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This is great advice for the whirlpool (what I call my brain when it panic-loops over "I don't know what to write and that means I will never write").

And thank you for the Tracee Ellis Ross quote! Cooking is that for me as well; something practical and nourishing that I can just *do* and give myself the space to.

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The whirlpool is such a good name for that loop. I know it well!

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Jan 17, 2023·edited Jan 17, 2023Liked by Katie Hawkins-Gaar

When I struggle with writing and I get stuck, I write book reviews, play reviews, tv show reviews, music reviews ... I delve into what I saw, read, experienced in the work and why I felt that way, what choices the author, director, actor made and how that affected me.

If I’ve not read or seen any production recently, I review the daily walk with my dog, what I made for dinner, etc. Heck, you can even analyze packaging on a food item! There’s always something to describe, review, analyze. Stuff flows eventually from that.

It works for me. And it gives authors reviews.. (and in my most recent case, a local theater and my mail carrier a boost... Namen is my USPS carrier! I found out he was in a musical because I asked what he was listening to on his earbuds ... https://gerardmclean.com/some-say-dayton-was-transformed-into-a-tropical-island-on-a-cold-friday-night-f58d53848bc )

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Jan 17, 2023Liked by Katie Hawkins-Gaar

This is really excellent advice!

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Brilliant! I love that. And now I want to read a review of one of your walks with the dog!

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😀 The really good stuff ends up in my journal and there is a reason god made dogs so they can’t talk, but their hearing is awesome 😬 The other stuff ends up as Instagram captions and sometimes stuff ends up as full-blown stories! But it would make for an interesting book project, if only I had started it years ago... (my dog Zoey is the last of a pack of 3-4, going on 14 and slowing down a lot. I’m not sure my thoughts on dog walks these days would be uplifting enough... anyway... )

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Jan 17, 2023Liked by Katie Hawkins-Gaar

You have NO idea how much I needed to hear this today. REALLY needed to hear it. Thank you for the reminder. And bravo to you for just DOING it. Your words matter. Every single time.

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That's so kind, Janet. Thank you!

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Thank you for this post. I could relate to all of it. I've been a "writer" all my life, but chastised myself for not doing more, while maybe the bottom line is letting myself off the hook for not always feeing inspire then feeling bad about myself and my abilities which only thickens the block!! Keep on keeping on!!

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Oh, I get this. Remembering to love myself versus chastise myself is an ongoing process!

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One thing that's been a helpful reminder lately, whether I'm beating myself up for something or feeling overwhelmed/anxious/insert negative emotion here—is that those feelings aren't productive. I stop and ask myself, "Is this panicked feeling sitting at a laptop and working on the project that's due in a couple days? Is me thinking about how I will feel if I accomplish a long-term goal actually doing anything to get me there?" Sometimes just putting it into that perspective, especially when I'm on that Automatic Negative Thought train, allows me to see through the overwhelm and helps me to regain control over my brain again.

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Great Post Katie. For not knowing what to write, you nailed it. Being a writer isn't as easy as some might think it would be. And you are right about some days writing comes fairly easy but then some days you get nothing. Even when I'm working on a fiction story, some days I just can't get my brain to put anything worth reading together. So, I guess that is a sign that I need to stop and refuel. Doing something outside is always a good refuel for me. The fresh air and sunshine recharges me to a certain point to where I can maybe pick up where I left off that day or wait until the next day. But either way, we have to remember to not be hard on ourselves because we didn't get something done when we expected ourselves to. We just continue on when our brain allows it. Take care Katie.

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Thank you, Pennie!

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Brilliant. And I am glad I’m not the only one who sometimes has literally nothing on the page when it’s down to the wire.  I think sometimes it takes me that long to get out of my own way, and let what wants to be written come through rather than what I think I want to write.  thank you for sharing this. This was really good.

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Thank you, Karen! ❤️

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Well, I too struggled this week even though I thought I knew the topic a week ago. And I just saw a poet on instagram post she’s had a hard time writing for a while. Maybe it’s a collective energy?

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There’s something in the air for sure! But I love how you turned it around, friend.

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I loved this. Thank you for writing and sharing. I've been struggling with just what you wrote about - comparing myself to others who I think have it all together/all figured out, particularly other writers, and this line really struck me: "Not knowing isn’t the problem. The problem lies in telling ourselves that everyone else knows what they’re doing." That's just it. That's what I need to see/read, and feel, and understand and really take in. And - the last part about just doing the work.

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I'm so glad it was helpful! xo

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Exactly what I needed to read, Katie - thank you!

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So glad to hear that!

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Oh, yes! Me, too! Sometimes I just got nothin'! And sometimes that's what I write about. Writers are not machines.

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Writers 👏 are 👏 not 👏 machines!

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Yessss to the not knowing keeping us "humble" and "curious." I appreciate when fellow writers share insight to their creative process, especially in vulnerable acknowledgement that they (also) don't have it all figured out. :) Thank you!

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Thanks for reading and commenting! ❤️

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Jan 18, 2023Liked by Katie Hawkins-Gaar

I was in the same situation as you and I have also just written a piece on "This Is What I Do When I Am Not Making Progress". Won't be publishing it so soon, but your piece resonates when I read it. So many things in common. Good work Katie.

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Thanks, Winston!

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Jan 18, 2023Liked by Katie Hawkins-Gaar

I faced just this issue when I sat down to write my most recent newsletter last week. I ended up writing some jumbled rumination on the nature of time--not my BEST, most coherent writing, but it was writing, and it still resonated with people. I like to keep a bank of links, quotes, and other ideas for when I'm stuck like this--it helps a lot, even though I usually end up winging it/writing about what's on my also over-active mind when I sit down to write the newsletter. Anyway, thanks for this peek behind the curtain!

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You are like the fifth person I’ve heard from that also hit writer’s block this week. I think there’s something to the mid-January slump!

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Jan 17, 2023Liked by Katie Hawkins-Gaar

Thanks for putting this all in one place, Katie! It's interesting how I can hear conventional wisdom like "unplug" again and again, but sometimes I hear it one more time at the right moment and it strikes differently.

I really love making the connection between kid phases and adult phases. Obviously kids have phases - it's easy to accept that - so my project is to transfer that acceptance over to myself.

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Thanks, Rae!

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