'Ask Jen' is a free Q&A service which allows anyone in need to ask for advice. Once a week, Jen will respond to a new question and post it on the 'Ask Jen' section of the site.
Dear Jen, Sh*t has hit the fan. I don’t know if I’m going to be able to reach my deadline and I feel scared, anxious and totally uncreative. On top of that, a lot of personal issues are coming up in my life that are making it hard to concentrate. Any suggestions? -- Lost and Lonely Writer
Dearest Lost and Lonely Writer,
It’s always so hard to feel creative inside of moments of bad emotional weather, so just acknowledge that it makes sense that there’s a lot of energy from current circumstances getting in the way of your creative process, just like rain when you’re supposed to have a birthday party outside in the park. Plan B is to find a shelter from the storm, discover some candles to light up the space, and make something special out of the moment you have found yourself in. That’s how it works in every great story anyway. Plan B always works.
What if you didn’t take action in moments when you feel really bad or uninspired, but did something else that soothes you back into feeling more connected with yourself?I suggest that you first'wring out the sponge’ as my own mentor, Marsha Sheldon,says. Write down all the thoughts and feelings of the parts of you in resistance to moving forward (for whatever reason). Afterwards, ask yourself how you would feel if the circumstances making those parts feel bad were gone?What would it feel like if you had just been given permission to dive into the project or task in front of you and be fully present and creative, as if told you could not fail?Would you feel hopeful? Trusting? Excited? Comforted? Ready? Come up with a declarative statement about how you would LIKE to respond to this situation regardless of current circumstances. Then try writing from that place. And if that still doesn’t work, then I encourage you to make your objectives smaller. Choose one small thing you can do. One paragraph to work on. Or one scene. And make the goal smaller and easier to accomplish. That way it’s not so overwhelming. One step is front of the other. That’s how it all happens. Just one step is all that it takes.