The cause: I’ve been working abroad for 9 weeks with Raleigh International in Costa Rica. I volunteered as a Project Manager coordinating groups of 14 young people through tough challenges and demanding environmental work volunteer project.
The effect: There was little time to breathe, let alone time to write. I’ve been back a week and haven’t had the inkling to write a word.
I did manage to complete a full travel/expedition personal journal while I was away, so it wasn’t like I haven’t written anything in the last few months, but it was hardly my normal cup of tea and hardly creative. It was more of an outlet for my emotions and a way of recording things so I had more memories a month or year down the line to hang on to. However, added to the small pre-expedition ‘dry’ period during which I single-handedly ran my town’s first literary festival (A Write Good Festival), sorted all my medical vaccinations, packed my kit, and visited friends and family before I left, I haven’t really written anything constructive for about 12 weeks now.
I’ve even hosted my first Towcester Writers’ Group meeting since I’ve been back, but I didn’t have any time to write anything before we met (3 days after I landed back in the UK) so didn’t feel overly inspired or even as much of a participant as I usually felt in the evening’s activities. That was partly due to my lack of new material, but I can also hopefully blame jet lag. The group did well though, I am glad they’ve been writing in the absence of their Chair!
How I plan to get my flow back
I know practicing writing is the best way to improve and to get in the groove to write more and more. I want to be as prolific, no, more prolific than when I paused creative production in June, but just need the kick up the ass to get moving again. I’m hoping secretly that this blog post will re-ignite something and the flood gates will open. Minus the metaphors. If anyone has any tips on how to get the brain going again, do comment below!
This week I will try the following to re-ignite my passion and creative flow:
Write a blog post – first job’s almost ticked off the list already
Write a (short) letter – today – a postcard to Costa Rican friend. Any kind of writing might spark some ideas or impromptu prose.
Work on improving an existing short story I never entered anywhere and submit it somewhere. I haven’t entered a competition since the Spring and feel like a challenge.
Start something fresh - the stories I have from working with Raleigh International should inspire me something… ‘Girl Meets Jungle’, anyone?! Kidding…
Catch up on reading the writing related blogs I follow. They’re crammed full with inspiration and tips on how to improve and sustain your writing. I recommend taking a look at my latest discoveries:
1. Elope From Harm @JARiley92
2. Novel Girl @RebeccaBerto
3. Commas and Colons
4. Warrior Writers @KristenLambTX
I'll leave you today with a quote from Hemingway's 'A Moveable Feast'.
“It was wonderful to walk down the long flights of stairs knowing that I’d had good luck working. I always worked until I had something done and I always stopped when I knew what was going to happen next. That way I could be sure of going on the next day. But sometimes when I was started on a new story and I could not get going, I would sit in front of the fire and squeeze the peel of the little oranges into the edge of the flame and watch the sputter of blue that they made. I would stand and look out over the roofs of Paris and think, ”Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence you know.” So finally I would write one true sentence, and then go on from there.”
Thanks Big H! I’m going to get started!
Image courtesy of Phillip Vickers.