A friend of mine was feeling very down about herself and her writing the other day. I offered a friendly ear and we spoke for a while. She admitted that she was feeling very negatively about things in her life and that she felt very blocked and negative about her writing. Without pressing for personal details, I asked if there was some way that we could talk out her problems, or otherwise cope with the negativity and writer’s block. By the end of the conversation I had suggested that she keep what I call a FICTION JOURNAL.
I can already hear you asking, “Hey, Kai? What’s a “Fiction Journal”?”
That is what I call a notebook kept specifically for writing fiction. It’s a little (or big, or whatever size, shape or colour you want!) notebook that you use to write down (very) short stories in a way to deal with your emotions. You can write whatever, I’m not a Fiction Journal Enforcer (But that is the name of my next band) it can be poetry or stories or just angry sentences but the point is that you just write.
Write about your feelings. You’re angry? Well then write a story where the person who pissed you off gets BRUTALLY MURDERED.
You’re feeling sad and depressed? Write a story about suicide or dealing with the death of a loved one or whatever.
The point of the FICTION JOURNAL is that these are ways to deal with all your pent up emotions in a safe way and get over the emotional block that’s giving you writer’s block. These don’t even have to be any good. The point is that you’re writing, you’re murdering your boss in a fantasy that will NEVER SEE THE LIGHT OF DAY.
And that is the magic of a Fiction Journal: NO ONE EVER HAS TO SEE THESE STORIES. You never have to edit them, you never even have to read them again if you don’t want to. All you need to do is express yourself in a way that helps you to come to terms with whatever is bugging you in a way that is healthy and constructive.
I used to keep one. I used to murder people in violent ways in that book all the time.
I don’t have it anymore, but it kind of made me want to write BLAZE TUESDAY so there’s that. Who knows? Maybe you’ll find inspiration for a story in your fiction journal. I did. I also didn’t murder anyone in real life and I managed to deal with all of my frustrations and get over my writer’s block a lot faster than I had ever thought possible.
The best part? My friend told me that she has been writing these thoughts down and that it has helped her, so she’s recommending the method to another of her friends!
Yay! It makes me very happy to hear success stories of people (and friends!) overcoming emotional writer’s block.
So your turn. Do you have any tricks for getting over writer’s block? And have you ever kept something like a Fiction Journal?