Tuesday, September 15, 2009

New Rhythms, New Routines

Because so much of my writing history at the time I created The MoonQuest was linked to desks, deadlines and other people’s projects, the only way I could banish old associations that felt anything but free-flowing was to break all the patterns of my previous writing life.

First I abandoned the computer, composing The MoonQuest’s early drafts with pen and paper. Next, I abandoned my desk, bound as it was to the soul-numbing words that had so recently comprised my livelihood.

Mornings, with a pad balanced on my knee, just before or after breakfast, I allowed The MoonQuest’s scenes to pour from my pen onto the blank page.

Evenings, I input the day’s jottings into the computer.

Some days I needed a more dramatic break from the old to connect with my nascent story.

On those days, I often drove over North Mountain to Baxters Harbour on the Bay of Fundy. There, as the Atlantic surf crashed on the rocky Nova Scotia shore, I sat in the car or on a boulder and let the ocean tell me what to write next.

A one-day change of habit and venue was all it took to put me back on track.

When you feel blocked in your writing, one way to get unblocked is to break the pattern of your normal creative routine.

• If you tend to write on the computer, switch to pen and paper.
• Write in the morning instead of the afternoon or evening, or vice versa.
• If you generally write at your desk, move away from the perceived pressures of your “work” environment.
• Go for a walk to clear your mind.
• Take pad and pen and curl up in a comfortable chair.
• Sit out in nature.
• Move to a favorite café.
• Drive to some place quiet...different...inspirational.

And feel the creative power of your new rhythm.

When you feel blocked in your life, the same principles apply. Break your routine. Get of your rut. Take a risk. Step out of the cocoon of your comfort zone. And discover the new light and life of your infinite potential.

What can you do today to break the patterns that are keeping you rutted in routine? Whatever it is, do it. Now.

For more tips on how to move through writer's block and live your creativity, read The Voice of the Muse: Answering the Call to Write, winner of a 2009 IPPY Silver Medal as one of the top writings books of the year.

Photo of Baxters Harbour from www.baxtersharbour.com


Brittany Landgrebe said...

The same thing happened to me, but with the beginning of my current (and first ever) WIP. I had about 6 different starting chapters or scenes, and it took me three months to find one that would sort of work and continue from there.

When my Mac needed to be sent to Apple for repairs, I didn't let it get me down. I got my journal, my favorite pen, and set up a nice little cave in my garage. I finished my WIP in 29 days doing that. Now I edit/ revise while I'm transcribing.

This really helped me get into the groove of the story, set in a time that most certainly did NOT have computers, or even typewriters. My muse was freed from the confines of my desk and computer, and began exploring the tale I'd set out to write.

Sometimes, you just have to find the place or way your muse feels at ease. Great post!

Mark David Gerson said...

Great story, Brittany. Thanks for sharing it.

The bottom line is that it's all about responding to the needs and requirements of the work and our muse, whatever they are.

Sometimes, we fall into that rhythm naturally. Sometimes, life nudges us in that direction.

Congratulations on your accomplishments!

Audre Gutierrez said...

What a great site!! Beautiful and informative and inspirational. I agree with your tips for stimulating creativity...I would add one more that works incredibly for me...using an essential oil or oils to entice the font of creativity inside of us to flow again or flow more fully.

I am a medicinal aromatherapist, so plant and tree essences are my world. But it took several of my musical and creative clients to bring the power of the essences in THIS regard to my attention. Some use essences to enhance their playing, others, their writing (or both). I have had two recent experiences that leave no doubt that the plants and trees allow us to tap that wellspring inside of us.

One involved a book I am writing on Meditation and how the essences profoundly enhance that experience. My husband and I went to Angel Fire so that I could have some uninterrupted time for writing. Every session, I would put an essence like Frankincense on my crown chakra, Ylang Ylang on my heart and Violet on my third eye. Wow. The words would just flow through me...so quickly, I could hardly keep up with typing them.

The other experience is the blog I have just started...FearlessAromatherapy.com

I was inspired by Julie & Julia to start blogging about all of the essential oils in our line...all 200+ of them, in a year. I take the essence I will be blogging about, contemplate it, open the bottle and inhale it, then put several drops on my wrists, my heart, my crown chakra or my third eye...whichever areas call me. Again, once the essence is inside of me, I can barely keep up with the messages, images and feelings that pour through me. What starts as a "I am not sure if this is going to work today" kind of feeling becomes a flood of creativity that carries me with it.

Thanks for the work you do, Mark...bringing what is inside of us to the world is a process that is intimidating or frustrating for many, yet I view it as the birth and life of our soul. It is what brings peace and a knowing that we are truly operating from our hearts and our passion.

Blessings, Audre Gutierrez

Mark David Gerson said...

Thanks for sharing your story and your tips, Audre. In fact, my chapter in The Voice on the Muse titled "Transitions" specifically mentions aromatherapy as one of the tools writers can use to shift their energy into a more creative place. Thanks for going into more detail than space allowed -- here or in the book -- on its benefits.

Run DMT said...

Found you via #writechat. Those are great tips. Thanks for sharing!

Mark David Gerson said...

Thank *you*! I hope we're mutually following on Twitter...