Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Space You Need for Writing


Today I had a sweet conversation with a writer friend. Among other things, we talked about Writer's Block.

After hanging up the phone, I moved on from the conversation, ate some Kettle Corn (which I love), made a cup of peach tea, and sat in the dining room.

The dining room is sunset yellow. I kept the lights off; the color of the room is enough to bring me light, as I hoped it would when I chose the color.

Sipping my tea, I glanced towards the living room. This morning, the floor had been completely empty. We'd moved the coffee table last night to have a dance party (just the girls and me). It took less than a day for this to appear...


And this brought me back to thoughts about Writer's Block. This, this filling of space by my girls. It always happens. A space, a filling.

If you are feeling a sense of Writer's Block today, maybe you need a space. I don't know what kind. Maybe it is a space of permission— to feel what you are feeling but have been trying to ignore. Maybe it is the space of time. Or the space of a piece of paper that you don't intend to fill with words but rather with water color dreams. Maybe what you need is to stop caring about trying to achieve something with your writing.

Writer's Block is an apt term. It says you have forgotten to make space and are now blocked from the possibility of words. What space do you need today?

Painting by Sara B. Floor covered with beads, by Sara and Sonia. :)

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Blogger Hazel said...

it was so poetic in itself. i hundred percent agree with you.

3:58 PM  
Blogger David Rupert said...

LL...I really dont get the block. I always have more ideas than I have time. And my 'space' is in the bathroom brushing my teeth, or watching the eggs cook, or driving to work or going for a walk. My "Space" is right now, right here. I don't need to surround myself with music, bubbles, lavender scents. Am I weird? Please tell me :)

4:03 PM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

David, if I tell you that you're weird, it will not be because of the lack of lavender scents :)

Interesting to consider those who tend towards block and those who don't. What's the difference?

4:09 PM  
Blogger John said...

Sometimes the truth, or the unblocking, depends upon a walk around the lake or a run along the shoreline or a romp with a dog...I've found nature a trusted ally in wooing the words out of hiding...its as if the words need to feel they can trust me again...

5:53 PM  
Blogger Shaunie @ Up the Sunbeam said...

As someone who has been struggling with this lately, thank you L.L. for not having a pat answer, but an open-ended invitation to find my space. And to your commenter John, you put that perfectly!

8:36 PM  
Blogger RissaRoo said...

Permission...yes. And a safe, open place to unpack your creativity. Thanks for this, it helps!

8:59 PM  
Anonymous Divya said...

LL..very nice and honestly ..it is so true that since we always trying to achieve something from our writing ,w e get easily frustrated as well..I am sure its gonna help in my blocks all squares and rectangular ones.. Added it to my Fav.. :) Thanks for sharing.

5:50 AM  
Blogger Megan Willome said...

I like your definition. When I approach writing as play, I emd up accomplishing more.

10:15 AM  
Blogger Kris said...

I needed this today. Thank you for this perfect reminder, this 'permission' to let it go for the moment.

2:58 PM  
Anonymous kingfisher said...

I suppose since you make a living being a writer, you would worry if a time came when you couldn't be productive. But does an apple on a tree fret about being the right size, or does it simply hang on to its branch and grow? Maybe when you have writer's block, it's not the time to pushing yourself to write.

I don't have the time and energy to write very often any more. But I can "think" and pray to the Lord God my maker. And offer myself -- yes my lacks, also -- to Him as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable in his sight.

Yes, I know a lot of writers say you must discipline yourself to write a certain number of hours (or words)every day whether you feel like it or not. But that kind of whip-cracking has never worked for me.

Since I don't have a "job" of writing or art, I can let them go when I don't have time or energy, or there's something else that must be done. I've offered the "intentions of my heart" to God, and had the pleasure of creating something or other in my mind, for him, and that has to be enough. Then if I actually get something written down, or an art piece finally finished, that's the frosting on the cake. That part happens often enough to be an encouragement, and meanwhile, maybe I'll be more content if I just take a leetle nap first, or take some pictures, or wash the dishes -- "do all to the glory o God." (However, I admit I'm not blase about the times when I can't or don't produce something. There are days when I don't like myself for not being productive. But oh, let them go, let the pressure go; God still has a plan for my life. He may be working on character or holiness or emptying me when I'm thinking I ought to be doing, or filling, me.

I really like John's comment "it's as if the words need to feel they can trust me again..."

2:59 PM  
Blogger Linda said...

This is so silly, and so typical "me" I am embarrassed to actually write it out, but here goes:
I need space to know I can even do it. There... I just need to know somehow that it is something I can do well.

4:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

that's what happens around our house too. clean a space and bam! filled.

so maybe cleaning is a way to open a space to write. nahhhhhh!

2:17 AM  
Anonymous Simply Darlene said...

I see David R. stole my sentiments. But I do lean toward the lavender. And some of that kettle corn.

(that's it? that's the mess? good night, i am sending my son to your house for some post dance party clutter fun)


11:38 AM  
Blogger Jennifer @ JenniferDukesLee.com said...

I love that you had to actually MOVE something to make space that you needed. And you didn't move it for this specific reason. You moved it to dance, and voila ... the next day your dance floor became a place to make another kind of art.

I think writers block is like that. You have to MOVE something to dislodge the block ... and maybe dance a little, too?

5:53 PM  
Blogger Ted M. Gossard said...

I think in what little writing I do, I rarely have anything but writer's block. But if I had the pressure of writing for a living, or more like you do, L.L., I'd have to grapple with this. I'm sure there would be plenty of deleting!

12:36 AM  

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