Monday, 24 June 2013

Stress Bubbles

Confession time: writing got off to a very slooooooow start for me this week. And by this week I mean since Wednesday when I posted my latest Ready. Set. WRITE! goals. On the first two days, I stared at my stupid laptop screen for hours while inspiration played hide-and-seek with my brain. I puttered away at one particular scene, hated what I wrote, revised it so the direction was back on track, then puttered some more.  It felt like I was getting nowhere. By Friday evening, I was ready to punt my laptop through the living room window and put my story notes through the paper shredder. So frustrating!

There were also too many distractions to deal with, like my cat trying to eat the plastic packing inside of a cardboard box that was sitting in our foyer. Noisy and gross. When I fished her out of the box, I discovered the answer to my frustration problem: giant bubble wrap. Do you ever sit there and pop bubble wrap just for kicks? There's something very therapeutic about it. Like the snap of each bubble is deflating just a teensy bit of tension.

So long story short, my son and I each grabbed some and then jumped and danced and whooped and hollered on the giant bubbles. It was loud and wacky and lots of fun. I'm sure the neighbours thought we were firing machine guns in our house. By the time, the bubbles were all stomped, I felt a whole lot better.

And then I sat down and poured out 1700 words.

Sometimes writing gets me wound up into a tight, little ball of stress. Don't get me wrong, I love it. But there are days when that word count goal seems like an unslayable monster, or my eyes glaze over from the glare of the blank laptop screen, or my characters stand there and give me one huge collective raspberry. That's when I need to step away, blow off some steam, and reset my brain. This time yelling like a maniac and busting bubble wrap with my toes did the trick. I'm not sure what will shake all those words loose next time, but I know for certain I'll need to find something to set them free.



So am I the only crazy one around here, or have you done anything on the bizarre side when the words won't cooperate? How do you deal with writerly frustrations? I'd love to know, even if your method of coping is slightly more normal than mine. Hey, don't knock it till you've tried it! :)

18 comments:

  1. ...I don't have a great method like you, but I'm preeeetty sure I just stole your idea, wheeeeee!

    Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Steal away! I think I need to have a supply of bubble wrap on hand for the next time I face writer's block :P

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  2. I used to work at a newspaper and one of the reporters LOVED to pop bubble wrap. Every once in awhile, I'd hear this quiet little "pop...pop...pop" from his desk. I've been known to do it a few times myself - it's very satisfying :)

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    1. Ha ha! That's too funny! They should suggest this for dealing with stress in the workplace :)

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  3. That sounds really fun! Sounds like you should keep extra bubble wrap on hand, just in case. :) 1700 words in one sitting is amazing!

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    1. I should definitely have a supply of it stashed away for the next time I get writer's block. Not sure if it'll work again, but it might be worth a try! :)

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  4. I know that stress ball and writing frustration all too well, but the bubble wrap idea is a great way to get inspiration!
    I will often turn to baking or going to the gym. Or when i'm supposed to be doing something else (like work) the ideas will start to flow!

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    1. Isn't that always the case? Whenever you can't write, that's when inspiration chooses to hit. Baking or going to the gym sound like great ways to unwind from the writing stress. :)

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  5. Bubble wrap sounds good :D Sometimes, when it gets too much, I either turn to my piano, watch something silly or scream. The screaming might be disruptive to my neighbors though :P

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    1. Oh and WOW on your word count!

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  6. You're rocking your word count, lady! When the words aren't coming for me, I usually try to do something creative, something that has nothing to do with writing. Usually that involves an art project with my girl, like chalking outside. Or, I bake or run, both of which let my mind wander. Next time those things don't work, though, I'll definitely give bubble wrap a try. :-)

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    1. It sure didn't feel like I was going to at the start of the week, so I was relieved to finally build up some momentum. Like you said, I think a complete switch in gears is a great idea, otherwise it's too easy to let the frustration get bigger and bigger. I really should hop on the treadmill next time my brain won't cooperate. You know, when I run out of bubble wrap. :P

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  7. We do need to reset our brains. I love bubble wrap. I wish I had more around.

    Happy writing.

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    1. I'm having to reset my brain more and more these days. One of these days, it's just gonna fizzle out for good. :P

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  8. Right??? It's so strange how it sometimes just happens and then... doesn't. And LOL to the bubble comment! Love those little things... You keep pushing, Erin. You're doing AMAZING.

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    1. I find you can be as motivated as you want, but if the creative juices aren't flowing that day it can be slow and horrible torture trying to work up any kind of momentum. I think in this case I just needed to get up and go crazy for a while after sitting for so long. Thanks for the encouragement, Morgan! It does far more than bubble wrap for my motivation! :)

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  9. He he, my friend and I did this bubble wrap dance at work once and our boss came in and found us. Fortunately, he had a sense of humour!
    I find taking some time away from the screen, doing something fun and mindless is great for getting me back on the writing track.

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    1. I'm so glad I'm not the only one who's crazy enough to dance on bubble wrap! It really was a lot of fun! :)

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