Friday, September 30, 2011

The Most Interesting Thing--Writing Through the Blues

"I don't need to manufacture trauma in my life to be creative. I have a big enough reservoir of sadness or emotional trauma to last me."-- Sting

Yep. Me and Sting. But sometimes, particularly in autumn, the sadness presents a daunting challenge to my writing, to my creativity. The early morning light disappears, the air chills, the garden dies, and difficult memories threaten  to drag me down into a dark, gloomy, unproductive place. 
Any of you ever been there? If so, you have my sympathy. 
This week I've been thinking hard about what helps me write through the deep blues. Here's my list:
*Hot tea
*Lots of naps  
*Gentle exercise 
*Healthy snacks 
*Binge novel reading 
*Writing with emotional honesty 
*A regular writing routine with attainable goals 
*Reaching out for encouragement from my writing community
What about you? Do you ever struggle to write through the blues? What helps? Please feel free to add to my list in your comments.
Hugs around!


  1. Doing something for someone else. It helps get the focus off what's troubling me.

    Also, walking. Movement is the key to getting out of the funk. I often think, "I'll just keep walking until I leave it behind."

  2. Thanks, Kristen. More happiness in giving. . .

  3. Oh gosh yes. I struggle with this BIG time. I try to ask myself what I need in that moment. Sometimes I want to cry. Sometimes I want a friend. Sometimes I want to go for a run.

    I hope you beat your blues.

  4. Thanks, Tabitha. Figuring out what we need is a big help.

  5. Thank you for bringing this out. Most days are easier than others but some days I just can't find happyland. Getting out of the house always helps; a new perspective.

  6. I totally understand what you mean! Chocolate and a good book, and I'm back in the right fram of mind. Good luck!

  7. You're welcome, Ruth. I know people who live in Happyland. I enjoy visiing them there ^_^

  8. Megan--sounds like a perfect prescription!

  9. I struggle very badly with the blues, but not just in Fall - all the time.

    I find trying to keep up a fitness regime and actively pursuing what I love (my writing, collecting dolls etc) really helps me focus.

    Trying to put a more positive spin on the things that bring me down. I've only recently put myself out there enough (aka Rach's Writing Campaign) to get to know other writers. So my writing community (while growing) is small. But so far, I'm loving it.

    I hope to keep using it as a source of inspiration on those days where weather effects my moods.

  10. Angelina, Gosh, can I relate? You know I can. If it weren't for your cyber rope a few weeks ago, I don't know where I'd be right now.

    I'm still in a funk, but one I can handle. I think. It's tough though. I'm with ya there.

    I like your suggestions. Helping others definitely helps, walking, too. I was thinking about volunteering soon, a shelter or a soup kitchen.

    Julia Cameron (sp?) calls it "filling the well," if I'm correct. I read the Artist's Way years ago, and her concept of feeding our creativity seems appropriate at times like these.

    My funk began with self-doubt and escalated from there. Boy, can self-doubt be destructive! I think about writing all the time, even in my dreams, but putting my fingers to the keys, well it's been a challenge.

    I had a renewed sense of hope this past Wed. when I attended my regional SCBWI monthly meetup. It wasn't the content / discussion of the meeting that got the juices flowing again, it was the connection, support & friendship I experienced with the other members. Hanging out with like-minded peeps seems to be the best medicine for me, at least this time!

    Angelina, I understand the depth of the writing blues. Here's the rope, catch it, hang on to it. I'll hold my end, too. We'll keep each other up. You're amazing, you must remember that!

    Anyone else need to tie their rope to ours? Feel free. :)))

  11. Thanks, Candy. I'm looking forward to some SCBWI meetings this week and next.

  12. A full-spectrum bulb in my desk lamp to combat the threat of Seasonal Affected Disorder.

  13. L.S.--We've got a full-spectrum bulb in our dawn simulator. Virtual sunrise at 5 am every morning!

  14. All of the above, Angelina.
    Well, almost.
    Got to try this exercise thing. Gentle sounds like a good way to start thinking about it.

