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Author Topic: Feeling Suppressed
Blake T
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Hello everyone!

Ever since college started up in the fall I've been really busy with my programming and my other homework that unfortunately I have not found (more likely made) time to write. I am trying to get back into it and for some reason I'm feeling foggy. Over the summer I felt creative and writing flowed easily, but now it seems that I'm trying desperately to see something through a fog that I cannot see through.

I refuse to use writers block as an excuse, I feel that falling back on a crutch like that is somewhat limiting. So I was wondering what you all use as a catalyst to get your creative juices flowing again, or if you have any pointers for getting back into this wonderful game that is writing.

Thank you everyone for taking the time to read this and for your consideration on giving me much valued advice!

Blake

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Denevius
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quote:
Ever since college started up in the fall
It's funny, in Asia school starts in March and ends in December. Strange now to read the exact opposite in your post. What was once normal has become foreign.

quote:
So I was wondering what you all use as a catalyst to get your creative juices flowing again, or if you have any pointers for getting back into this wonderful game that is writing.
I actually do remember a similar problem in my 20s. There's different suggestions depending on circumstance and context, but this is one strategy that worked for me once upon a time.

Take this post of yours today. Take every post or comment you've written in social media or comment forums in the last 30 days. Now, for the next 30 days, every time you get an itch to spill your thoughts out on the internet, in whatever form, sit down and write part of a story instead.

Cut yourself off completely from expressing yourself in written words (excluding school work, of course), and focus it all on fiction. Most people don't realize that they waste novels on the internet writing words that add up to nothing.

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wetwilly
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Write every day for a specified amount of time. This should hopefully get your brain in the habit of spitting out creativity and ideas. Works for me, anyway. During the school year, I can only commit to 30 minutes per day, but when I make sure to get those 30 minutes in, my brain stays in creative mode.
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MJNL
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To go along with what wetwilly said, I think itís all about routine. Try to be consistent when you write--same time of day, same place, same snacks/drinks, same equipment. The more you can get your muscle memory to recognize writing time, the more natural it should feel getting the words on the page.
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Robert Nowall
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My routines never seem to last long, but when I do write something every day, it does seem better.
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extrinsic
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If you're making an effort, I'm not questioning that you are or aren't, at college, then you're under a heavy mental workload. The workload demands more mental focus and cognitive code switching than might seem to be going on consciously. Cognitive code switching happens from subject to subject and teaching method and learning type.

Social sciences require different cognition than physical sciences and math, depending on degree of subjectivity and objectivity. History, art, English, philosphy, religion, ethics, each requires its own compartmentalized cognitive processes. Business and computer coursework, and so on.

Visual instruction learning uses different cognitive processes than aural, tactile, kinesthetic processes. Most college coursework uses multisensory learning media, more so and more rapid fire than previous learning experiences. Switching codes happen in most students rapidly, faster in instructors, yet time lags happen too.

Creative cognitive processes are generally not called on in college coursework. When they are, confusion builds. On the other hand, creative yet substantiated creativity is encouraged by enlightened instructors. Basic studies courses, though, are mass culture courses that tend toward uniformity of subject matter and limit participatory creative involment. In short, little deviation from a prescribed lesson plan and objectively testable response expectations.

All in all, the creative cognitive processes are underemphasized in college. A creative routine is difficult to develop. Focused studies, activities of daily living, and social activities demand most of cognitive capacities. Frequent, demanding cognitive code switching demands cause cognition overload. The creative cognition switch gets neglected and jammed up.

Keeping creative cognition channels open means mental composition, doodling, daydreaming, letting the subconscious mind play and correspond unreined with the conscious mind in free moments and when cognition overloads cause mental stalls. Take a moment now and then to "smell the roses," "live in the moment," and just let sensory stimulation free associate. Or, on the other hand, mentally, critically, craftily, and artfully compose how a moment's external and internal stimulations might be adapted to written word expression.

Take creative writing workshop coursework, too. Nothing like short story fiction, creative nonfiction essay, poetry, script writing, and workshop response deadline pressures to develop creative cognition processes and creative writing disciplines.

[ December 12, 2013, 04:08 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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Denevius
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quote:
Creative cognitive processes are generally not called on in college coursework.
This is pretty funny, but usually true. It's why I've always hated school, and now that I teach, attempt to be a different sort of instructor while at the same time not being flighty and useless to the actual goal of the classroom: education. For as much as I disliked those professors who just stood in front of the podium lecturing, did I also have little patience for the ex-hippy teachers who lacked any sort of structure in the classroom in their attempts to be creative and cool.
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MattLeo
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I go through this every year; in the spring and summer prose just gushes. Surprising stuff seems to come out of nowhere. Around November I start to dry up. I can sit down to write but all I end up doing is nudging the characters around on the stage; they don't come to life for me. I try to plot things out, but what comes out just seems like arbitrary rambling. I can still do critique, and it's a good time for cutting stuff out of old MSS.

This has been true in my professional life too; creativity dries up for me in the winter; I'm still A-OK on analytical stuff; I can still solve business problems, handle straightforward proposals, negotiate contracts and the like. But creatively I'm just coasting from December through March. It's been like clockwork **for decades now**. Seven months of creativity followed by five dry months during which I can be clever if I want to, but not creative no matter how hard I try.

This year I'm going to try to break through the winter slump with some pre-writing exercises. If it works I'll let you know.

[ December 12, 2013, 08:58 PM: Message edited by: MattLeo ]

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Blake T
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Thank you everyone! The cognitive switching makes a lot of sense, I'm learning a few computer languages right now as well as finishing up some GE credit in biology and chemistry. I can see how that would play with one's creativity.

MattLeo I feel the same way I can sit and force something out, which I did for around 1600 words before posting here, but it lacked spirit and just seemed to be moving a character rather than a story.

I like the idea of making a routine, it seems like a good way to prime one's brain and body to be ready to write everyday at a particular time. I think that coupled with eliminating social media and other written forms of expression on the computer that doesn't pertain to what I'm doing creatively.

Thanks again everyone, this really helps!

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Pyre Dynasty
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Don't forget exercise. A lot of people when they get rolling in college they stop taking care of themselves and their activity level drops. Also make sure you are getting enough sun and nutrition.

Last year I had a bit of a freakout. I couldn't write anything, even papers for class. I was flat out sick of school, and I was angry at it for robbing me of my creativity. It got to the point where I was lying on the couch crying instead of going to class. So I took a semester off, and then the next one took a poetry class (and nothing else.) I had to take a step back and gain some perspective. Now I'm writing again, even if it is just stolen moments on work breaks.

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ForlornShadow
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I'm in the same boat, what I do to get out of it is read others work. It jump starts my brain into thinking about other worlds and characters and I eventually I start thinking about my own and I am able to write again easily. During the school year when I can't really 'write' I still think about my characters when I'm on a break or in between classes just so that I don't forget them, even if its just for a moment.
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