bay. I want to be open and honest, want to develop a relationship with them on the page just like other writers that I have loved reading. But in doing so I know I risk being hurt from criticism or rejection. But I don’t care. I want my writing to be an open door. And I shall forever try to maintain that.

Have any other writers out there struggled with this? Readers do you have any favorite books that you see a writer coming through the pages? Any Frozen lovers out there just want to discuss the movie? I’m up for that too. Any comments you have are great.

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Creativity Isn’t Cheap

So unfortunately writers can’t always keep their creative energy running. Some people probably think it’s a renewable resource that is continually there whenever the writer needs it. However, this is often not the case.

Whether it’s writer’s block or just lack of motivation, we can’t always write no matter how much we might want to. Famous authors have struggled with it throughout time even if they managed to try to keep a regular schedule that most writers try so hard to achieve.

I’m going through one of those periods when I just don’t feel like writing, there’s no motivation, I stare at a page and wonder why I’m even doing this. And the sad thing is I have a month off before I go study abroad, and it’s my last chance to write in English before a semester spent in French.

So in my attempt to try to garner some creativity I thought I’d write a few good tips for fighting writer’s block or writer’s lack of inspiration.

1. Take a break- There’s only so far you can force yourself. So, in an effort to preserve precious time and energy try walking away for a bit and coming back later.

2. Find a creative zone- For me long walks or warm showers are great places to just start thinking over possible plot problems or just get creative energy going. Find a place where you feel that you can best get thinking.

3. Read- Sometimes picking up a good book is a good way to take a rest from writing while still keeping a creative mind set, looking over new story ideas, getting your energy going.

4. Other mediums- Get involved in other types of art whether it’s just observing, or participating. Try painting, theater, music, dancing, pottery, or film, or something else entirely. See if maybe another form of creativity might bring you back to writing. I love watching movies or looking at visual art to get me inspired again.

5. Talk to someone- If you have someone who you trust well enough, try working out a troubling plot point with them, or talking about what you could possibly work on to get yourself motivated again. Sometimes they don’t even have to give suggestions, just be there to listen as you sort through your mental processes.

6. Try a different form- If you’re stuck on a novel maybe blog for a bit (like me right now). If you can’t seem to find that right way to finish an essay then write a poem about your frustrations. Keep writing but change it up.

7. Give yourself some grace- Remember that all writers have dry spells. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you simply can’t get yourself to write…unless you’re on a time schedule…then you might want to make sure to finish.

So as I struggle through this period where I just can’t write any of my novels, I hope to try to keep up blogging and maybe get some good ideas from you.

Any suggestions from my readers on good ways go get past writer’s block or writer’s lack of motivation? I always love more suggestions.

PS: A little more than 2 weeks left for me to speak English. I will try my best to keep some good posts coming for the rest of my time in the States.

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