Last time I spoke to you all about my woodworking hobby, and how much I loved it. While that particular joy has been stored away indefinitely in the recesses of time, I do have other hobbies I enjoy and am actively pursuing.
One of those is writing. I’ve done a lot of serious writing over the last year and a half or so, but only within the last several months have I felt I’ve really broken through to a level where I could consider doing this professionally someday. In those several months, I’ve gotten some invaluable input from my friends who also write, like Sherri, and I’ve gotten more support than any one man deserves from my beloved. Without those key elements, I couldn’t have grown as much as I have.
I look back on my past work – whether it was a teaser for a novel or story idea, or just some of the stuff that fell out of my head for various and sundry other reasons – and cringe sometimes. I’m not saying I’ve achieved Nirvana and perfection in my writing now, but I’m a far cry better than I was even a year ago. It’s measurable, visible growth, which is always rewarding.
To achieve that growth, I’ve done things like read books and blogs about the craft of writing (some of the blogs I read are listed in the Writer’s Resources section of my blogroll if you’re interested) and reading stuff other writers have written. I never cease to learn a new technique, phrase, word or style I want to try by reading some of my favorite writers, like Stephen King (please, people, like he wouldn’t be the first name off my fingertips?), Amy Tan, John Steinbeck, Lawrence Sanders, Mary Higgins Clark, et. al. There’s always something I can glean from their experience, talent and creativity, and apply it to my own writing. Kind of like copying, but … without the actual, you know … plagiarism.
Lately, though, I’ve had horrible writer’s block. And when I’m not blocked, I should be editing my current WIP, Ghost Hunters. But … I’m not. Why? I don’t know. I love writing, I even like editing – it’s fun! I get to be my own worst critic and rip myself to shreds. But it’s just not happening for me right now. I can’t say why.
How about you? When you have frustration or reach some other impasse in your favorite hobby – or even your job or career – how do you solve it? What measures do you take to break out and get those creative juices flowing and your hands moving again?