  15. Mirka--I'm still working on that, too ^_^

  16. I don't know that my blues are weather related- but I do get down on my writing. I let myself wallow for a minute, then call the drill sergeant personality to the forefront and she cracks the whip on the poor pitiful self. Writing through it. Eventually you get to a word or phrase that makes you love it once more. Hot tea is great any time though. My favorite is Early Gray with milk and honey if it's early or Bengal Spice with the same if it's past caffeine time. Yum. Great for warming belly and heart.

  17. JRo--Another tea drinker. Have never heard of Early Gray, but I drink a lot of Earl ^_^

  18. My main problems are lack of sleep and no peace. This is all family related of course, so I have to work around it. I also feel worse when the skies are grey or I think about how my clothes are getting tighter, so should be exercising, and that makes me fed up and then I comfort eat. Downward spiral.

    For me, it's all about trying to think about the positives and focussing on them more.

  19. Reading and walking do it for me -though oddly I cannot walk and listen to audio books. Would be helpful if I could!

  20. Rebecca--When you master thought control, let me know. I could use some tips ^_^

    Shelley--Walking does clear the head, doesn't it?

  21. Fall is my favorite time of year, and I really miss the Northeast right now. Down in GA, the change is so subtle and so late.

    Writing through the blues is hard. I have some similar things on my list:

    *Hot Tea
    *Hot Chocolate (non-dairy)
    *Early morning routine of exercise, shower, writing. (which I can no longer follow because I have to earn some dough)
    *Taking breaks to surf my favorite online peeps/communities for encouragement.
    *MUSIC and long walks in the fall air.

    I've been stuck in a rut all week, but I'm hoping to at least take myself away to the café and write, earbuds firmly in place, soundtrack to The Secret of Kells or The Piano on >>play.

  22. This is my favourite time of year for writing. I love the early dark nights and having the curtains closed. It also keeps me from staring out of the window for minutes at a time :-)

  23. Ugh, yes, this is the worst time of the year for me! September through early November. It doesn't help that everyone else seems to rhapsodize about how much they love fall. In mid-November, I start to enjoy the peace and the special light of late fall/early winter. But right now, I want to cling to every warm hour and every minute of sunlight.

    Getting out in nature helps. And not overtaxing myself: curling up with a good movie.

    And trying to take it one day at a time. Summer will come again, inevitably.

  24. Mary Ann--I've been totally forgetting about music, other than the soundtrack that's always running through my head.

    Sarah--I like the dark nights, too, but I write in the morning and don't wake up until the sun shines. By then it's way late!

    Jennifer--Summer arrived this year on August 4th. No joke. Seems like way too far away. . .

  25. That's a really good quote. I always get sad this time of year, but I deal with funk off and on all the time. Writers are very sensitive creatures. No, I'm not able to write through the funk. This week, I just couldn't even get on Twitter much. That's pretty bad when you can't even write a short little tweet. Holding my month-old grandbaby yesterday helped. Being around children always cheer me up. Remembering happy occasions and looking at pics of them help a lot. Music is always great. Sometimes I just have to sleep all day or even two. Letting the tears come is good. I went for years without being able to cry. Not healthy at all. Focusing on helping others is always good. I love what Candy wrote about the rope. Sounds like it should be a famous quote! I hope you have a super weekend, Angelina.

  26. Lyn--Being around children is great medicine. So happy you got to hold the precious new bundle of cuteness. I have once a week pajama days. Read, sleep, whatever I'm in the mood for. You have a great weekend, too!

  27. *Writing with emotional honesty

    That and exercise often get me through.

    I struggle with the writing blues when school's in session - there is just never enough time!

    So I fix it with a writing schedule. A couple of hours to forget all my responsibilites and just be with my babies. Sometimes easier said than done.

    PS - thanks again for sharing my post with Ellen. Still on a high from that. :)


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