Tag Archives: writing life

Writing life: Playing with Writer’s Block

©2015 by Raymond Alexander Kukkee  

Let's Play with Blocks.

[caption id="attachment_3375" align="alignleft" width="150"] Writers Blocks
Writers Blocks[/caption]

Yes,  block(s) as in 'more than one'  because yes, there are more than one.  You have a pile directly before you.  Invisible. Not  the pile-up kind of wooden blocks little kids play with, letters printed on bright, coloured cubes, multi-coloured backgrounds. We humbly and perhaps numbly  pile those  up repetitively, the little ones giggling, and reveling in the empowerment of destruction, making castles fall down with outrageous laughter, enjoyment, a wondrous sense of accomplishment seeing our smiles.

Destruction of castles  we may have built so carefully, so endlessly, at times so painfully—is inevitable. It happens. Smile. Get used to it, Jack.

"Writer's block unreasonably prevents the reasonable assembly of words."

Wordsmiths tangle with writer's block in various forms.   We ponder, construct sentences, build paragraphs,  preview pages, even hold collections of  captive words in chapters for ransom at the point of a sharp pencil.

If piles of words work, Jack, they must stand tall and worthy and proud;   if they do not we may release them,  exiling them to dull, musty dictionaries.   We trade words thoughtfully,  and then wonder why.  We trash them,  experiment, or hit the delete key.  Jack be nimble, Jack be quick, before you change your mind.  Laugh raucously, go for coffee,  and  wonder why we didn't  order an expensive latté and  become plumbers instead.

Imagine. We could be turning on the tap, voila!  Water, ma'am, yes, now the pool shower works,  oh, lovely pool, by the way,  yes, and the bikini, I am blinded, you are a beautiful woman, ma'am—no,  alas, I cannot stay, I must not dally; duty calls, there are water pipes to be repaired at the  old orphanage —but alas,  writer's block unreasonably prevents the reasonable assembly of words.   Being  bears for punishment and reality, we have remained writers, so we start over, numbly rewrite, over,  over, and over; we must persist.

The trash can overflows, thought streaming, mind screaming,  the tap works, the bikini-clad nymph  objects tearfully to our parting, please come back after you rescue the waifs, my handsome plumber-man, your dinner can wait... as  the team spirit lags, disillusion swells, but we slog on.

Put them together,  Jack, the words, the 'what ifs',  no matter how long it takes; writer's block conspires like nameless, stony-faced three-dimensional chessmen to halt imagination and  word play; perhaps they delight in turning us into three-dimensional  Scrabblephobes with blank faces, blank spaces in every direction offering cobbled, unlikely words,  and tiny, annoying page numbers keeping score.  Motion ceases; writer's blocks prevent even the most diminutive  progress at times. We go screen-blind,cursor-numb  wordless, even  under the abated breath —and wonder why?

Challenging Writer's Block

We're going big time here, challenging writer's block, the bane of the writing universe, many variations of which affect all bloggers,  scribblers, poetic persons short storytellers, and writers of all genres. The block. 

What has it become, discovery of the most stubborn?  The muse leading a rebellion;  a refusal to cooperate with reluctant writers as creativity disappears on vacation to dally in sand, watch clouds, listen to pick-up-sticks chatter,  plant the garden, cut tall grass, and do the mundane, —the most mundane work possible, picking up stones, sticks, piling blocks.  Blocks. I blink.

It happens to everyone at one time or the other. Another angle. New. Better.        I see the blinking cursor, the blank screen, a pile of blocks, free of letters, words, sentences and paragraphs. Writer's blocks. Waiting to be filled in and re-piled.     I laugh.  Let the kid knock them down.   Writer's blocks are a joke. We persist.   Tomorrow is another day. You'll see.

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Is that Incoming I hear?

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Posted in Life, Reflections, Uncategorized, Writing Life | Tagged , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Writing Life: A Unique Writing Voice

©2015 by Raymond Alexander Kukkee   [caption id="attachment_708" align="aligncenter" width="300"]The Writer The Writer[/caption]

Should you Fight to Develop and Keep YOUR Writing Voice Unique?

