Using Writing to Slay the Demons and Get Past Writer’s Block
by: Stacy Verdick Case
It’s no secret that I wrote the first Catherine O’Brien book because I wanted to off a former boss. Writing has always been cathartic. Whatever struggles are happening in life usually make it to the page consciously or unconsciously.
That’s why it shouldn’t have come as a surprise to me that a series of major life disruptions also disrupted my writing. For the first time ever I experienced the dreaded writers block I’ve heard soooo much about. I wanted to write but I was so distracted nothing would come.
This was frustrating for me because writing is my escape from all that ails me, and suddenly I could no longer do the thing that took me away. When I realized the paradox, I decided I had to write something. Anything! So I forced myself to write every day or I wouldn’t allow myself to go to sleep.
The first few weeks I would write a sentence or two and it felt like I had to tweeze every word out. There were a lot of late nights and tired mornings. Some days were so maddening that I wrote a long passage about how overwhelmed I am. I called these pages b*tch pages. There were quite a few b*tch pages.
Forcing myself to writer was like clearing a logjam. Each time I wrote it was like pulling a log from the pile. After a few weeks of these forced pages, the jam finally started to clear. One morning I woke to find all the little voices in my head were talking again. I wrote three pages in perfect flow. The excitement of that was like giving birth. I texted my friends. I woke my husband to tell him. I told everyone. The logjam was cleared at last!
Does this mean all my problems went away? Nope. That would be the ending to a novel and this is real life. There are still some days that are so overwhelming I can’t hear my characters talking to me anymore (fickle little friends). But I still w rite my way through.
I’ve begun to fictionalize what’s happening and I always write an ending where the intrepid heroine comes out the other side successfully. Doing this always puts me in a positive mood when I lay down to sleep. Now the silence of my characters only last a day or two and who knows all the stuff I’m fictionalizing just might make a good book someday. That is after all how my first mystery was born. Fictionalize a few dead bodies and voila!
If you’re a writer, it makes sense that writing would be the medium best suited for expressing your emotional turmoil. It’s a safe way to get out all your anxiety, fears, hatred, and pain. You can always burn the pages if you’re concerned someone might find them and read your most personal thoughts.
If your life is so out of whack that you can’t find your muse, try to pull out the logs that are jamming you. It might work for you as it did for me.
Stacy Verdick Case is the author of the Catherine O’Brien mystery series. Her latest A Luring Murder is available now as an Audiobook download.
Genre – Mystery
Rating – PG13