It was a frustrating week in writing, one of those weeks where you keep trying different routes to get into the words, only to come up against another wall.
One night this week, I sat with a set of poems in front of me. I picked up one poem, and then the next, and then the next â€” each time putting the poem back down into the pile after having just barely glancing at it. The feeling of frustration just kept building and building.
There’s a feeling of restriction, I find, in being artistically blocked. I find myself curling in, my muscles tightening up. It’s a feeling of not being able to move or act. And the more I feel I can’t write or act, the more I tighten the ball.
All I want to do is just scribble in rage until I tear through the page, I thought, while still trying to face the words I couldn’t seem to face.
Until I finally asked myself why I was avoiding it. If rage write what what I wanted to do and if it wasn’t really going to make things any worse, why not do it. So, I grabbed a red pen and started scrawling all the hate words and curses and anger out on to the page. I scribbled over what I wrote, I scratched over and I tore through the page, ripping a hole and gouging it open.
Rage writing might seem a counterproductive way to deal with an emotional block (which really what I think writer’s blocks are). But here’s the thing, it helped. It loosen up all that tension that had built up and allowed me to loosen. I started having fun with the scribbles, and they became more playful, less angry.
Not long after putting the page of rage writing down, I was able to pick up a poem and edit it into a finished piece that I’m rather happy with, allowing me to end the day with a feeling of accomplishment and calm.
I’m not saying rage writing is the solution for everyone facing a block, or for every time it comes up. There are a lot of ways to relax that tension and frustration. Other paths for other writers might do better with meditation, or taking a long walk, or reading an awesome book.
The point is there are creative solutions to finding your way around the wall.
Let me know what solutions you’ve found that work best for you in the comments.
What Iâ€™m Reading
I should have been able to finishe Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume, in just a few hours. But there have been numerous distractions, so I’m still in the process of reading. Good stuff so far.
Also about halfway through the 2016 Rhysling Anthology, which is full of amazing speculative poetry.
What Iâ€™mÂ Writing
I talked about most of my writing week already. Another frustration was that I had put together a submission of poems, only to realize halfway through submitting that my intended submission did not fit the journal’s guidelines after all. So, I sighed and put it aside and began looking into where else to submit, but never actually got around to submitting.
Goals for the Week:
- Continue editing the 30/30 poetry collection.
- Submit a set of poems for publication
“If there is a thematic message encoded in the â€œgirlâ€ narratives, I think this is its key: the transition from girlhood to womanhood, from being someone to being someoneâ€™s wife, someoneâ€™s mother. Girl attunes us to what might be gained and lost in the transformation, and raises a possibility of reversion. To be called â€œjust a girlâ€ may be diminishment, but to call yourself â€œstill a girl,â€ can be empowerment, laying claim to the unencumbered liberties of youth. As Gloria Steinem likes to remind us, women lose power as they age. The persistence of girlhood can be a battle cry,” writes Robin Wasserman in her wonderful exploration of what it means when we call women girls.
In The Unsung Heroes of the Poetry World, Krystal Languell talks with 11 poets on what it takes to run a small press.
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Boston’s sidewalks are covered in secret poems, which are only revealed when it rains.