How I got past writer’s block.

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Life sometimes unbalances us or even completely shoves us off our feet. I can attest to this.
My story of my recent writer’s block is something I mention frequently these days but I think it’s time I do so again because this time I can tell you what it’s like to be on the other side of writer’s block and everything I see now that I’m looking back on it.
First of all, I’m not an expert in psychology or even writing, I’m just a girl.
Secondly, up until the beginning of this year I didn’t even believe in writer’s block.

So here’s what happened.
I was planning to write this epic novel this year. In fact, considering that it’s nearly July, I can tell you that I wanted it to be done by now. It would have been my fourth novel (rough draft). It would have been the first book in my first trilogy. It would have been the heavy fantasy I’ve always wanted to write.
As you can probably tell, this novel never panned out. I never finished it and it never made it passed 6000 words.
I can give you a dozen reasons why I never wrote this novel. Most people’s first instinct is probably to say that I was just procrastinating. Maybe I was but considering the hours I’ve spent staring at a blank screen I wouldn’t say so. Perhaps I was simply overworked already, after all I’m busy with my IGCSE’s right now, along with a job in the week days after lunch (I tutor my cousin) and trying to keep a blog and a healthy teen social life together. It wouldn’t be so bad if this was my excuse right? Surely you would understand. Surely I myself would understand.
This isn’t the reason though and besides if it was I would probably be furious with myself, writing is after all one of my top priorities.

So why couldn’t I write for six months straight?
I think it was probably a bunch of things combined.
The feeling that despite having written three rough novels already I wasn’t good enough. Having my writing rejected for the first time ever. My blogging stats plummeting like a fighter jet without engines. My character’s suddenly feeling like cardboard to me.
These things, along with probably a lot of other things, mixed and lodged in my stomach like a big rock. It became a weight that pulled me down and kept my breathing from being even. It made my fingers start to shake when I sat down to type anything. It made my head pound when I tried to plan something.
I was miserable and useless because, every time I thought about work or writing, the rock in my stomach grew heavier to the point that I couldn’t get myself to do anything.

Okay stop right there, this is becoming depressing and way too heavy for what this post was intended for. (Pun intended)

Anyway so then a bunch of stuff happened and things got better. I realized that I wasn’t able to write. I told my parents about the rock in my stomach. I got better, or at least the feeling started to fade until the point where I decided I was ready to try and write again. This time I planned to finish my story as quick as possible. That was at the beginning of this month.
I managed maybe 300 words before the rock in my stomach came back and I went back to my parent’s room to flop onto their bed and sigh. My creative juices were gone. I was, despite my best efforts, still a useless writer.
But an idea was starting to form in my head, nothing to do with my great fantasy novel but just a simple idea of a girl with pink hair with two conflicting powers. I lay awake that night, twisting and turning in my bead, as I realized the decision I had to make. I could either keep on struggling with my great fantasy novel, or I could try writing something new.
How could I abandon a project? I never abandon projects. What if I have the same problem with this new story? What if I can’t write anything decent again in my life? Was I even still supposed to become a writer?

Those last two thoughts were a little bit drastic, but hey, I’m a teen girl who has her heart set on becoming a writer which is probably one of the most unrealistic job expectations ever.

I made my choice.
I packed away my old project, in fact I literally took it off my planning board. I drew the first picture of the pink haired girl and I put it against my board instead.
I didn’t plan or anything, instead I simply asked myself what the most relatable thing I can think of this character doing, and the first scene came to me.
I sat down and wrote about a pink haired girl struggling with her Wi-Fi, the smell of coffee surrounding her and the frustrations of a day going wrong fresh in her mind.
This scene is around 1400 words long.
After that the idea snowballed and while I’m writing this post my word count for the story stands at 10 500 words. I know it might not seem a lot to some considering I’ve had two weeks between my decision and this post but next to the 6000 of the previous six months I think these numbers are looking good.

I learned a lot of things these past six months the first thing is writer’s block is a real thing.
People might argue or call you lazy for not writing but the thing is that while writer’s block might not be exactly what we think it is, it is still real.

The second lesson that I learned was that sometimes an idea isn’t ready for this world yet. If that’s the case, move on because you can always pick it up again later and there is no sense in wasting time on it now.

