The Joys of Writing & the Creative "Block"
Sometimes I forgot how much fun writing can be. When I'm trying to 'fit it in', 'write something great', "Get really creative", "put something down before band practice", you get it. It becomes forced, and that almost always affects the quality of my writing and voice.
Ray Bradbury says, “If you are writing without zest, without gusto, without love, without fun, you are only half a writer.” Wait…who's Ray Bradbury? Ray wrote Fahrenheit 451 and wikipedia refers to him as one of the most celebrated 20th century American writers. This Ray guy seems to have it figured out, let's only write when you feel something. Hmm, I'm not sure I agree with that sentiment all the time though.
A few years back I started writing every morning -- I would write two pages, stream of consciousness, without stopping. As soon as I finished the second page I would put the pen down. It encouraged this concept called "flow" and I became better at just putting the pen to the page and starting. I found myself writing about things I didn't always know were in my head; dreams from the night before, ongoing struggles, stories, as well as mundane moments where I wondered why I was up so early in the morning, why I couldn't think of a descriptive word to save my life, and in some instances I would just start writing "I don't know what to write, I'm tired, I'm getting older, what am I doing, the sun hasn't even come up!" The key with these exercises it seems is doing them, especially when you lack motivation. There are always low points in the creative process, in the routine, but even if you are writing without zest, I think it's still important to write.
Some people call those low points writers block, when you are feeling so low or uninspired that you don't want to write at all. I've heard hundreds of 'solutions' for writers block -- get a good nights sleep, drink more water, drink coffee, snort cocaine or other <insert other substance>, break up with someone, eat half a bagel, consume healthy food items, stay up really late and you'll write amazing songs, don't eat for a week and when you start hallucinating the music will come to you. Some conflicting advice but I think Sting has some interesting things to say about writer's block and how he found creativity through his childhood:
I learned about "Morning Pages" from a book called the Artist Way. Without morning pages, I would be criticizing every first and third word I pen. As time goes by my first and third words are only marginally more interesting, but I've realized that turning those creative gears can be tough if the bike has been in the garage for a while. After I make it through the first awkward miles and up that huge hill, it's down hill for at least a few miles of gusto.