Thursday, September 9, 2010

Buried Alive

During these past few months, all of me, including my creative side, has felt "buried alive." By that I mean, I knew technically what I needed to do to get back down to the business of writing (open a notebook or my laptop and get to it), but practically, I was totally unable to access my creativity.

My friends and family told me I was going through a deep period of grief over the loss of a lifelong relationship that was - by no choice of my own - no longer lifelong. I knew this was true, and that at some point I'd open the lid on my self-made coffin (eerie, right?), but part of me worried I'd never see the creative light of day again.

It was suggested to me that I journal during this difficult time, but I would have rather jumped off a very tall cliff than write about the experience. I had no desire to journal or work on my book or even get out of bed in the morning. I tweeted a bit, putzed around on FB, and did my best to continue writing blog posts. I even wrote a song or two, and a set of lyrics (see last post). However, that was all the writing I could muster. I couldn't begin to get back on track with my precious YA novel I've been working so hard on since late last September.

BUT... In the last two days, I've edited the first three chapters of my book! I'm a bit wobbly, but I'm starting to get my creative sea legs back, and it feels great to be standing on sane, dry land. (Plus, you gotta love those crazy teens I write about!)

Thanks to all of you who have stood by me, encouraged me, cried with me, loved me, and had faith that I would eventually get through this most difficult time in my life. It is because of you that I am able to see the slim rays of light again; because of you that I will make a full recovery and kick that stupid coffin to the curb.

What do you do when you get into a creative funk? Any tips would be greatly appreciated!

27 comments:

Kristi Faith said...

Oh, I'm so sorry! These times are among the most difficult....It's so hard when our brain can tell us exactly what we need to do, but the rest of our body and soul just don't agree....

1) Go for a walk, a lazy, leisurely walk. Perhaps if there are some Botanical Gardens or something similar in your area, you should visit.

2) Call someone unexpected. Not a lifelong friend or the mom next door to set up a playdate...but someone you don't normally call.

3)Write yourself a love note. Even if it's short and sweet. On a sticky note, or a scrap of paper. Doodle on said love note. Love yourself a little. It's okay. Then post that note somewhere that you'll see it on occasion. :)

Elspeth Antonelli said...

I try to listen to the little voice - it will tell you when it's time to get back to things. As difficult as it is, once you start being creative again, the payoff is magnificent. Bad things happen, yes. Does it blow? Yes. Is it unfair? Yes. But you're still you and all that marvelous creativity is still there - waiting to burble forth.

I'm rooting for you!

Laura Eno said...

Pour jello into your coffin so you'll giggle the next time you try to climb in.

Hang two photos of you somewhere that you'll see often - one of a great photo, and one that you take of yourself looking grumpy and sad (something that will make you laugh each time you see it and remember you want to look like the good picture).

Jeffe Kennedy said...

For me, creative funk means get back to the ritual: Precise times. No internet. Particular music. Sometimes no looking out the window. I guess I'm into tough love! ;-)

Kristina said...

I always get funky when I'm stressed or worried. Let's just say I'm no funkalicious babe. Routine and a good cry do me wonders. That and a coffee/wine date with a good friend. These days, I'm also trying exercise as a way to exercise my funk. I figure if I can CrossFit my way into losing my funk, not only will I get more "fun" but more buff as well.

Come on over. I'll make you tea and chocolate & then take you for a run/walk whatever. Together we are stronger, yes?

Laura Marcella said...

I think you handled your creative funk well. You rested and grieved and did a little writing elsewhere. And now it looks like you're ready to get back on track with your novel. That's a good thing! Ease into it. Before you know it, you'll be eating, sleeping, and dreaming writing again!

Anonymous said...

You are a classy and courageous person. Never give up!

Debra L. Schubert said...

Thanks for all the encouraging messages. I'm doing my best to keep moving forward. Like Churchill said, "when you're going through hell, keep going!" That's exactly what I plan to do. ;-)

Robin said...

I am so glad that you are back in the game. Back on the court. Hit my HERE'S TO YOU THURSDAY and watch the video I dedicated to Nicole at Destination Unknown. I think it will strike a chord within you. As for me, I am having a hard time finding my own motivation for my book. I have been stalled out for a while. So, I have continued blogging and working through my personal issues on my blog. I think if I can clean out my "house" I can get back on track. Of course, I have those crazy daily migraines that wear on me. Somedays are worse than others. I will say this, chronic pain just WEARS. It's like being hit every day, every ten minutes with a peen hammer, on the side of your head. Not hard. But every day for seven years, every ten minutes. Same spot. After a while, it makes you crazy. Of course, the truth is some days it isn't a peen hammer, it's a sledge hammer and it's all day in the same spot. So, there are lots of days that I think I am just crazy. That all of that hitting on my head for seven years has made me insane. Insane, but kind, and very empathetic. It's a crazy combo. But it's me.

