Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Words Shy of Daylight

I am not sure that my moments of inactivity at the keyboard can be construed as writers block. It is more akin to very narrow entrance and a jam of words, shoving and pushing to pass through and getting nowhere! As in any jam all it needs is for one to move slightly to one side, allow a space and hopefully, like sheep the rest will follow. With luck the brain has settled on the right words and the correct order. If not that is what re-writes are for and good editors.

I started writing Ellen’s Tale during a period of great stress and distress. It was a therapeutic escape from a life becoming more unbearable by the day. The words flowed and I settled into a very agreeable alternative world. I continued writing after that stress vanished and more stress crowded in behind. Illness and operations have dictated my life for a few years now and I have learnt the benefits a ‘lie down’ on odd occasions during the day. It is during these quiet times I find inspirations, work out an impending piece of writing. I hold conversations in my head to decide which character says what. If I drift into sleep those moments as I fall asleep and the moments I come back are fertile moments.

So getting that first word sometimes, for me at least, means stretching prone on a bed, letting thoughts drift; or, as thoughts and words that elude one are often found when not being looked for, I will potter in a sunny garden. Again letting my mind wander as it will between - do we have vegetable bake or liver and bacon for dinner and the last piece of writing or research I had done. Many times when I think my mind is tunelessly blank a word, an idea will explode into consciousness with a huge Yay!

Other times if words are shy of the daylight I will shrug and get on with anything else. Maybe the house needs some work done (I hate housework so there is always something needs doing!)or maybe some research for WIP or maybe the next novel. The first is so boring I am driven back to the keyboard, the second is so endlessly fascinating that the barren hours can be kept at bay while a file of useful aids to the inspirations are collected.

Ellen’s Tale as I have said in previous blogs started as homework practice for short story writing. In the class I was attending each week I found a blank mind over three nights, a mind that refused to offer a single idea to the teacher’s requests, they were supposed to be ten minute writes. Sci Fi, Food and Historical, the three subjects I appeared to be blocked on. I spent the time doodling elaborate prototypes of some art doll I thought might be fun to make.

I was determined to get to grips with short stories during the holiday and then, when the first word made it though that jam, they just kept on coming. In the intervening weeks those three subjects had obviously been fermenting within a very over stressed brain. Not blocked so much as slowed right down in a whole lot of other issues; in the grand scheme of things more important than keyboard to screen. However the words and ideas were still forming, gathering strength until their time came. Waiting for a calmer tide to wash them ashore.

For me extreme stress has both been a spark and a dampener to writing; relaxation and brainless occupation often a great companion to them both. I do not have to write to make a living. I do not have to produce x number of words in x number of hours/days, I am willing to admit I am lucky not to have that pressure. I give them to myself by inventing deadlines!! No-one is dependent for a roof over their heads on my writing. I can just enjoy the process of adding words to words, gaining immense pleasure from the creation of my Tales.

http://www.albertaross.co.uk/    Official website for information on my books - extracts, purchasing and forthcoming publications.

I blog on anything that takes my fancy on http://didyoueverkissafrog.typepad.com/
and about books and reading on http://sefuty.livejournal.com/

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Writing Challenge:  WRITER'S BLOCK
  1. Second Tuesday 2: Words Shy of Daylight - Alberta Ross
  2. 12 & a ½ Ways to Deal with Writer’s’Block - Ruchira Mandal
  3. Second Tuesday - Writer's Block - Patti Larsen
  4. Iain the Cat opines on Writer's Block - Jeannie
  5. Using Writer's Block as an Excuse to not Write - Rebeca Schilller
  6. Writer's Block - Gary Varner
  7. Second Tuesday - Writer's Block and the Tooth Fairy - Annetta Ribken
  8. Writer's Block or Writer's Withdrawal - Eden Baylee
  9. Breaking Past Writer's Block - Elise VanCise

This post is part of a monthly writing challenge known as "Second Tuesday," written by members of the Fellow Writers' Facebook group. Click on any link above to read another "Second Tuesday" post. Enjoy!


  1. Ahh stress. It can be so awful sometimes but you can turn it around and make it fruitful. Good luck and see you around the crusades.

  2. Nothing like a good lie-down to help percolation... I'm often jolted awake at 3am with an idea, especially if I'm thinking about my work before I go to bed... funny how once the dam breaks you can't close it up again! :)

  3. Stress and rest are the two things we both centered on in this Writer's Block prompt! :) Enjoyed your piece very much.

  4. I thought I was the only one that had a bit of a 'lie down' to coax ideas out! I get some of my best ideas that way.

    This is a lovely post, Alberta. It has a relaxing aura and I quite enjoyed it.

  5. Admirable that you've been able to write through the discomfort and other challenges. I'm a believer in what power naps can do to rejuvenate...or resolve an issue...or simply recharge one's batteries. Enjoyed reading your thoughts.

  6. Alberta, really nice piece. Like Netta, I was lulled into a dreamy state (not by your writing!), but by the fact that I'm tired and probably need a rest too! Like all muscles, the brain needs a break, and we live in a sleep-deprived world because we want to do so much , and there's only so many hours in a day.
    Going to hit the hay soon.

  7. Nice post Alberta. I find that if I'm too stressed I can't focus on writing anything new. Instead, I focus on revising. And once the revisions start, the stress seems to lift. All in all, some form of writing is always therapeutic.

  8. Hats off to you for writing through all that discomfort- I do admire your guts. Power naps do rejuvenate the brain, although mine is so naughty it often tends to stray off in every direction except the WIP.
    And oh, I'm a great activist of doodling in class.;)

  9. thank you all for the comments - haven't worked out how I reply individualy on here yet!

  10. Quiet time does help.


  11. Stress is usually not a good thing for my creativity, sad to say.
    Wonderful post, and nice to meet you, fellow crusader!