Saturday, 20 December 2014

Being blocked

Where it all stopped
My draft stalled. I went interstate for a few days – work and pleasure. I came back and thought I would easily be able to get back into it, but it had vanished. My inspiration had disappeared and my commitment to just turning up on the page was nowhere to be found. I lost the rhythm of my early mornings at the computer, dutifully typing up my 500 words or bashing out my morning pages. I got very frustrated because I don’t know exactly what happened. It felt like I would be starting all over again when I next sat down. I knew I wouldn’t be, but I felt I had lost the sense of the thread I was working on. It was an emotionally challenging section, so perhaps there was some resistance to that?

Water is critical
I was still writing for work – helping out with a couple of media releases, drafting an article for the quarterly magazine, preparing a contribution to a submission and writing the opening address for the President to deliver at an awards ceremony. The latter was definitely the highlight. One of my assignments last semester was writing a speech, which it turns out was excellent practice for the real thing. I did learn that when you are not reading the speech yourself it is important to clearly identify the paragraphs, include stage directions like pause and give the presenter enough time to get comfortable with the words. Nothing like directly applying your learning!

Feeling broken
So after about a month of drifting around feeling guilty and trying to ignore it I am back at the desk. I finally just sat down and got on with it. I started on a whole new section, to free myself from the expectations of the previous section I was working on and gradually it is coming back. I still don’t really know what happened. It has been a very big year, with lots of changes so it could be a little slump after the end of semester, the relief that follows a period of stress.

Armchair travel only

I am tired and really looking forward to the Christmas break. I have decided to take two weeks off and have a “stay-cation”. I did this a couple of years ago and it was brilliant. I got to catch up with friends, be a tourist in my own city and sort out things at home that I never usually got round to. I walked everywhere because I had plenty of time. I prepared healthy meals and ate lots of fresh food, again because I didn’t need to rush. I felt refreshed, fit and healthy at the end of it. Plus I didn’t have to travel anywhere and I got to sleep in my own bed. This time I also have great hopes for my writing – keeping up the morning sessions, and perhaps with less need to dash out the door for a 9am start I can do more than 500 words a day. Fingers are crossed, only two and a half more days to go…

Walking everywhere

 My walking is getting better. My latest tweak is to walk to work in shorts and t-shirt and change when I get there. This is more comfortable and if I do get a bit warm on the way I know that I’ll be changing into fresh clothes before starting my work day. I have been reading about how useful walking is for writing – allowing thoughts to percolate and stretching out the body. I do enjoy walking, the physicality of moving my arms and legs, the freedom of my mind to soar. I also bump into people on the streets – last week I met an old neighbour and a former colleague, neither of whom I have seen for years. The dollar savings on tram fares also keeps me committed and the sunshine makes me happy. I am slowly building up to walking in both directions a couple of times a week. It is more tiring and does take a decent chunk out of the day, but it helps me sleep better.