Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Long and Winding Road Dealing with Writer's Block by C.H. Admirand

 I started writing for publication over 20 years ago and have always had the gift of words, plot lines, and characters arguing in my head.

Life is filled with ups and downs: happiness, sadness, joyous moments, and devastating ones. I guess I'd never really thought about how I handled these moments and balanced out my family life and my writing life. I just did.

I've always put my family first, and with my mom's health rapidly declining, and our daughter about to deliver, I knew I wouldn't be able to meet the deadlines of the new contract I'd received. I had to cancel the contract and return the advance.

Two weeks later our second grandbaby was born, and 7 days later my Mom died and everything stopped making sense. My Dad died 16 years ago, and I knew they would be together now, but there was this big hole in my life.

The words dried up, plot lines no longer made sense, characters stopped arguing in my head--and worst of all the constant music playing in my head stopped.

I struggled for a long time trying to make sense of what was happening, but in the midst of it all, there were final arrangements to be made, Mom's Eulogy to write, a lawsuit to deal with--her reverse mortgage company was suing my brother, sisters, and myself--and six months later when I'd done everything I had to do, my gift was gone.

First I'd tried ignoring the problem, meditating, praying, baking, cleaning, until I finally tried accepting the fact that my gift was gone. I signed off of social media because it was too painful to talk about. 

For a while I kept busy editing, freshening up and reissuing some of my backlist. That took my mind off the real problem. That I'd somehow lost my gift. I wasn't sure if I'd neglected the nurturing of my gift, or if I'd done something horrible to deserve losing it. I was a mess...but my family was there for me, thank God. They have always been and will always be my rock.


Then one day, one of my writer friends, the fabulous Ms. Carolyn Brown, sent me an email with a character's name. She said she usually knows right away who they are, what they look like, and what story they want her to tell...but this time it was just the name. And then she said she realized, it wasn't her character to keep, it was for me. Humbled by her gift, something clicked inside of me as I thanked her, and the door that had abruptly shut on my creativity squeaked open a tiny crack.

I can't say that I'm back to normal sitting down and having the words just flow out of my heart, my head, and my soul...but they're there...just buried beneath years of living and dealing with the gift of life.

I guess dealing with writer's block is different for everyone. For some the answer could be found on the pages of a "how-to" book, for others it might be sparked by something another author has to say during a workshop. For myself, it has been like the Beatles song that just started playing in my head: The Long and Winding Road. Fingers crossed I can get back to my wips and start writing again without the constant worry that I'll do or say something that will chase my gift away forever.

Thank goodness, I have my family--my rock--and because of the gift of a character's name--Tom McNally--I have the gift of hope. 

Thank you, Carolyn Brown. You are my hero! Carolyn Brown's The Yellow Rose Beauty Shop is available now, check it out!




Sláinte!
C.H.

4 comments:

  1. I love you, Miz CH! Tom McNally was always yours but he had to make a stop in my head before moving on to yours! You are an amazingly talented writer and the world would have a hole in it if you didn't share your stories with the rest of us! Big hugs!

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    1. You are the most amazing woman, Miz Brown and I am constantly in awe of your fabulous talent and generosity. I hope to do justice to Tom McNally--soon :) Thank you for your kind words about my stories. Maybe like my gardens they just need a bit more "fertilizer" and water. LOL!

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  2. Colleen - glad to hear that you're writing again. It takes so much emotional and creative energy to write characters and stories and when our own 'well' is dry, it just doesn't happen. Most of the time it just takes time - to refill the well, to accept the world around us. Your gift was not gone, it was never gone. It was hibernating, lying dormant until you were ready for it.... Glad you are now!

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    1. Thanks, Terri! I'm so glad you were right. It was hibernating :)

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