Monday, October 31, 2011

Creative Pursuits to break through The Block

I have it. The scariest thing a writer can think of, even on Halloween.

Writer's Block. *cue screams here*

If you've experienced this, then you know how frustrating it is. I have a story I need to write (the magazine editor has been waiting oh-so-patiently for it for months). The story line is plotted, the characters named, the files created. But the words won't flow. It is all stuck, like mud, in my head. Everything I write seems wooden and forced.

I've tried working on different projects. I have no shortage of ideas...they're swirling around like mist in my head (which is better than mud, I'll grant you). But again, the ideas won't translate to words on a screen.

I've been through this before and I know it will pass. But still I sit, facing the computer, playing games of solitaire or running pointless searches on Google. And with each day that ends with a pitiful word count, my self-loathing and guilt grows, the feeling that I suck at this job. The knowledge that if it were a "real" job, I would have been fired by now.

Upon reaching my lowest point, when the day came to an end and I'd accomplished nothing more than beating the computer for a sixth game of Scrabble, I knew it was time to step away from the computer and try a different approach.

I'm sure you've noticed how many writers in this blogosphere are multi-faceted when it comes to creativity. Christina Lee of Write Brained has her Tags-n-Stones jewelry line, and Jessica Bell has her beautiful music. And there have been a ton of links lately to all things gorgeous made by writers, like book purses, library necklaces, and literary recipes.

In addition to being a writer, I also make jewelry. I've been working with jewelry and polymer clay for about ten years now and teach both at the local JoAnn's Fabric and Crafts. In recent years, I've spent most of my time on preparing for my classes, rather than on the projects I enjoy. But when it became clear I needed to refocus my creative energy, I knew just what I wanted to do.

It's taken a few weeks of planning and designing and working until my fingers bleed (quite literally) but yesterday, my little Etsy shop went live: Faerie Lights Studio. I have a dozen necklaces up now, like this one here:

I'll be adding more soon, along with a line of holiday lights, like this:

Maybe nothing will come of all this, but I feel like a weight has been lifted. Deep down, there is a slow burn telling me I should be writing. But that can only be a good thing. Two weeks ago, writing felt like a chore, like an obligation. But now, writing is starting to feel like a need -- a want -- again. Sometimes, we must step away and find beauty and purpose in something else in order to find beauty and purpose in our writing.

What about you? Do you have a creative pursuit to turn to when writing gets tough?