Use the Frustration

For the Conscious Writer

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I understand the frustration that comes with wanting to write. I understand that sometimes things don’t feel right. That frustration can cause a spiral. It can cause negative reactions but as conscious writers, it’s important that we focus this energy into our art and creativity. Use it in the story.

But first, encouragement! Because I know how that frustration can really bring you down.

Encouragement

You are a creative. You have boundless creative ideas that flow from the crown of your head to the tips of your toes. You bleed new ideas. You sweat stories that remain for centuries. You are here to listen, to observe, and to learn then to write it down. That may seem like an easy task, but it isn’t. Conscious writing is complex and layered and universel in ways that others will never understand, but they’ll want to. They will never know what you sacrificed to find these words. They will never know a lot of things you’ve gone through, and that’s ok. You know. I understand. So, let’s get back to writing.

Frustration is no fun

I envision tossing my computer on a regular basis. It sits between my heart and my stomach and bubbles over my entire body. If this feeling comes up with something I’m not committed to, I just walk away. But when it’s something I’m committed to (like writing), the tears well up and I push to adjust. It took time to learn to stay put even when I’m frustrated. But over time, I’ve learned a few techniques that help me use my frustration as an advantage rather than a hindrance.

What to Do With Our Frustration?

First things first. Figure out where the frustration is coming from. In the Harvard Gazette article titled Soothing Advice for Mad America, Dr. David H. Rosmarin explains that during the pandemic, frustrations are heightened and people are reacting with more anger than usual. Instead of reacting in anger, he suggests that we voice what really worries us about the things that make us angry. He suggested that,

we grow in our emotional strength when we admit and acknowledge [our] weakness.

So, the first thing to do is find the root to your frustration. What is frustrating you? What are you not getting that you wish or need to have? How can we fill this gap?

The second thing to do. Use your struggles to connect with other writers. Admit you’re struggling to writers. We are story machines, but it isn’t always easy and it’s important to admit that. In the same article mentioned above, Dr. Rosmarin said,

As attachment theory teaches us, what we really need is not to be strong, but to be close and connected to the people around us.

Connecting with like minds in a respectful manner is important me all the time. More important than I often admit. So, when I’m struggling I like to reach out for support. I appreciate the small group of people who have supported me through my struggles. Connecting with them mean more to me than the story

The third thing to do. Use what you have. Now that you’ve gotten to the bottom of your frustration, use that in your story. Use it in a poem. Use it as an idea for your next book. Journal about it.

This routine is what separates you from other writers. This is what makes you conscious and aware of who you are. I think the most challenging part of these tips for me is getting to the bottom of my frustrations. Figuring out where it is all coming from, but in the end it’s always worth it.

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Blocked? There’s a Way Out

Encouragement For the Conscious Writer

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Writer’s block’ is an emotional or logical incoherence in a future work slowly working its way through our unconscious. — Alain de Botton

So you’ve hit it, the emotional block. It grows. That block grows and grows until you’ve spent the day avoiding the one thing you love doing. It then turns into doubt and fear and all sorts of negative thoughts. So you shift your focus some more. It can turn into a vicious cycle gnashing at the little bit of confidence you have left.

I’m here to shed some light.

What is a writer’s block? More importantly what is a writer’s block for conscious writers?

Well, let’s start by discussing the fact that you are an amazing writer and you having a block does not make you any less or any more of a writer. It makes you a healthy functioning human being. If you’ve written to the point of a writer’s block, you are doing a phenomenal job. You have gotten past the hardest part and that’s being consistent enough to reach a block. On top of that, you are reading a post about how to unblock that block, which means, you are actively seeking to fix the problem instead of just walking away when it got hard. This is progress. This is maturity. Seriously. You are doing a great job. Do not let negative thoughts make you think for one second that you are not cut out for this, because let me tell you, if there’s anything you’re good at, it’s this.

So what is writer’s block?

It isn’t just a part of the story you can’t figure out. It is a psychological barrier that is holding you back. Before you can work on the block you’ve get to get yourself back into that creative space. Some things that help me step back into my creative space are to:

walk
talk it out
put away the story
edit parts I’m not stuck on
do something else creative
focus on something else I’m interested in like research, empowering friends, or whatever else will take my mind off of it.
write an unrelated poem or short story

These things really loosen up my brain space from tension. Once you get relaxed you can return to the writing space.