Linda G. said...

So glad you're starting to dig your way out. :)

When I get into a writing funk, I give myself permission not to write, and then I read. Mostly old favorites, my "comfort" books. Seems to help.

Debra L. Schubert said...

Robin, Have you been to a neurologist? Constant, debilitating migraines are not normal. Also, "cleaning out our houses," so to speak, is crucial to sanity and growth.

And, thanks for the nod to your blog - very cool video. ;-)

Debra L. Schubert said...

Linda, I'm with you. I tend to read when I'm not writing. I just finished a wonderful book today called, "One Day." Reading is a calming source plus, as writers, we learn more about writing every time we read. Tx for your support - it means a lot. ;-)

Ruthanne Reid said...

SO good to hear from you!! And yes, sometimes a grieving-time just has to happen.

I knew you'd make it through. Keep going, keep shining, keep singing and writing!

Marisa Birns said...

You just needed that time to grieve. Not only have you gone through loss of lifelong relationship, you also had to deal with your wonderful son going off to college. So many changes!

Now, you're slowly coming back. No need to rush it. As Elspeth said, just listen to that little voice that will tell you when to go full steam ahead.

Debra L. Schubert said...

Ruthanne, I wish I could properly thank you for your support. Please know I don't take it for granted at all. (((hugs))) And, yes, the grieving process has to play itself out. I'm hoping I'm nearing the end of the seriously difficult stuff...

Debra L. Schubert said...

Marisa, Thank you so much for reinforcing what Elspeth said. She's so right! If I listen closely, I'll know exactly what to do and when to do it. I just sometimes wish the process would move along more quickly... (Patience is a virtue; unfortunately it's not one of mine!)

WendyCinNYC said...

Sometimes, you just have to ride the funk until it's done. When my dad was going through his cancer treatment, writing fell away for a while. (He's doing okay and cancer-free now.) I guess I mostly read as a treatment for everything--to escape, to calm myself, to energize.

Kimberly Franklin said...

So glad to hear you're working on you awesome YA novel again!! :)

Debra L. Schubert said...

Wendy, I know what you mean. Sometimes "life" interrupts writing. But, then we have more material and experience with which to enrich our writing.

Glad your dad is doing well - my mom went through it, too, and is doing well/cancer free. Thank goodness!!!

Debra L. Schubert said...

Kim, Your beta read meant SO much! I can't wait until my agent says, "Okay, we're ready to take this out on submission!" I think I might faint dead away...

Buffy Andrews said...

Glad to hear you're doing better. (Doing cheer) I've been in a bit of a funk lately. I've been so discouraged and frustrated. My agent search continues and I'm beginning to wonder if I will ever find someone who believes in me and my work. Maybe it's just not meant to be. Anyway, I know that you've experienced a lot of sadness. But I also see that you're a survivor. I'm proud of you:)

“If you will call your troubles experiences, and remember that every experience develops some latent force within you, you will grow vigorous and happy, however adverse your circumstances may seem to be.”
--John Heywood

Debra L. Schubert said...

Buffy, Hang in there! The agent search can be demoralizing, but it's so worth it in the end. It took me a lot of queries before I found my agent. Here's the link to my blog post about it in case you're interested:

http://debralschubert.blogspot.com/search?q=Did+I+Mention+I%27ve

Thanks for that great quote. We writers need to support each other. Have faith - you CAN do it!!!

Buffy Andrews said...

Thanks so much for your encouraging words. I read your post. Truly amazing. Good luck to you and your agent. I'm cheering for your overwhelming success. Blessings, Buffy

Debra L. Schubert said...

Buffy, Blessings right back at you. Things WILL work out. ;-)

Damyanti said...

Each person has a different way of dealing with grief, and creative funks.

Sometime all you need is time, and in your case, you seem to be out and doing well again.

Sending you great vibes of creative energy, and here's to you finding your creative self again!

Fragrant Liar said...

Congrats on working your way back, Debra. I've been through this same thing, and you do need to go through the grieving process, which is different for everybody. I love the sharing and suggestions people have made. All good stuff. Best wishes, and looking forward to hearing more progress about your new book.

Anonymous said...

tynpasocc http://crush-the-castle.com Crush The Castle

Like Button

There was an error in this gadget