The last lesson I’m going to mention is that no matter how strong you are, there will be times when you feel weak. It’s okay. You don’t have to be strong 24/7 or keep your chin up all the time. You are allowed to cry and be frustrated. You are allowed to be weak.

That last one is a rather bold statement and I want you to remember it. You are allowed to be weak.

 
I feel like I need to end this post now with something dramatic, so here goes.
I’m Enette Venter and I have been struggling with writer’s block for the past six months. I don’t know why but I do know that I had to let go of a writing project to get passed the block. I was trying to carry something that was no longer working and it wasn’t until I let it go that I could truly pick up, and fall in love with a new idea.

Yes writer’s block is real. Yes I beat it. Yes I’m writing again.
I hope that if you are struggling with writers block or any type of creative block then you can find your way out of it. I want to remind you though, that just because you are struggling doesn’t mean that you are useless.

Now that you’re done with this, you know about my past six months. I hope this added something to your life and that when you click off this screen it won’t be just another post you forget. That’s the goal for my writing, to change lives, or at least to add to it.
Whether I achieved that here or not, I’m saying my farewells now and, hope you have a lovely day.

 

Philippians 3:13-14 (NIV)
13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Make space for your passion.

 

Last week I said I was going to start going after my goals and I created a bucket list and everything with the plan to pursue these things.
This is still my plan but listen to this.
I was looking for a book. After an hour of searching I realized that if you want to have an adventure you’re going to need to make space for it in your life and not just use all that time looking for missing books.
So the first item on my bucket list looked as follows.
• Clean room.
Rather silly thing to put on your bucket list sure but I embraced it and that’s exactly what I did.

Here’s the thing, if you want something in your life you need to make space for it. Only so much can fit into your life and if you want something new you will need to get rid of something else.

I want to give a personal example here.
I have this cousin who lives with my family. When she first moved in the two of us where at each other’s throats, and I spent nearly an entire year hating her.
At some point this year I realized that I want peace in my heart again. I wanted to be able to walk around in my own house without being constantly annoyed. But to let the peace in I first had to let all the anger and the hate go. There wasn’t space for both so I had to make to choice of freeing the hate and saying that this cousin of mine no longer owed me anything.
Guess what? The two of us are close now and the things that use to annoy me about her are now things I praise her for. She is truly an amazing person and if I hadn’t let the anger go I never would have known it.
To get the peace I had to let go of the anger.

 
Now here’s what I did this week.
To make space for all my future plans I first needed to take out the clutter.

I started with the desk. What use is a desk if there is no space for you to work on it?

My desk is big. On its top are my desktop computer and my school books. Then it has three drawers which have always been filled with junk such as old pens and broken earphones.
I started by decorating the box I put all my books in, I even gave it a cute quote.

“Your mind is a garden. Your thoughts are the seeds. You can grow flowers. Or you can grow weeds.”

Then I cleaned out each drawer individually. The first was filled with old writing instruments such as pens and pencils and even a couple of crayons from grade 2. For these I tested to see if each and everyone still wrote and then I put them in holders and placed them on my desk where they are used as display and not just something that mess up my drawer.
I replaced these instruments with only necessities, such as a notebook, calculator, ruler, CD case and so on.

My second drawer was filled with old boxes and papers that I never used.
I put all the paper in a pile and then tossed all the small boxes I no longer wanted and put the rest of them to the side. The problem was here that I didn’t have space for any of my art equipment, which is what I count boxes and paper as so, for an entire day these piles stayed on the floor. I’ll tell you more about how I solved this problem in a minute.
Now the drawer is home to my writing manuals and CD’s along with the scraps of rough draft from my first novel.

The third drawer is the only drawer that had some order before the recent clean. It was and still is where I put all my computer and phone cables along with my camera equipment.
With my desk done I had a bigger problem. There was nowhere to put my art.
I turned my head to the next part of my room which happen to be my spare closet.
It used to be where I kept all my toys, despite the fact that I haven’t played with any of them in some time now. So I took out all my toys, from my dress up clothes to my Barbie dolls to my monster trucks. I put all of them neatly in boxes and then put them all in the top of my closet where no one ever looks. (It broke my heart to do this)
I then sorted out the closet and all my art, so now I have an art closet.

