October 27, 2010

Overcoming Writer’s Block

Posted in Writer's Block tagged at 9:30 am by Rebecca Hein

Last week I noted that writer’s block in subtle form can be simply a refusal of one’s ideas to materialize in good order. Words can flow, but if your content won’t behave, how can you arrange it in logical sequence?

This was my struggle. I couldn’t write even the first chapter of a book for which my concept was clear. For months I saw no way out of this difficulty.

My problem turned out to be a failure to be true to myself; not in the substance of my book, but in another area of my life. Thus our creativity depends on finding and maintaining internal harmony.

October 20, 2010

Writer’s Block

Posted in Uncategorized, Writer's Block tagged , , , at 9:30 am by Rebecca Hein

We think of writer’s block as a complete halt. Unable to produce a word, we struggle to push through an invisible wall so thick it defeats us.

Often, warm-ups and practice writing are enough to overcome this, but if the problem is deeper than a lack of flow, a different solution is needed.

I found myself in just this position last week, after months of trying to start two books for which I thought my ideas were clear. I’d been doing warm-ups for years, and practice writing for months, and I never have a problem producing words. But I couldn’t put my ideas in order, and this is an example of a more subtle form of writer’s block.

Next: How I overcame the problem

October 13, 2010

Right Brain Practicing

Posted in Practice Writing tagged , at 9:15 am by Rebecca Hein

Classical musicians are exhorted to pay attention and practice with a plan. I did this for years until it stopped working and I could no longer control the direction of my thoughts. I had no idea what was wrong.

The problem was more subtle in my writing. I felt that I was working against myself and somehow unable to move forward.

After I found the solution for cello practice, it transferred easily to writing: let my mind float around all my various problems of tone, pitch, and rhythm. This worked because it activated my right brain, which thinks in the sensory images and emotional memories that are the heart of creativity.

October 6, 2010

Practicing for Success

Posted in Success tagged , , , , at 9:45 am by Rebecca Hein

In these hard times, we need to draw upon our full complement of assets, which includes both intellect and imagination. Cello practice requires these faculties and, as writers, the sooner we learn to nurture them, the better it will be for our future.

Attention isn’t enough. You have to apply the right kind of focus. A direct approach can work, such as “How can I make this character more alive?” But you need to couple questions like this with regular periods of release, during which you actively cultivate unconscious thought. This is where writing practice comes in. Because practice writing is so easy, it demands little attention, and then we can coast along on the flow we’ve created. Our minds begin to drift, and this is the perfect setup for the flash of insight we need.