How Do You Get the Words on Paper? Return to Writing

A couple of days ago, I was on the phone with a dear friend. She works in theater and has written her own plays in the past few years that she also directed that were performed at the local theater of which she was a member.

Unfortunately, some serious family health issues came about for her family a few years ago, and it’s been extremely stressful and emotionally draining for her and her family.

She’s not been able to continue the goals she had set for herself since then but is patiently waiting for a time where theater work and going back to school can re-enter her life.

I know how hard it is to go through and cope with a sick family member and the stress and strain it puts on both your mental and physical health.

My friend does need a healthy outlet that gives her a short window of time to herself. It’s important for her own health.

So she texted me yesterday using a voice message, that she’d attended a board meeting at the local theater she is now connected to (don’t know how long and when she started up with this particular one), and they were discussing upcoming events for the summer and short, one-act plays.

She’d actually brought this up to me a few days ago, and I will maybe do another blog post on my own plays, but this post is about picking up writing after serious life events takes up all your free time and energy.

She’d told me in our last conversation that she’d lost her creativity and didn’t know how to regenerate it. She asked me how I do so in my writing.

I told her I hadn’t written from the time I married in 1997 until 2014. A very long hiatus because of family life and health issues of my youngest son replacing any creative writing ideas and even thoughts.

But my writing returned when it was the right time for me in my life. God’s time. And it brought me through a lot of emotional hardships. I began to rediscover who I truly was, found catharsis and healing through these years, and continue to find content and healing in my writing.

My advice to her, using my own method, was to jot down notes of what she was wanting to write about. The characters, plot, and have a beginning and end in mind so that you are more likely to be able to finish your play or story.

Yes, I’ve struggled through the ideas of characters, scenes, etc. for upcoming chapters in a current work-in-progress, as well as on potential stories that swirled in my mind for a couple days that I hadn’t yet written any notes for. And even when I know what I want to say and how the scene will play out, there are times I can’t get anything down on the Word document or paper.

The answer to this is to just start typing whatever comes out in creating your scene and chapter. Eventually, about halfway down the first page, you become engrossed in your characters and what they’re doing in the scene, and you are able to complete at least that scene or even a full chapter.

This has worked for me every single time I’ve done it.

My friend had told me she hasn’t even been able to write down simple little poems she usually can do quite easily.

I told her to think of her writing as an escape from her stressful current reality to a realm where she can immerse herself for a time to find solace, creativity, and contentment for that short period. It will help her feel a sense of joy and a quiet moment to herself.

She’ll be creating as she’s wanted to do, and at the same time, experience relief from stress, which will help her overall health.

I’m sure I’ve written a few blogs already on the difficulties of getting back into writing after short or long dry periods, but I felt compelled to write this today after having the talk with my dear friend.

If you are having troubles writing caused by whatever events or obstacles in your life, remember that you can find a window to that creative side of you.

Try reading material you’ve already written to prime the pump in getting ideas to flow inside your mind and heart that will translate to writing on your computer or paper.

These strategies of mine always work for me. I hope it does for you too.

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What You Learn When Writing About Yourself

finding peace

When I began to write again in September 2014, the first story I attempted to write and did not finish was a fictional piece where the main character was loosely based on me and my life experiences.  In doing this, I found that some of the events from my dating and romantic relationships in my early twenties weren’t what I’d always thought they were.

As I wrote scenes in which my main character reacted to the boyfriends and men in which she had crushes, this became apparent to me, especially for one intense relationship I had.  I’d spent twenty-five years seeing it all through my perspective and believing I’d been wronged and the guy was a jerk.  As if everything I did was wonderfully good and considerate and his was absolutely bad and apathetic.  Not so.

This narrow view expanded to a more balanced and clearer picture.  It was a bit of an epiphany . . . a painful and stunning discovery, mixed with regret and shame, in which I’d been so self-absorbed only caring about my own feelings and never considering or understanding his.  Now, it’s true this one boyfriend didn’t volunteer any of his deep, personal feelings with me, so I wouldn’t, couldn’t have known.  But twenty-five years later, it’s quite evident that there were problems that neither of us knew how to deal with and didn’t have the knowledge and relationship tools in which to figure it all out.

This first writing endeavor truly turned the mirror on me and my behavior in my early twenties, for which I’d been selfish, naive, and clueless.  But writing what I did brought about a catharsis for which my past hurts and whatever disgruntled feelings or misunderstandings and frustrations I’d felt so strongly then dissipated and resolved four years ago, leaving me with a sense of understanding and peace within me.

Having experienced this, I wonder if this happens to other writers, especially those who write memoirs.  Writing truly is an outlet to self-discovery and catharsis.

 

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