Writer Problems

Today's post is by guest blogger Brittany Gnizak, who has a unique and awesome take on writing and life in general.
 Check out her blog, Made4him.com

I am a writer. By definition, I write. I could be writing articles, stories, poems, notes... anything. The act of getting words out of my brain is the act of writing. Sometimes it seems all I do is procrastinate. And by procrastinate, I mean distract myself and prepare myself to write.

A typical session of writing (when I don't have the LIGHTBULB moment) starts with me turning on my laptop. Then checking my phone to see if anyone posted something on Facebook. Then checking each of the 5 writing files I have stored on the bottom tab of my screen to see what (if anything) jumps out at me to start writing.

Then I look at Pinterest to see if there is a picture or quote or dialog prompt or personality summary that makes the creative juices flow. Nope. Okay, now check the e-mails. Look at a book. Okay, finish reading the 350 page book. Where was I? Oh yeah... writing.

Sometimes it isn't that bad. I put my headphones on, select a suitable starting track, and the story starts to unfold in front of me. I see stories in scenes, like movies or TV shows, with their own soundtracks. Sometimes my characters have their own "theme" music.

Being a writer also means that I listen to a ton of music. I look at thousands of pictures of people on Pinterest so I can picture and then describe my character perfectly, so that the reader also would see them if they walked down the street.

Being a writer means I am always googling something random, such as: "death is certain, life is not" -- was this an actual quote? (yes) who said it? (Augustus Hill) who is Augustus Hill? (who cares, I liked the quote). Or looking for THE proper quote, for instance...about reading: "Books are a uniquely portable magic." (attributed to Stephen King) and the reply, "When trouble strikes, head to the library. You will either be able to solve the problem, or simply have something to read as the world crashes down around you." (Lemony Snickett)

Being a writer means that I watch people, I listen to accents, I try to figure out how to describe the scenery, the cut of a dress, the indefinable way someone is standing or looking... It means I am on overload most of the time, trying to absorb the experiences and nuances of life.

I didn't realize how MUCH I needed to write until a couple of years ago. I was getting more and more frustrated about the fact that I didn't have time between working three jobs and trying to sleep in my non-existent spare time... and I mentioned my frustrations to one of my best friends.

They promptly gave me the proverbial "Gibbs Slap."

"You need to MAKE time to write. Even if it is only a few lines scribbled on a sheet of paper with a pencil. Carry around something to write with and something to write on, and JUST DO IT."

It was when I started to put that advice into practice that I truly realized how BADLY I had missed that outlet. My brain is like the having the equivalent of a fireworks display going off at any given time. I think too much. I have multiple threads of thoughts being unsnarled at most points in time.

Writing is my therapy. I can pour thoughts out onto the screen (or page) and in the process of writing them down, start to make sense of them. See the patterns, see the common threads, see how the information actually fits into reality.

Since I started writing regularly, I have been much more settled and much more grounded. This challenge -- 750 words a day -- has been a cool, unique way to keep myself focused on actually writing. It helps me sort through things necessary to continue with my work in progress, and it keeps the "muscles" warmed up for when I do get a "burst of genius."

Especially when I am processing an emotional or mental tangle (talking real life relationships or problems or situations)... I can't shut my brain off.

The flip side to my writing, and the brain I can't shut up... I figured out that running helps me un-spool my brain as well. The physicality of pushing my body physically helps provide an OFF shift for my brain. There is literature out there that talks about how repetitive physical activity literally helps creativity become unlocked.

After a brisk walk or run, I am finding more and more that I have "gotten out of my head" and "out of my own way" creatively -- and it is a fantastic feeling. I run to write... because a writer who isn't writing is like a Paramedic who hasn't had their morning coffee.

And at the end of the day... I am a writer. And writing is simply something I have to do. There are many reasons why I write, but one of them is simply because I have to. I have to write, because words and ideas bottled up inside is like keeping a volcano "under wraps" and ignoring that it is there. I'm not an extrovert. I'm an introvert. And that means I share who I am, and the stories that I want to tell, in writing.

Have you experienced any of these "Writer's Problems"? Let us know!