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Musings on a Writer's Nook

Updated on June 30, 2014
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For me, a writer's nook is always a place that calls to me on a particular day. On colder winter days, I sit in the cozy loft of our condo, where the heat rises and warms you more than anywhere else in our home. Recently, the temperate weather has beckoned me to the balcony, where I sit on our glider chair and find inspiration from the beautiful wooded area atop the hill behind our building. Usually I need to be isolated, but sometimes I can cozy up next to my husband while he reads the paper and quietly waits for cues from me that it's ok to speak without bursting my creative bubble.

My tools are usually my laptop, but sometimes a spiral notebook and my favorite fluid ball point pen that writes like a felt tip. I feel we have a bond. He writes more the way I want - not just obeying my physical commands to pour his ink upon the paper; it feels as though he helps draw the right words from me more freely. He is more a seeing eye dog than an unruly, misbehaving house pet.

Before the age of laptops, when I wrote so extensively in my teens, I felt a visceral connection to my pen and paper. I could never imagine writing a first draft of anything on a typewriter, which was the laptop-equivalent writer's tool of the time. I have surprised myself, however, with my sometimes affair with the laptop as a writing partner. My pen and pad, though, have always been so loyal - always there, willing to go anywhere with me, never demanding, rarely cranky the way the laptop can be. I don't need a power cord or a flat surface or a virus check program to write with my true love. My notepad never refuses to open, and my pen gives ample warning before needing to be refueled. And he doesn't mind a nibble here and there when I need to concentrate on a stubborn passage.

My writers' block never stems from a lack of chair glue, as writers call the magnetic force that keeps them tacked in place, instigating the flow of creativity from mind to paper. For me, it is the vehicle that drags me to the chair and glues me down that is the most elusive. Once I have found my mojo and my writing begins pouring forth fluidly, stopping myself - applying chair glue remover - is something I find difficult. I usually write better later at night, and often I have continued to write well beyond the time I should stop and go to sleep.

My greatest weakness as a writer definitely is lack of discipline to sit down and tap into my creativity. It's not that I'm afraid or insecure. If my writing is terrible, I don't have to show it to anyone. A large portion of my writing over the years has never been seen by others because of my fear and self-doubt. Some of it just has meaning that probably only I would understand. No one who has read my writings has ever been mean or overly critical. I fear, however, that I will detect carefully-hidden insincerity in their well-meaning praise, rendering their supportive feedback moot, perhaps more damaging in the hidden truth of my mediocrity. I'm not sure what hinders my ability to sit and begin, but I do hope writing on HubPages will help break the inertia. I can scribble a little here and there and post it. Perhaps no one will ever read it. Perhaps it will be read, and feedback will be genuine, as reviewers have no personal attachment and therefore no obligation to offer a charitable kind word.

Besides, this place is not intended as an outlet for creative writing per se. That does not mean that I will not incorporate a colorful phrase into my culinary instructions. Sharing my struggles through the warren western medicine, to my liberation and deliverance by alternative medicine, I will inevitably incorporate flourished script swaddled in vibrant ornamentation.

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Tips for Beating Writer's Block

  • If you don’t have the time or motivation to start your own HubPages, keep a journal and scribble down a little bit every day. It does not have to be long, and it does not have to be complete. It can be a traditional journal entry, or it can be a poem or a dirty limerick - as long as it is yours.
  • Keep a notebook handy - even a tiny little notepad to sketch down ideas as they come to you, impressions of the world around you, quirks you see in people you encounter
  • Buy one of those giant scrolls of paper - the kind that could also double as crab-feast table protection (for those of you who don’t live in crab country - well, you don’t know what you’re missing). Create a gigantic stream-of-consciousness schematic of the novel that’s been brewing in your subconscious. Illustrate the relationships and interconnectedness of your characters. If you are an artist - or even if you are not - sketch the characters as they appear to you. Oddly, mine are all stick figures!
  • Just Write! It does not have to be good or make sense, and it does not have to be for anyone else to read. Just get the juices flowing. Take 5-10 minutes every day, anywhere you might have a moment alone with your thoughts. (Yes, everyone has this much time alone. Ahem.) Take out a notepad and find a pen that speaks to you, or use your laptop or whatever your medium of choice. Set an alarm. And then just write. Don’t think. Just write. And don’t stop. It’s called a stream of consciousness, and not only will it get your writing mojo moving, it may just tap into the deep, dark recesses of your subconscious. Although this dark, dank part of the psyche is often a frightening place to explore, you may actually find a plethora of characters, incarcerated in the seclusion of your mind, bursting with a story for you to tell. And even if you don’t craft the great American novel, you’ll have some great fodder to take to the shrink.

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© 2014 The Zen Mistress

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