When you get back to that space it doesn’t mean the block is gone. It means you’re ready to figure out why it’s there so you can continue. Is the block emotional? Is something in this scene or idea triggering you? It seems at surface value that you’re fresh out of ideas but this isn’t true because you are an idea machine. You are made of amazing ideas sparked by infinite creativity.

How to get to the block.

Look at what you’re adding to your story. Is it something directly related to your life? Is there something you feel limited from in your life. If it is, how can you change your perception to use what’s limiting you in a positive way?

Another way I’ve learned to look at a block is what’s going on outside of my writing. Am I exhausted? Have I been pushing yourself too hard? Am I getting too comfortable or eating too much junk. Now, don’t let your head spin from all these questions. These are good questions to ask regularly whether you have a writers block or not.

When I first started writing, I’d walk away and say I can’t write or I don’t know what to write. I’d have all sorts of writers block excuses but the truth was I was frustrated about something else. The longer I tried to ignore it, the longer I couldn’t write. So when I was ready to face the reason why I couldn’t write, things would begin to fall back into place.

Even if you’re not going through the dreaded writer’s block, these questions will help you learn who you are.

Keep Writing. You got this.

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Where Freedom Lies

For the Conscious Writer

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Freedom is great when no one gets hurt. But what is freedom? Is it the ability to have a finished product without putting in the work? Is it being able to lay around and do nothing all day? The truth is that freedom is in neither of those things. Freedom comes from discipline. Freedom comes from doing the hard work every single day and watching your writing bloom and grow into exactly what it needs to be, truthful. The ability to tell the truth is liberating.

Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.

-Henry David Thoreau

There’s freedom in being able to speak your truth. Most times digging to these truths takes more work than most are willing to put in. The nuggets of truth get so buried, that they haven’t seen the light of day since who knows when. So getting to them is hard work. Don’t think for a second that your conscious writing is no sweat. It is hard work mining. So once we get to the truth, we write it down and we say it out loud and we are finally freed from hiding it under false belief for so long. Every time we find one of our hidden truths, we are one step closer to whole.

This is where the discipline is essential. It helps to keep you moving forward even during the darkest moments when you no longer want to. You are going to need more than motivational quote on those days.

There’s always a million other things to do.

There’s always time for a nap or cleaning or even an extra hour at the gym. If there is anything I’ve learned it’s that there is never enough time to write. It’s not just the clock, it’s the amount of energy, the amount of focus and mental stamina. It’s ok to spend time taking care of your priorities but when it’s time to write, it’s important to show up.

There’s not a huge expectation here. It’s just show up and write everyday. You don’t have to want to. You just have to do it. One more scene. One more detail about your character, one more juicy tidbit about your world. There’s no need to be enthusiastic or energetic. The page could care less about your mood or your energy. The characters just need you to be there, giving them a reason to come to life.

A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.”

— Richard Bach

This is your path to the truth. This is your path to freedom.

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sources

https://www.brainyquote.com/lists/topics/top-10-truth-quotes

When You’re Tired

For the Conscious Writer

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When you’re feeling like you’ve got nothing left that means you have just a little bit more in ya. -Saschia Johnson

I believe in rest. I believe that we shouldn’t have to oppress ourselves in order to be successful. I also believe in discipline and hard work. Which means there should be a daily writing goal that you’re carving away at. I don’t care what your writing goal is, you should be doing it even with your lids shutting.

As a conscious writer, it takes a different kind of discipline. It’s the kind of discipline that is only seen by other conscious writers. It’s doesn’t have the same return as showing up for 8 hours somewhere and getting paid for it. It’s personal. It’s between you and the page and it’s no one else’s business even if they did understand.

We have other disciplines like cutting the grass, washing dishes, laundry, and showering. But completing a small writing goal everyday doesn’t give you the same instant gratification as a task you can complete in one sitting. You’ve got to trust yourself and you’ve got to trust your writing.

