Friday, August 6, 2010

Writer's Block -- Is there a remedy?

This is something we writers can find ourselves struggling with at various times in our writing life.  I'm not exactly sure what causes this, but I suspect it has to do with what is happening in our own lives.

This week I was not very productive, I'll admit it.  Last week I couldn't get the words out fast enough on the screen.

I think a state of mind could be one factor.

When I'm happy, calm, at peace with myself or my environment, I find the brain is more than willing to produce the words, scenes, characters that can make up a completed story line.

On the other hand when something is troubling me, or I don't feel too settled, and become filled with a kind of angst, productivity goes right down the tube.

Yet, I find like the sportswear company tells us, Just Do It!

Today I started three short stories that will eventually result in another trilogy.  Needless to say it was slow going.  My mind would not settle down.  That same angst, that same troubling feeling kept welling up inside me.

I'm thinking.  Maybe it had to do with letters that I've been reading.  Letters written to and from my parents dated in the early 1940's.  This was several years before my sister and I were born.   These letters occurred just before and during the war (WWII.)

My mom was very unhappy because my father was called to serve.  She was lonely, and from reading her letters had become quite depressed over the situation.  She could not bear to be without my father for one day.  There were also letters from my aunts to my dad telling him how my mother was not doing well because he was not with her.   And by the time my father did come home, nine months later from his returned date my sister and I were born.

Unfortunately, my sister and I agreed that back then my mother needed psychiatric treatment for a severe depression that did not lessen with his return.  And she did end up having electric shock treatments occurring at a time that such treatments were primitive at best, and probably did her more harm than good.  It made me realize I never truly knew the person who my mom was because these treatments occurred when we were only four years old.

From that point on my mom became an agoraphobic.  That coupled with the fact she also probably suffered from a disorder now known as borderline personality disorder, my sister and I can look back and now begin to understand why mom was the way she was.

Yes, seven years after her death we now understand.  Back then while growing up in our household, we did not, and consequently life was at best difficult, a constant struggle with ourselves and with her while trying to develop and consequently live in the "real" world.

It also made me realize it can take some courage to live in this world as a single person.  I've done it for eight years since the death of my husband.  I'm actually witnessing more pros as oppose to cons to being a single person.  I also thought at one time I could not live one day without my husband.  It has been eight years, and I think I'm doing all right considering.

Living as a single person we come to realize we must count on ourselves to do the things we need to do for ourselves.

We make our own happiness, and not live life through another or count on that person to provide that state of happiness for us.   It doesn't work.

It did not work for my mom, who counted on my dad to be there for her 24/7.

One reason why I think my sister has remained single.  And probably one reason why I will continue that status as well.

We can lose ourselves if we allow ourselves to become connected to another in a way that can make ourselves disappear.
My mom disappeared.  It did not have to be that way.  While my dad was in the service, she could have lived  joyful life with her family and friends.  They were all willing to do that for her.  Yet she allowed herself to settle into a depressed state of mind that actually prevented her from gaining the strength to go on and do her thing.  My mom's life was tragic at best losing her own parents at the age of four, and then being put into an orphanage.  This I learned only one month before her own death in 2003.

Letters of the past reveal so much...and yet I haven't read them all.  I plan to.  I plan to put them into a book format.  I plan to give them to my own kids and grandkids so that they will get a sense of the family.  A family torn by war.  Most of what was in the letters the ones I read were about my dad, my uncles all waiting to be called to serve their country.  And then letters to them as they trained in the various boot camps.  And then letters revealing their fears of going overseas and never seeing their family again. 

Yes, anything can cause a writer's block.  But I think my bout of writer's block may be over for the time being considering what I've so far written in this blog.

Life can sometimes get in the way for a writer.

When that happens, we simply allow ourselves to be, perhaps reflect on what is happening within our lives.  It may be a way for our subconscious mind letting us know we need to pull back, take a breath, address whatever issues we may be having with ourselves or with others.

I've done this I think right here in this blog.


Word Actress said...

I loved ur post, so much to think about. We are all marvelous works in progress, dontcha think? Best, Mary Kennedy Eastham, Entrepreneurial Author of The Shadow of a Dog I Can't Forget and the upcoming novel Night Surfing

Collette Thomas said...

Yes, and we're constantly learning. My twin sister and I are now learning about wines...and well needless to say lessons in wine tasting per se are quite fun! :) Marie