Welcome Scribbler friends! It’s been a little while since I’ve shared any of my thoughts on writing itself and I had a recent conversation with a friend of The Scribblers as well as my first published work about to be printed which has gotten me thinking. Hopefully some of you out there will find this helpful.
*Disclaimer: Feind Gottes does not consider himself a master writer so take advice with a grain of salt.
Well friends it’s taking Old Man Feind slightly longer than expected to get back in the swing of things. There are tons of reasons for this from settling into a new place, adjusting to a completely different time zone (my brain is still pretty well stuck on East Coast time), trying to find a way to make money without being a burden on anyone and perhaps the most important change, genuinely enjoying where I am. I wouldn’t say happy because that doesn’t seem to me to be a satisfactory term to how I’m feeling. I’ve made some big changes personally that are painful but I feel necessary for my own well being no matter how hard or painful they are to myself and others. Right now at this moment there are some things that I am just not used to at all. I have quiet to work and I have peace. I know those things should be “normal” but peace and quiet are two things I haven’t experienced in a very long time. Also I am now surrounded by people who appreciate and respect what I do which was not the case just a couple of weeks ago. I am a writer and that is all I want to be for better or worse. So with all of that in mind I’d like to pass along, to anyone who cares, any advice I can give to any creative types out there whether you write, draw, paint, make movies or however your personal creativity manifests itself. Hopefully you’ll get something useful out of this.
I don’t consider myself any sort of authority or guru, I can only relate to you things I have discovered myself along with some advice I’ve received that I find helpful. Now whether you write or draw or whatever you do to be creative the main thing I can say is do it every day. Some days I don’t feel like writing but unless I’m unable to for some reason I try to write something every single day. Now generally that’s actually quite a lot but there are days when it feels like each and every word has to be dragged out from my brain kicking and screaming the whole time. I imagine it is not really any different for artists or filmmakers and some I’ve talked to have confirmed this. Now just because you have a day or two or maybe a whole week where the words aren’t just “flowing” out of you doesn’t mean you have “writer’s block”. I can only speak from my own experience but this is my feeling: Writer’s Block is Bullshit! That’s right utter bullshit. When you sit there in front of your keyboard and have to pull out each word as though it were stuck down with superglue with a house sitting atop it I understand it’s easy to throw up your hands and shout, “I have writer’s block!” But no you don’t, sometimes it’s just difficult and the work comes out of you slower than when you’re at you’re best with the words flowing like water over Niagara Falls ( Hey, I used to live there!). It’s okay when the words aren’t just flowing as frustrating as it is when it happens try to keep in mind that it happens to everyone from a nobody like me to whoever your favorite writer happens to be. It happens but there are some things you can do to try getting back to whatever “normal” is for you.
First, when you find yourself in a slow spot sit back, take a deep breath and understand that it happens and it’s no real big deal (unless you’re up against a deadline, of course). Close your eyes and just take a few deep breathes for a moment trying to clear your mind of any worry. That isn’t the easiest thing to do but take a few minutes until you feel a little more relaxed. Second, try working on something else for a minute. Luckily by running this site I can take a break from whatever I’m working on and work on something else to keep things fresh. If I’m working on something original and the idea kind of dries up, I can switch to writing a movie or album review or something else for the site. If you don’t have that sort of thing to fall back on try doing something like that anyway even if it’s only for you. Not everything I write (or that you write) has to be for public consumption it can just be for you or for practice. If you’re stuck in a rut write about that. It doesn’t have to be for anyone else to see and you don’t have to save it but sometimes you just gotta get that shit out. Hell you can sit and just write “fuck” for ten pages if it makes you feel better but I think before long if you try doing something different it can get you back on track. Also realize that you may not get back to whatever “normal” is for you all that quickly, it may take a few hours or a few days but eventually you’ll get there just keep at it. Lastly, if none of that works for you another thing I like to do is go for a short walk. Hell I do it when I haven’t lost my flow. Sometimes taking a brief 15 or 20 minute walk just helps keep me fresh when things are actually going well. A quick break can help you think of new ideas so you can keep it fresh. Sometimes even when the words are flowing out of me like crazy it’s still good to take a short break to make sure I don’t get stale or repetitive.
Now the main thing that helps me whether the words are rushing out of me or just trickling one at a time is music. That may not be your thing but it is absolutely essential for me. I listen to music while I’m writing, after I’m writing, when I take a break from writing and pretty much about 80-90% of my waking hours. Yes, I have music playing at almost all times. Why is this helpful? Well it’s not if I were listening to one album or one genre over and over again but that isn’t what I do. I know we cover almost exclusively metal on the site here but I listen to a pretty wide range which for me at least helps keep my mind always thinking in different directions so that I don’t get stale or whine about some dreaded writer’s block. That shit is just in your head I’m telling you. If you sit there telling yourself that you have writer’s block guess what? You’re being your own worst enemy perpetuating the situation. Writer’s block is nothing more than a mental condition you’re creating all by your lonesome and if you keep telling yourself you have writer’s block then you’re gonna keep right on not writing anything at all.
Now finally I decided to write this today rather than review some horror movie (truth is I haven’t seen any I really liked recently) or metal album (those are for tomorrow!) due to a conversation I had with a Scribbler friend just before I left to first visit family & friends in NY then travel here to beautiful Arizona (I really love it here!). That conversation was with writer/artist Alexander Z Kautz who we highlighted and interviewed several months ago. Alex reached out just to say hello and we ended up having a conversation that lasted longer than I think either of us expected at the time. After a little catching up on what each of us had been up to lately we got into a little discussion about quality over quantity discussing our writing and a little of our own personal philosophies on writing. Writing is a lonely job, as writers we can only work alone and it’s very easy to think everything is just pure crap. Trying to come up with unique original material isn’t as easy as non-creators think and there is absolutely nothing worse than coming up with an awesome idea then seeing that someone else already did the same exact thing. While I have my own style and Cult has his own style, coming up with new ideas or new twists on old ideas can be difficult to say the least and no matter how pleased we are with what we come up with it is ultimately up to the reader to determine if it’s any good or not. This is where Alex knowingly or not gave me the advice I knew and had heard before but needed to hear anyway when he said, “Follow your heart. As you know, a writer creates first for themselves, then seeks to share. Stay true to your art always!” Thank you Alex! So now I pass that advice along to you and it’s true whether you’re a writer or some other form of creative type.
I don’t know if any of that helps anyone out there or not but I truly hope it did. Now just so you know how difficult writing can be this piece has taken me all day to write. Was it because of the dreaded “writer’s block”? Hell no! It was because there was trouble with a dishwasher we just had installed last week which created a couple of lengthy interruptions the last of which was my own fault or I should say the fault of my fat fumbly fingers that dropped a small screw for a bracket into the dishwasher requiring me to disassemble the bottom to get to it. Yes, this was extremely aggravating and frustrating but the dishwasher now works and though it took me all day I finally finished this. In the past a day like today may have had me pulling my hair out frustrated that I wasn’t getting much done but that is not the case today. I walk outside and it’s a sunny and beautiful 97 degrees, the sky is a beautiful blue and I can see mountains (I can’t describe how much I love that). Also while I was writing this and being interrupted/frustrated by the dishwasher situation I finally received a couple of responses about writing jobs that I had inquired about both of which should help with that money situation that had been weighing on my mind. So overall today was another good day to go with pretty much every day since I arrived here in my new home. Plus I managed to squeeze out about 1900 words for this piece and I have a couple of reviews to get finished for tomorrow yet so my work day isn’t done but I’m doing what I love and sharing it with anyone out there who cares to read it. Now don’t just sit there go create something damn it!
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Feind's 1st published tale
What do you think Scribbler fans? Did I provide anything useful to you today? I do hope so. Feel free to share your thoughts or experiences in the comments below.
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