An investment in knowledge pays the best interest. — Benjamin Franklin

As a conscious writer, you already know why you’re writing, to accept yourself, love yourself, learn yourself, those are your rewards. Yes, money is important. We need to eat and we need to pay the bills. The point is that when you are developing the discipline, it is not for the money, it’s for the discipline. And when you develop the discipline, you learn to trust yourself, not the money. At this point you’re patient, you’re wiser, and you trust yourself. Then take those tools and multiply them by writing daily over a long period of time. You’ll develop trust, confidence, discipline, self love, you develop clearer thoughts and feelings, better communication, patience, understanding and so on. It’s ok to be a conscious writer and make money doing it.

It’s not a conscious writer who writes simply to make money.

A wise person should have money in their head, but not in their heart. — Jonathan Swift

It’s amazing how quickly writing 150 words a day turns into a novel. It’s amazing how your thoughts mold and change from writing 150 words everyday. And the most beautiful thing about getting 150 words down everyday is that you begin to observe the world rather than be swept away by it. We so easily get caught up in problems that don’t take priority in our lives and in our own growth. Writing everyday changes us. It makes us see things differently. It challenges us. The world becomes less impossible through the eyes of a conscious writer.

What we really want to do is what we are really meant to do. When we do what we are meant to do, money comes to us, doors open for us, we feel useful, and the work we do feels like play to us. — Julia Cameron

It’s ok to be tired when you write. So when you’re tired and you feel like you’ve got nothing left to write, make sure you finished those writing goals. If you haven’t finished those goals, you’ve always got just a little bit more in ya.

Remember why you started writing.

Sources

https://www.forbes.com/sites/robertberger/2014/04/30/top-100-money-quotes-of-all-time/#368960514998

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Dear Author

A letter from your characters

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Dear author,

I am a living breathing human being. I’m not your show horse! I need thoughts and some external stimulation. I need you to give me something to solve or avoid solving by solving something else until I realize the true importance of what I was supposed to be solving. Those ah ha moments, I like those. When all the different things finally come together to make a bigger picture, it feels good. I’m not here to stroke your ego. I’m not here to gain you awards. I’m here to be like you in ways you don’t quite understand until you write in order to understand me better. Don’t change me simply because I point out your flaws. I heard Toni Morrison say the slave was important to the white man because it defined his freeness. So I ask that you don’t take away my freeness in order to know you are free. You are free to write me in worlds with clothes and people and situations and thoughts as you choose. You are in control of my story. You are in control of my ending. So let me be entirely myself. Let me be who I become in the unfolding of this particular story. Don’t just develop my thoughts, give me some way to share them. Don’t give me everything I could ever imagine with no internal dialogue. I want to think and to grow and to develop new perspectives. Don’t tell me why I’m here, give me reasons to be here.

Sincerely,

Your Character

Sources

Toni Morrison From Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the literary Imagination in the Critical Tradition pg 1791

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Overcompensating From Fear of Loss

For the Conscious Writer

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Impending loss has an aura of grief around it. It stalks the ones closest to it and it has not one ounce of sympathy for our very fragile emotions. -Saschia Johnson

When writing a character who feels like they are losing the one they love, they should overcompensate. They might think that going above and beyond will help them keep what they love. This isn’t just in romantic relationships. This is parenting, friendship, and loss, maybe even a job someone is passionate about.

We hang tight to the things we love, it’s natural for us. Some think it’s even romantic. Whatever it is, if your character is losing the one they love, it’d feel right and believable to have them overcompensating in some way.

All you need is one safe anchor to keep you grounded when the rest of your life spins out of control. -KATIE KACVINSKY

In what ways can our characters overcompensate as human beings?

They can become overly controlling.

When we feel like we are losing control of the things we love, we tend to try and control everything around us. It makes this illusion of having more control over the loss.

Some things in life cannot be fixed. They can only be carried. –MEGAN DEVINE

They can become overly generous

They give. They bake and clean. They do other people’s work with a smile and an oppressed heart. They justify the oppression with the idea that this is better than losing the person or the job. They’d give the shirt off their back if that meant they’d be together for just a tad longer.

