Last night at critique group I learned about a writer named Russel Blake (real name: Craig Osso) who has published 25 books in the last 30 months. According to the Wall Street Journal, “he wrote one of his best-selling books, the 229-page thriller JET, in just 16 days. He churns out 7,000 to 10,000 words a day and often works from eight in the morning until midnight. He spends many of those hours on a treadmill desk, clocking eight to 10 miles.”
Besides wondering if he has a different genetic code than the rest of us, I began to question my writing output. Should I try to emulate the unbelievable pace of Blake? He’s sold 435,000 copies of his book, so obviously the routine is working for him.
But here’s another side of the coin. Lately life’s been a wee bit stressful, mainly because of a move to a new home, new school and new community. For a while I had no time to write during the packing, cleaning, moving, unpacking, cleaning cycle, and then when I finally sat down at the computer, opened the screen ... nothing. Absolutely nothing.
Writer’s block has struck before, and like any dedicated writer I forced myself to start typing, hoping that the trickle would turn into a flow, as it usually does. But it didn’t. For about a week I forced it, but everything I wrote was garbage. Terrible, stilted, pointless garbage. Did I even remember how to communicate in the English language?
My ability to communicate creatively was tapped out, so I decided to give myself permission to not write, at least for a few weeks. I engaged in activities that I knew refilled my creative tank, or at least had in the past, and hoped that my writing mojo would return.
And I think it has. As I worked on some new projects this week the words finally began to flow and stopped being forced. Even more importantly joy settled deep in my being as I returned to something I truly love.
|This is how Kelly gets her groove back|
Then the trick is maintaining that balance between productivity and creativity. And if anyone has tips as to how they do that, I’m all ears.