The last place I cleaned was my writing space.
Okay, I don’t actually write anything in this space (I write sitting on my bed) I do however stick my planning to the pin board and keep all my story ideas in this desks drawers.
Unfortunately it was a mess. Both the planning for “Imaginary friends” and the planning for my next novel “Felix vs. Aida” was piled onto each other. I think it showed really well in what state my writing was to tell you the truth.

I went and separated the two novels and I gave the planning board to “Felix vs. Aida” while I neatly gathered all of “Imaginary friends” so I could go over the details again soon.
I cleaned up the rest of the space, and then decorated it with a gift my brother gave me for Christmas. (The butterflies)

 


I still have a couple of plans for my room (hanging things on the wall) but I think I’m mostly done and reorganising my room is something I can take off my bucket list. I also think that in doing so I removed one of the obstacles that have been keeping me from pursuing my passions so here’s to next week and my future adventures.


If something is keeping you from going after your passion then move things around and make space for it. I know there are some things you can’t help but want to hold onto even if it’s bad for you, but I’m daring you now, let it go and let something new and good in.
Now go, do what you know you really want to and just do all kinds of passionate stuff this week.

(PS: Happy almost birthday to my cousin!)

 

bucket list

What is on your bucket list?

So I know not everyone has a passion deeply set into their bones. Most of us aren’t quite so goal driven but I want you to think back to when you where fifteen, what did you want to be?

What about when you where ten?

Have you ever had a bucket list at any point of your life?

The thing is everyone has wanted to do something at some point in their life, sometimes it’s small things such as trying that new mug cake recipe other times it’s big things such as quitting your job and starting a new career.

I want to focus on the small things right now and ask you is there anything you’ve wanted to do but for some reason hasn’t. Let’s forget about those excuses and I’m going to ask you a new question.

If you left a weekend open to do go after this passion or to try this new thing will you be able to do it? Perhaps not finish it perhaps just get a start on it.

If nothing except time was an issue, would you be able to do it?

If your answer is no, then my question is why not?

If you’re answer is yes then my question is why don’t you try?

 

If you are new you can read the other two rambles I’ve written on the subject of perusing your passion here and here.

 

From this point off on though these post will most likely look a little different.

I want to start trying new things as well as old ideas that I never got to, so I’ll be posting about those adventures along with encouragements for you to try your own adventures.

To start this change I just created a new pinterest board for my bucket list. I plan to add to it and actually do the things on it. If you feel that these past few weeks I’ve caught your attention with these posts then why not start your own bucket list? You never know, perhaps you’ll be having some great adventures soon.

You have been given a chance to persue your passion

The feeling that is passion is hard to explain, a quick beat of your heart, the catch o breath and mostly a heat expanding in your chest. The heat is a reassurance that you can achieve greatness, you can live out your dreams.

In the pursuit of our dreams it’s important to remember that we are not defined by our weakness or fears. We are what we decide to be. We have strengths and talents specifically given to us and we have been charged with the responsibility to use these talents.

You have been given a chance to pursue your passion, plans and dreams.

So if you have a talent or a passion, don’t waste it, use it.

 

Just like last week I wrote this piece for no other reason than to encourage you and I want to give you another set of questions that I want you to think about.

  1. What do you enjoy doing?
  2. What are you good at doing?
  3. What do you spend most of your time doing?

 

Compare your answers and adjust your life accordingly.

 

PS: hopefully I will only give you one more vague encouragement like this before really kicking things off with a plan.

So keep your eyes open and stick with me because I think we’re going to have some fun here.

What is your passion?

If you have something you are passionate about then it is worth going after. A lot of us have something that is keeping us away whether it is work, money circumstances, pain or another issue.
You have to still go for it. You can’t let your circumstances keep you from sharing your heart. You have something in you that need to come out, and it will be a blessing on this world. Dare to take that risk and let your passion take form. I don’t know what your passion is but I challenge you now to act on it.

 

I wrote this little piece to inspire you, to remind you of that thing you where once passionate about.

I’m not going to dive into any big speeches today and give that piece of writing to you as purely as I can along with four questions that I want you to go think about.

  1.  What is your passion?
  2.  Are you bringing that passion to life and sharing it with the world?
  3. If you aren’t, why not?
  4. How can you start?

 

Just go think about it.