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They don’t hold their love accountable

In fear of losing what they love, they allow things to slide. Over time this snowballs. They mention here and there that something isn’t right or that things need to change but there is no action behind it. Their boundaries become gray. Then they become doormats.

They can become overly critical and judgy

This is the opposite of the last one. Instead of being walked over, they become overly rigid. They don’t allow anyone else to replace their love. They don’t allow themselves to feel weak about losing their love which in turn makes them critical about others who show weakness. They turn their noses up in disgust at the mere suggestion that they may be weak to the situation.

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They flee

Instead of facing a smooth ending. Instead of allowing things to end civilly, they run away from having to face an ending at all.

These behaviors can happen to any person. Even mature individuals who are dealing with losing what they love are changed by that loss. I say that because it would be a good idea to use loss in your story as a way to show your character’s growth from not being themselves for a time.

The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one; you’ll learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same nor would you want to.

-ELISABETH KUBLER-ROSS

source

A little bit about For the Conscious Writer

There’s different types of writers out there. I prefer to speak to the writers on an inward journey. I prefer to speak to writers who write to become better human beings and who write to survive this insanely beautiful and chaotic world.

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Just Show Up

For the Conscious Writer

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How do they do it? Writers, actors, painters? How do they create so many works of art? They show up. There are days when they are inside out and upside down but they show up. Not 100 percent bright eyed and bushy tailed. Not with motivation.

They show up for their dreams, they show with their discipline, and they show up keeping that commitment they made with themselves. That’s how they do it.

I’m sure quitting crosses their minds from time to time. I’m sure some of them even walk away for a moment and in that very moment maybe they do quit but the truth is, they don’t. Successful writers come back to the page and finish what they started.

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There’s always a million other things to do.

There’s always time for a nap or cleaning or even an extra hour at the gym. If there is anything I’ve learned it’s that there is never enough time to write. It’s not just the clock, it’s the amount of energy, the amount of focus and mental stamina. It’s ok to spend time taking care of your priorities but when it’s time to write, it’s important to show up.

There’s not a huge expectation here. It’s just show up and write everyday. You don’t have to want to. You just have to do it. One more scene. One more detail about your character, one more juicy tidbit about your world. There’s no need to be enthusiastic or energetic. The page could care less about your mood or your energy. The characters just need you to be there, giving them a reason to come to life.

A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.”

— Richard Bach

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Rest Rest Rest

For the Conscious Writer

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The work is always going to be there, you will not. It’s so easy in today’s world to get caught up in the over ambitious lifestyle. Work work work till you drop. I think discipline and hard work are both important things but not to the point that they become oppressive. Writing should add to your growth. It can bring you tears. It can bring you frustration especially when you’re dealing with internal conflict, but it shouldn’t oppress you.

In this world oppression is normal and being a slave to our thoughts and feelings is normal. As conscious writers, we are gifted the luxury of standing up for ourselves and confronting our true thoughts and feelings rather than ignoring them.

There are forms of oppression and domination which become invisible — the new normal. -Michel Foucault

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When writing becomes the bad guy, it’s time to step back and change your mindset. Remember why you write. Find another way to write. Find another way to tackle the problem. Just don’t let the act of conscious writing become your villain.

You don’t start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it’s good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it.
That’s why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence.
― 
Octavia E. Butler

Writing can feel daunting. I have been feeling the weight of editing this past week. There were some tears and frustration. I wasn’t ready to quit, but I was beginning to doubt myself as a writer. There’s no room for doubt in writing. I reminded myself, I am where I am from hard work and determination. I had that mindset before I started writing, and I’ll have it till I die because it’s in my blood. Knowing this gave me no other option than to look for another way to tackle the problem. But that meant, I had to wait it out. I had to wait and trust my inner writer and let me tell you, that wasn’t easy. For me, waiting at a red light is fine. I don’t even mind bad traffic as long as I’ll still be on time, but waiting on my inner writer while I have bills to pay, that is tough stuff. I still tackled the novel. I still edited and reread the story to stay connected. Then I walked around the house, talked to myself, and finally realized half of my work had to be deleted. Which is good. Now I have solid ground to build from.

