The Writing Engine

I’ve taken a writing break through the month of January. I can’t say it was entirely deliberate, but neither has it been negative. Between two weeks of viral infection, getting back up to speed with work and a flurry of preparations for the Writing Industries Conference, I have had to concede that writing would have to take a back seat until February.

For anyone who loves writing, any long period where you can’t find enough time or the right frame of mind to escape into your imagination can be deeply frustrating and even upsetting. I’ve found that when these times happen, as they do to everyone, you have to let your writing engine wind down at least a little little. As writers we develop an engine of determination that makes us sit down for hours at a time and capture our dreams in words. If the energy from that engine can’t be channelled, it builds up and spills out in disturbing ways. It can also turn into cycle of frustration, where the negative energy of not writing stops you writing which produces more negative energy and so on.

My solution (and I’m better at writing this than sticking to it) is to use periods like this as writing downtime. Sometimes you need to clear the decks of your imagination, throw out or at least put aside old ideas you have been meaning to write, and see what new material comes out. Periods when you are busy with other things can be good for clearing your mind completely, then you can come back to writing with a clean slate.

Fingers crossed it works out for me this time!


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Published by Damien Walter

Writer and storyteller. Contributor to The Guardian, Independent, BBC, Wired, Buzzfeed and Aeon magazine. Special forces librarian (retired). Teaches the Rhetoric of Story to over 35,000 students worldwide.

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