Thursday, June 14, 2012

On writing lulls and getting through them

Almost no one can write continuously and never feel a lull coming on. Lulls are a bane for writers as they can lead to that thing we call writers block if we don't go back to writing soon enough.

Lulls occur for various reasons. They can be because you get sick, there's a crisis with a loved one, you over-tire yourself, you worked to hard and burnt out, you're chewing on an idea in the back of your mind or you're called to do something else by necessity. Whatever the reason lulls usually last days at the least and can extend endlessly at the most. It is just about every enthusiastic writer's nightmare that the lull eventually cuts them off from what they love, the weaving of words.

How to get through lulls without loosing your writing skills or your enthusiasm can be as simple as working on several projects at once. There are many projects to choose from, some necessary for writers and some not.

Blogging and networking
Now, there is a lot of talk about blogging and social networking being only a distraction for a writer and there is some truth to this. Networking and blogging do take time, there's no denying it. But if the ideas and motivation are there and the blogs are posted once or twice a week rather than once or twice a day then there shouldn't be too much issue. Only when you have no ideas on blogging and are sitting there for hours pondering away will blogging become an issue. Otherwise, blogging is simply setting aside an hour or two to belt out a short piece and then sharing it. During a lull in writing, blogging can actually help you remain involved in searching for ideas and writing. 
Networking on the other hand, does little but keep you informed as to writing trends and of the progresses contacts have made, sometimes leading to feelings of envy and insecurity.

Mental projects
These keep the mind occupied and churning away. They could be on learning a new job or taking a course at any educational facility. No matter the project the use of the mind keeps you taking on new ideas, which as you know provides new fodder for writing and also keeps you in a problem solving frame of mind. Both are essential in writing as nearly every stage requires new ways of looking at things, new material and solutions to the various problems that crop up, whether in writing style or content.
The problems with mental projects though are that they are time consuming, require much of your mind that could otherwise be aimed at writing and all that comes with it as well as being surprisingly tiring. Undertake mental projects during a lull only if you know that you can put them on hold when needed, they aren't too time consuming or if they're necessary for living the life you want.

Physical projects
These can be anything from knitting, small art projects, gardening, clothes making, wood chopping, building, farming or exercising. Whatever it is can either be physically relaxing or tiring but they do leave ample mental room for solving whatever problem it is that's causing your writing lull. The only problem to be found is a possible lack of notepaper about and a physical exhaustion that can prevent you from scribbling down those ideas you have. relaxing physical projects are less likely to cause these problems but then they are the projects to suffer when attention is turned elsewhere. If you're knitting, best take a note of the line and knit number or coming back to it will be difficult.

Earthly projects
There are the more earthly projects to undertake and by that I mean those that are entangled with everyday life. These are cooking, home making, child rearing (yes, some of it can be seen as a project as you're aiming to make something good out of them), animal caring and other such things. There is always an opportunity to clean out the house and thereby your mind, as I'm sure you've all experienced. Such projects don't always take away from writing time as you'd have to do them anyway. They also have the added benefit of leaving you mentally unchallenged, if tired to the point of dropping where you stand in the case of child rearing.

All such projects have to be carefully balanced with you writing time and while conducting such projects it is always best to keep your story in mind. Otherwise your lull might just take over and become permanent. Choose your projects wisely or tackle what life throws at you but keep on writing, even if it is writing short pieces like this.

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