So, what does all this mean? You have to trust that your story will find a place in this world. Allow these moments of waiting to be moments of rest. Drink your go-to beverage and enjoy the journey. This writing job is the place where you should not be turned into a robot. Writing is a place where you let it all hang out in its own natural and restful glory.

Stay strong writers. We’re going to finish these stories.

Every person needs to take one day away. A day in which one consciously separates the past from the future. Jobs, family, employers, and friends can exist one day without any one of us, and if our egos permit us to confess, they could exist eternally in our absence. Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for. Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.”
― 
Maya Angelou, Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now

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For the Conscious Writer

A Collection of Thoughts for Writers on a Journey

This will be a collection of lessons I’ve learned on the way. They were initially written for my past self but I need to hear them now too. The point of these writings are for encouragement and guidance to those who write for the purpose of internal growth and understanding with the intention of unconditional love.

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As Conscious writers we intentionally feel everything in a world where feelings are considered inappropriate. This act isn’t sunshine and cupcakes, but as conscious writers we know that taking the time to feel is better than the numbness that comes from flight. We dig. We listen. We rise.

We know that we may seem different and soft in a world where normal and tough is what’s expected. We aren’t your typical writer, and yet in so many ways we are just the same. There’s a place for us on this journey where our differences are exactly what we need to finish our story. We grow to accept that we won’t always be accepted.

Acceptance looks like a passive state, but in reality it brings something entirely new into this world. That peace, a subtle energy vibration, is consciousness.

Eckhart Tolle

We are shunned from certain circles when we question authority. It’s not always the authority figure that shuns us. Often times, the authority figure is excited to finally have someone aware enough to engage. It’s usually others in the group that shun the question asker, as if questioning behavior is uncouth. We question anyways, with or without fear because we need those answers to write the truth in our stories. We peek our nose where it doesn’t belong and question the things everyone else is too busy or too ashamed to question. We are the curious cats stubborn against conformity.

The worst curse to befall anyone is stagnation, a banal existence, the quiet desperation that comes out of a need for conformity.
— 
Deepak Chopra

We are taught to keep our heads down and be like everybody else, but that’s where conscious writers are different. We write to capture all of ourselves. All the intricacies and inner workings. We will watch this story unfold with our head up and our eyes wide open until the very end.

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We are on a journey and our writing is proof we’re still alive. In poetic terms, each page is an exhale.

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Pace Yourself

For the Conscious Writer

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I must admit, pacing myself is my weakness. I like face paced. I like writing the way I think so often times my writing is jagged. I skip over important details and jump right in. Pacing your story and yourself in real life is important. It’s not all about balance like they say, it’s about knowing when to speed up and when to slow down.

Those who sprint might travel quicker, but we’ll all end up in the same place at the end.
― 
Fennel Hudson, A Writer’s Year — Fennel’s Journal — №3

Knowing where your story is going helps pace your writing. I always have to remember my characters are not rushing to a finish line, they are living. They need to know where they are, what they’re thinking, what time it is, and who they’re currently not in love with. The reader doesn’t need to know these things and certainly not all at once like an info dump. These are the things that go in a journal or jotted down in the margin.

Keeping note of all your ideas also helps to stay focused on details so that you can find different ways to play with the pace. I use google docs and I also handwrite my notes to try and stay on track. (It’s too easy to get off track. Our brains are unreliable so write it down).

And as a writer, one of the things that I’ve always been interested in doing is actually invading your comfort space. Because that’s what we’re supposed to do. Get under your skin, and make you react. Stephen King
Read more at 
https://www.brainyquote.com/authors/stephen-king-quotes_2

I tend to rush through intense scenes. I just want to get it over with so the anxiety I’m feeling can go away. It’s hard for me to enjoy writing intense situations, so I don’t write them or even deal with them if I don’t have to in real life. I avoid them whenever I can. I know I haven’t always been like this, but I’m not sure when I changed. Guess I should get my journal out.

My plan is to hack away at the story in layers and small doses. I’m taking the story apart scene by scene and really diving in.

Wish me luck.

As you can see, I’m still learning this; I’ll have to come back with an updated post on pacing myself and how I solved that problem. How do you pace yourself?

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