Sunday, 9 March 2008

On life´s impact and writing

It may have always been completely obvious to everyone else but this week I discovered that despite all good intentions and a lot of hard work, real life impacts our writing.

This week has been slow - non existent in fact. I booked myself into a little hotel in Estepona as planned, but there was no writing output whatsoever. There was some scribbling in notebooks and a few sketches but apart from that; nothing. Why?

On Tuesday I got made redundant. Not just me, but the whole office - the entire operation shut down and moved (though not necessarily with us included). There was no warning: it came completely out of the blue for everyone and you can imagine the atmosphere. There was tidal wave of emotions over the place and no amount of early Spanish sun could get rid of the clouds.

I naively thought some creative writing would distract from the scenario and give me something else to think about. But for the first time ever I had a form of writer´s block - or at least, I couldn´t write anything other than notes and thoughts and images.

Of course, these will be used in the future and I´m sure that the end result will be pleasing but - it was a real disappointment to be in the scenario where you have space to write and can´t. It also set me to thinking about how entwined our writing is with our own lives.

Whether its theme characterisation or setting, the general consensus is that we write what we know. Or at least use what we know to build upon and embellish, side step and stampede over with our desire to create lies from truth and truth from lies.

But I (perhaps stupidly) hadn´t realised the impact of living life on the ability to write as this was a first for me. I could not physically write anything constructive. Of course, I have things under control now and the career front looks promising so my mind can settle a little.

I guess I just have to put it down to experience, breathe into the empty space and give myself a little heave-ho to get started again. Is four days enough space? I believe so (though I´m still struggling to put words on a page in a coherent format).

This certainly relates to what John meant in his reply to my last post when he said "I generally write about the absurdity of life, the experiences I've had that I could never have imagined or planned. "

But - what if it happens again? Can a writer afford to let the downs in as much as the ups? Will it scupper all plans of getting published or will it all come out right in the end?

Maybe as Melan Collie said "Personally, I've enjoyed taking a break from writing now and again, because, in my experience, the journey through time can be as perspective altering and influential to one's writing as moving to a new place would be."


John said...

Elizabeth Rose-

Sounds like life really handed you a doozy this week. I'm sure you and your writing will recover shortly. It sounds like you already have.

Thanks for mentioning my last post, and I'd like to add something in conjunction with what you've written here. Don't rush back into the week's experiences. I find that my best writing often comes months or even years after I've had a chance to reflect on situations. I often find myself scraping up new information, looking at the situation from new and different angles. And suddenly, one day, it all comes into view the way I can see it going down on paper.

Best of luck with everything. Be patient and keep up the writing.

melon collie said...

I am not sure if this is true for a lot of people, but the downs have always been the times when I've really felt like writing. I find it hard to write when I'm happy and content.

Maybe you should let the "creative writing" rest a while, and try to let your own hard emotions get on that paper. Just a thought.

Darragh Doyle said...

I don't know how to adequately respond to this post. What a hell of a thing to happen. However, those thoughts, words, images, notes will all contribute to a stronger reaction, a different approach to the next project and a well deserved confidence in yourself - we say in Ireland "what's for you won't pass you by" - there's bound to be a pot of gold at the rainbow's end.

(Sorry, it's coming up to St Patrick's Day. It's infectious)

Best of luck ER. Your writing will return and be better.

Elizabeth Rose said...

supportive as ever guys - thank you.
John - perfect advice. Patience is certainly not one of my virtues but I´m learning to adapt!

melon collie - as for for writing when down? i write always. so long as i have the energy. which has now returned.

darragh doyle - i always find the pot. so thank you for this reminder.

Evan said...

Very Helpful Article!
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