A couple of months ago I reintroduced myself, after a long
sabbatical hiatus vacation holiday break absence. Since then I’ve been trying to work my way back into some semblance of a writing habit. Based on the crowd I’m writing to, you all no doubt understand that this is not easy. That’s OK, I didn’t expect it to be. I’ve done this before–I’m sure we all have from time to time–so I expect this to be a long-haul kind of life change.
Breaking or creating habits is generally a struggle. First there’s the struggle just to keep the change in the forefront of your mind. It’s hard to get in shape if you don’t remember to go to the gym until you’re getting ready for bed. On this front I’ve been making myself use a bullet journal everyday–even weekends. And at least 3 times each week (scheduled in my bullet journal) I must do some sort of creative writing. I make myself do it in a particular journal, even if I intend to use it online. And this is where the next step has been rearing it’s head.
My creative battery is very nearly dead.
The occasional companion to Writer’s Block–at least for some of us–is Reader’s Block. Much of the reason for my writing drought is because I let the rest of life suck up the time I used to set aside for writing. My reading time was not immune from this same gluttonous beast. I’m not saying I haven’t been reading over the last few years, but my intake of creative material has nearly dried up. Social media makes it easier than it used to be to keep up with science articles, and I read plenty of programming and technical articles for work, but my busy schedule has proven to be anathema to sitting down with a novel or a decent collection of shorts.
And creating something new is frightfully hard if the creative well is dry.
So while I continue to force myself to write–and so far the only way for me to keep up is to force myself–I’m going to try to focus some energy on recharging my battery. Decades ago one of the authors that lit the fires of writing and wordplay within me was Terry Pratchett. And in the last few months I’ve been working to complete my collection of Discworld novels. So I’ve decided that’s where I’m going to start.
I’ve recently started rereading The Colour of Magic, and when I finish that I’m moving on to the other 40 novels in the series. I’m not structuring this too much. I’ve no plan to read them one immediately after the other–I will mix in other books as my whims dictate. Nor am I giving myself a deadline. I’m trying to retrain myself to enjoy and absorb good writing and wild creativity–not hurry through a book that is a chore.
What books recharge your creative batteries?
Good luck on your return journey. You can get there from here but only by moving forward.
Good post, Dale. Truthful I’m sure. I hope you stay–I love the honesty in your writer’s voice.
Keep at it. I have three books I always reread when I am am seriously creatively blocked: Earth Abides, Always Coming Home, and The Artist’s Way.