 
 " If it doesn't resonate from someplace deep inside of you, there's no way to fake it and ultimately the writing will be bad."                                         Rosemary Roberts    
The curious and eternal subject of 'writing voice' came up a short time ago when I was fortunate enough to be personally  interviewed by Christy D Birmingham  (Poetic Parfait,  Talk time With Raymond Alexander Kukkee Feb 2015.)  That's for the record.   I have always believed that every writer should speak for themselves, be themselves, and  fight to develop and keep their own writing voice. Keep it unique.  If you're just starting out, a writing newbie, don't copy the style and voice of other writers, blah blah... develop your own, learn by reading, watching professionals, etc,   Another 'rule'.  ( It has always seemed to me there are more rules than thoughts about writing properly if one is to become successful, some are questionable and arbitrary, but if you follow any rules, this is likely one of the better ones.) In our discussion and interview,  Christyb  asked me for "advice for newbies".   As writers we instinctively know there's nothing more entertaining than a clever interviewer asking (a scribbler and doodler) a writer to  offer  advice to newbies, is there ? Everybody loves giving advice, it's a sure-fire interview question, and we rose to the bait challenge. We're always full of advice even if we don't follow it ourselves at times.                        (er... No smartassed comments required ) Not to be outdone, and in return for an extra ice cream sandwich,  I offered some advice, this and that.  Part of it, if I recall correctly,  was that 'it’s important to learn to accept criticism, and to  not allow anyone to destroy your writing voice by suggestion, inference or  disparaging remarks. That’s really important."      I 'll repeat that... Among other things, I told her "  I think it’s important to learn to accept criticism, and do not allow anyone to destroy your writing voice by suggestion, inference or  disparaging remarks. That’s really important."  Uh, huh...haha I found it. And quoted it. Accurately.  For the record.  Christyb smiled and  wrote it down, and surprisingly,  some of it, the part about 'writing voice'   seemed to hit a chord with at least one of my loyal readers, one Rosemary Roberts, a California writer and published author.   Rosemary commented kindly on my interview and had a lot to  say about 'writer's voice' —and imagine that, her words rang a bell.  The following comments are her own words:

Raymond, this was a great interview. I love that you encourage people to find their own voice and not abandon it. Far too often new writers try to follow someone's successful or recognized style ...more so thinking, "Oh, they write correctly" and then find out it's not only impossible, but an incredibly empty feat emotionally. If it doesn't resonate from someplace deep inside of you, there's no way to fake it and ultimately the writing will be bad.

  I learned this with the first piece I ever had published -- began after a long and devastating day in the ER I worked as a thank you to my co-workers for helping each other (and me) survive it. At some point it turned more so into an essay and the hospital wanted to print it in their newsletter instead of me just pinning it up in the ER. I got busy writing to put it on a floppy disc (remember those, lol ), and mind you, I never thought I could actually take my writing anywhere professionally because I lacked the formal education.

 I had my best friend come that evening to proof read it for any errors (I was a nervous wreck) and she literally red-lined almost all of it. I was devastated. "This is too deep ...nope, too sad ...nope, don't think the doc will want you to mention him." She gutted every emotional aspect, every picture created of the atmosphere and actions, telling me ...again, "Remember, I've got college English. I know these things and you simply don't." She finally left me to rewrite the piece minus anything actually 'me' found in it.

 As tears just flooded my face onto the keyboard I finally said,                " F*** it. This is NOT how I write and anyone who doesn't like how I write can just not read it. This isn't me and is nothing close to what I had to say." I rewrote the entire piece as it was and turned it in.

Several days later it was not only published at my large hospital, but regionally for 7 hospitals. It was read that day at the President's monthly meeting that just happened to be at our hospital that month. Suddenly all the nurses I worked with had copies and thanked me profusely for capturing the emotion of that day. The ER doc showed me his briefcase, filled with about 2 doz copies and also thanked me for being the first to ever recognize how it feels to be the physician in such circumstances. He was very touched by the whole thing. And lastly, that day and for the next week, CEO's of all the hospitals, not just mine, came to my ER, along with top nuns in Catholic Healthcare West and of course, many of the physician department heads that knew me, all to thank me and praise the piece.

 Everyone had their favorite bits and of course, they were all the parts that my best friend -- the college English grad -- had told me to remove. Every CEO, physician and other admin heads, as well as all my co-workers asked me the same thing, "What are you doing here? You're a writer!"  

Then the head of Chaplin Services came by one day. She told me that her husband, now passed, was the head of the English Dept at Sacramento State University (same school my friend attended) and that in fact, the English Wing bears his name. Each year she, along with other board members, read submitted essays and choose 3 for the English Masters Degree program. She told me my essay rivaled any she had ever read for that program. It was on this day that I decided:  1) I AM a writer, and 2) nobody would ever dictate my style or voice again. Never.  

* *

Surprise!  If you write at all, like Rosemary Roberts—you ARE a writer regardless of your experience, skill level, education, or the opinion of others. Yes, you may have to work harder for success,  but  you are  a unique individual who deserves a unique writing voice,  one worth fighting for —like Rosemary's. Dear readers,  Wow!!  See what happens?  A defining moment that changed  a writer's life forever.  If Rosemary's story doesn't convince you that YOUR writing voice may be worth developing and fighting for, nothing will.  Thank you, Rosemary!  # Is that Incoming I hear?  

About Rosemary Roberts:

*An in-depth Interview, coming soon!  : [caption id="attachment_3193" align="alignleft" width="135"]Rosemary Roberts Rosemary Roberts[/caption]   A freelance writer first published in 1993, the self-proclaimed "Queen of all things slightly sassy" Rosemary Roberts, thrives from the northern California foothills, is a published book author and the founder of Girl On Point, Inc., a creative services firm specializing in custom content for educational, advertising/marketing and public relations efforts.        
Posted in Interviews & People, Reflections, Writing Life | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments