How I Handle Writer’s Block

Some days, lines flow onto the page like water. Characters and their stories find a place on the screen and stake their claim, and I meticulously build their lives and personalities.

Other days I face the plague of ‘The Blank Page’. My WIP (work in progress) hits a brick wall, and my beloved figures decide to take another direction. Any direction, except the path where I want them to go.

And the dreaded ‘Writer’s Block’ comes upon us…

The ‘Where Do I Go Now’ stage in writing. The ‘whatever I write won’t fit’ stage. It’s so frustrating when that stage takes place.

Frustrating? Of course! More than anything, I would love for the writing ideas to flow freely.

Will this last forever? No! This feeling will eventually pass.

Whenever I get into these modes of Writers Block, I overcome it by doing the following:

Breathe. At times, writers block occur when the mind goes into ‘Panic Mode’ (due to hopelessness, sadness, stress, etc.). Sometimes the key to move past this all begins with a deep breath.

Turn toward another favorite passion. When I’m blocked, I go to another favorite passion in order to ‘un-block’. I turn to reading a book, or crocheting. Sometimes I do at least an hour of this de-stressing exercise before I return to writing.

Self Care. Sometimes a mental block results from two things:
a) my health is effected. I’m living with Type 1 Diabetes. This condition comes with severe lows from time to time, which is paired with disorientation. When this happens, I need a sugar boost (juice, milk, crackers), and I need 20 minutes until my sugar is at a normal reading. It’s rough when this happens, but it’s part of my daily life.
b) Self doubt. Sometimes the block can feel overwhelming to the point when a lifeline is truly needed. This takes the form of either talking to my husband, or texting my dear friend from college days. The key thing is that when sadness threatens your mental health, I reach out to my support system.

So these are the tools I use when I endure a block with my writing. Eventually, the wall passes, and I’m able to write my ideas freely once again. When a mental block come my way again? Possibly. But it won’t be a permanent situation!

Side note: Sometimes it’s difficult to speak to someone readily about any kind of mental block, and that’s understandable! I’m just sharing my methods of dealing with blocks in writing. Everyone has their own way of overcoming a struggle in writing.
Even if you’re not at that point when you’re comfortable in speaking to someone when feeling blocked, that’s okay too. Please know that you are worth it, and that your work is important!!

September 11, 2001: Eighteen Years Later

I remember exactly what I was doing that day.

I lived in Northern NJ. I just finished breakfast, and turned off the television to go online. Since it was 8:30am, the horrible news hadn’t broken yet.

I was just checking email, readying myself to take the train to South Orange that afternoon to hang out with friends.

About 20 minutes later, the Breaking News clips flashed on my screen: The World Trade Center was under attack.

No. It couldn’t be true.

I quickly flipped on the television, and for the next couple of hours, I was confronted with the sight of the Twin Towers on fire. Falling to the ground.

All I could feel was shock, and horror. Shock, because my uncle and roommate from college were working in Manhattan that morning. Horrified at the carnage unfolding before my eyes.

I decided not to travel to South Orange that evening. This gathering could wait. Being with family could not.

Thankfully, my uncle was safe. He chose to stay at a hotel in Manhattan that night due to impending travel restrictions.
I couldn’t get a hold of my friend until that evening, due to phone lines tied up throughout the day. She made it home to the Bronx that night, but it took the entire day.

While everyone in my family circle was safe, sadly there were many others who could not say the same thing.

A no-fly zone was strictly enforced throughout North America. I remember sitting outside my front porch that night. The silence that greeted me was deafening.

The days and weeks that followed were filled with sorrow. Flyers of the missing were draped throughout Lower Manhattan. Many people clinging to that thread of hope, waiting for a reassuring word that never came.

A week later, I returned to New York City for a class. I remembered the sight of Lower Manhattan still in smoke. The area would continue to smolder for weeks.

The years that followed the attacks were met with the construction of the 9/11 memorial (which opened on 2011), and the fight for 9/11 First Responders receiving the care they desperately needed (which finally received renewal this year).

The one thing that remains constant through time is the Sept. 11 rememberance on television. It’s a somber event, as people recite the names of the deceased. This year, some of the grandchildren/nieces/nephews are reading names. It’s doubly touching; while they weren’t present to see their relatives, their memories are kept alive.

Eighteen years later, crowd surrounding the World Trade Center site grows thinner, but the message of remembrance stays the same.

Life goes on, yet we must never forget.

Wednesday Thoughts

This month has brought a lot of inactivity on the reading/writing front. Most of it has been due to health issues, and feeling stressed out from said problems. Planning a wedding has also brought its share of uncertainty, due to a dear family member (who is in the bridal party) neglecting her responsibility. Since I grew up with her, I should have expected that. Still annoying though!

I hope to become more attentive on what I truly need in my life in the coming weeks. Things with my health have begun taking a positive turn, and I hope to see other good changes soon. And I’m looking to get back into reading this week. Small steps.

March 2, 2019: Strength through Stress

I was all ready to post my TBR for March last night, but life had other plans for me. The past couple days brought a surprising challenge to handle at work, and it left me feeling sad and frustrated. All I can say is that due to an outside obligation, I have a 4 day work week for the next few months. While of my co-workers are empathetic of my situation, my boss chose to treat it as me not caring about the staff…that the entire work schedule needs to get shifted around once a week because of an obligation I never chose to take part of.

Her reaction left me feeling overwhelmed, sad for the rest of the day, lasting into the evening. My work situation is usually stressful, yet tolerable. I’ve been able to complete my tasks, and be present day after day. However, yesterday revealed to me how insignificant my drive and dedication was to the company.

My fiance has been very helpful in giving me strength during such hectic times. After the work, he was very patient while listening to me vent during the evening. He was great in guiding me towards possible new job opportunities as well. I can refocus and channel my frustration toward bettering my situation.

I look foward to getting back into reading this weekend (it’s only been 2 days since I last read, but it’s been too long already). I can’t lose sight of what’s truly important: my loved ones, and my interests in life.

December 30, 2018: Surprises

I didn’t expect to end the year sick, yet here I am with the stomach bug. 🙁 I was trying to be soo careful at work, wearing gloves and using hand sanitizer every chance I got…but when a child manages to touch your face, there’s not much you can do. So yeah, last night was terrible. I’m slowly moving about the day, taking it easy with drinking seltzer. Still feeling achy, but hopefully I can eat food. Hopefully I can make it through the day without getting sick again.

December 22, 2018: Change

Life moves in such a fast pace, it’s easy to lose touch with people you were once in close contact with. The reasons could vary: crazy schedules, moving far from one another, or simply not maintaining connections as frequently. Then suddenly, they’re no longer in your life.

Today I just discovered that a good friend of my family passed away. This person was very close to my aunt, and I would always play with her children growing up. We had a great relationship with them. Life moved on and I lost touch with them, but my family still told me how they were doing. It was good that they still maintained contact with each other, even though it wasn’t as frequent as it used to be.

I hope that her family finds peace and comfort during this difficult time. Life can truly change in an instant.

Blogmas Day 17: Christmas With Family

Over the years, the holiday season has gotten a bit trickier to navigate with our families. In the past, choosing which family to spend time with was easy: my ex-boyfriend’s family didn’t celebrate holidays, so we would head to my family’s home for Thanksgiving, and Christmas would be a time for us. I’m sure that my family wanted me to visit them on Christmas, but they never pressured me to visit them. We always had our weekly phone conversations and monthly visits.

With my fiance’s family however, it’s gotten a bit more interesting. Since both families celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas, it’s only right to spend equal time with both of them. We’ve managed to work out Thanksgiving well so far: we spend time with Andy’s family during the day, then head to my family’s home in the evening.

For Christmas, it’s still a bit tricky. Last year was the first I can remember (in our five year relationship) that we worked out spending time with both groups. In the past either we would spend Christmas Eve at my aunt’s house one year, or simply staying with Andy’s family during the Christmas holiday. Working out the ‘family schedule’ for Christmas can be complicated, so we were glad that we reached a compromise.

In the coming days, preparing for Christmas can bring about stress, culminating to visiting close family and friends. While drama and unexpected surprises might unfold, it’s very helpful to maintain the deep bonds with the people who matter most to us.

December 13, 2018: Solutions When Stressed

The things that keep me grounded when I’m stressed:

Reading: No matter how exhausted or strung out I’m feeling on any given day, I can read a couple of chapters in my book before bed. I’ll feel more refreshed.

Watching short films. This can take the form of YouTube videos, or a television program. I’ll watch for about a half hour and I’ll feel calmer.

Contacting a friend. Due to work schedules, reaching out to a friend may seem a bit complicated, yet writing a message to whom I wish to speak with to begins the connection.

There are some days when life may feel overwhelming. One thing to remember is that you are never alone when handling difficulties.

Blogmas Day 9: Second Week of Advent

     As the Christmas season goes into full swing with mad dashes to buy gifts and planning for end of year holiday parties, we enter the Second week of Advent. This period of time call for us to reflect on our life journeys a bit deeper. As important as it is to think of the needs of others, it’s also helpful to tend to the health of one’s own soul. 

     I myself am enduring a period where extreme patience is necessary. I’m currently struggling with a personal issue that’s been a nuisance for a couple months. I’m hopingl to finally have the answers I’m seeking in a week’s time, yet this period of waiting is a little irritating. In this period of uncertainty, I need to remind myself that there is a plan for everything.   Patience is absolutely necessary, especially during stressful times. 

    I feel that waiting for the birth of Christ calls for us to recognize that while it’s difficult to wait, the gift of patience will bring about total peace of mind. To live with inner peace is what we’re all called to have in our daily lives.  

November 11, 2018: Veterans Day, and Activities

On Veterans Day, it’s truly important to thank those who have served our country bravely. These men and women placed their lives on the line in order to protect our freedom. I have several friends and family members who served in the American military, and I’m so very grateful for their service.

Today I plan on doing some more writing. I return to work tomorrow, and I hope that I can still keep up the momentum with NaNoWriMo. Since I wrote in the evenings when I was working, it shouldn’t be a huge shift.