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Saturday, August 29, 2015

Keeping Your Passion High Through Your Project by Ronnie Allen

I write my novels out in public, by the pool at our country club, a good portion of the time. That's the way it’s been for the past four years. I can't count the number of times that people had come over to me to tell me they have an idea but don't know what to do with it. Or, they started a novel ten years ago and don't have the energy to complete it. Or, they have six unedited novels under their bed. Or they got three rejections and gave up. And the biggie is that they don't have time. Basically, what they're telling me is that they lost the passion for their work or their story. They hit a wall, also known as writer's block. That definitely can knock the spirit out of you.

I must tell you that in all my years of writing, from the late '70's to mid '90's in film and TV, and through 2010 when I wrote non-fiction articles in alternative healing and holistic health, to the present, now writing novels, I have never once hit writer's block. Why? I can honestly say it's because I had never lost the passion for the project on which I was working.

I've heard people say, “take a break,” “start something new.” To me that's not the answer. The longer the break, the more time away from the project, the less enthusiasm builds and the passion you once had, decreases. I'd advise writing in a different environment. If your creativity gets stumped cooped up in your office, breathing stale or recirculated air, go out into nature. Sit on your front porch. In the city, we'd call it a stoop. Remember those days? Go to the beach. I've written screenplays and TV scripts as well as non-fiction works sitting on the beach at Silver Gull Beach Club in Queens, New York. No beach? Write by a pool with the sun shining. Get out into the fresh air. Yes, even with the snow. Being in the open air is very cleansing on every level: spiritual, mental, physical, and emotional.

Why do I mention cleansing? Writer's block, losing passion for a project is an indication of blocked energy, a clogged system. When energy isn't flowing properly through our bodies we feel stuck. Stuck in moving forward. Stuck in tackling the day's chores. And stuck in writing. Our thoughts, feelings, and emotions that we want to get onto the paper are just not there. They can't come through to our consciousness. Picture a jeep getting stuck in mud and it can’t move unless pulled or pushed. Their wheels spin. Same thing with us, but it’s our brain that is stuck.

In my alternative healing practice, I teach people how to make the mind-body connection. So I'm going to ask you some questions so you can make your own connection. Focus on your breathing, inhaling and exhaling deeply as you sit comfortably in a chair and relax. What part of your body is feeling tight, in pain? Can you connect to what is causing you pain in your life? Practicing breathing techniques could be very cleansing. That's why we call it “cleansing breaths.”

Our solar plexus, which is underneath our bra line and above the belly, is our emotions center. Very often our writing is very emotional. Not feeling the emotions? Try eating a healthier diet. Losing fat in that area allows energy to flow more freely.

You can also detox from debris that is surrounding you in your aura. When we have debris, new thoughts, creative thoughts can't penetrate our energy fields. You know the expression, “I walked into a room and you could cut the air with a knife.” Well that air can glue to you. I use aromatherapy to cleanse my aura. Gardenia is perfect. You can get it in a shower gel. In the shower, meditate to remove the debris from your aura. Gardenia removes the toxic energy around you so that you don't get sick from someone else's energy. Carnation oil has the same effect.

I also use crystals and gemstones to keep the thoughts for my writing, coming. No, it’s not cheating. Sodalite is also known as the students’ stone and is wonderful for writers. Keep it near you on your desk. If you want to know about healing stones, and how you can use them in your writer’s life, feel free to ask me questions in the comments.

Those are some of my recommendations to keep the passion high for your project. The key is to make the emotional connection. I hope you find them helpful.

How do you keep your passion high through your project and avoid writer’s


Ronnie Allen is a New York City native, born and bred in Brooklyn, New York, where she was a teacher in the New York City Department of Education for 33 years including the obtaining of a New York State license as School Psychologist. Her various roles included classroom teacher, staff developer, crisis intervention specialist, and mentor for teachers who were struggling. Always an advocate for the child, Allen carries this through as a theme in her novel Gemini, with the reader seeing the horrors of child abuse through the eyes of three characters.

In the early 1990s she began a journey into holistic healing and alternative therapies and completed her PhD in Parapsychic Sciences in 2001.

Along the way, Allen has picked up many certifications. She is a Board Certified Holistic Health Practitioner as well as a crystal therapist, Reiki practitioner, metaphysician, dream analyst, and Tarot Master Instructor. She has taught workshops in New York City and in Central Florida where she now lives.

Combining a love of the crime genre and her psychology background, with her alternative therapies experiences, writing psychological thrillers is the perfect venue for her.


Jim Jackson said...

I agree that the better our physical shape, the easier it is to keep in mental shape. If you are stuck (in a novel, in a life) almost always the only way to get out is to try something new. For me, being outside often works. However, aromatherapy can engage different parts of you brain and might just do the trick.

~ Jim

Kait said...

Sodalite on the way. How perfect. I am rarely troubled by writer's block, I use aromatherapy on a daily basis, right now Aura Cacia's "Creative Juice" is in my diffuser. I have not tried writing outside though. What a wonderful thought.

KM Rockwood said...

Lots of good ideas for getting in touch with our inner voice. I'll have to try some.

I do go to a pool five or six times a week to swim, but I've never written there. Or at a beach. (I have visions of my laptop floating away and sinking.)

Writers block has not been a problem for me so far, although there are times when I have trouble concentrating and have to pull my mind back to the story I'm working on.

Good physical health is helpful, but I do find that writing is one of my important escapes when I'm not feeling well.

Margaret S. Hamilton said...

I grab two writing hours every afternoon on the screened porch, where the only distractions are birds nesting in the lilac bushes. Pure bliss.

Ronnie Allen said...

Thank you everyone for commenting. And thank you E.B. for giving me the opportunity to write a blog for Writers Who Kill. Crystals and healings stones, along with aromatherapy are part of my daily life, too. It's so nice to meet other writer who appreciate the wonders of nature to help our works. I couldn't figure out how to respond to each person individually.

Warren Bull said...

Thanks for sharing. Isn't it amazing how many ways there are to get back up on the horse that threw you?

Grace Topping said...

Thank you, Ronnie, for your tips. It's a good reminder that I need to do more natural things to help my writing.

It is amazing how refreshed we can be after a walk in nature. I just read an article today in "Parade" magazine about people who hike the Appalachian Trail. They talk about how they have life changing experiences from their hike. In fact, many veterans returning from Afghanistan are hiking the trail, hoping to gain perspective, and an organization has been established to provide them with the equipment they need. We don't have to hike the Appalachian Trail to become invigorated. A simple walk in the nature around us will help immensely.

Ronnie Allen said...

Absolutely, Grace. The tree and grass faeries are on our side. The universe has a wonderful way of giving us the clarity and focus we need. Being out in the sun invigorates me. On the opposite side the rainy weather gets me down but it doesn't affect my writing. I'll write outside in the rain, under cover of course. I love that veterans are doing this and they're used to battling the elements. Thanks for mentioning that article.

Kara Cerise said...

Thank you for the good ideas, Ronnie. I like to bring nature inside especially during the winter months. I have a fish tank/fountain in my writing area, an amethyst paperweight (not sure if that stone is helpful to writers) on my desk, and sometimes flowers in a vase.

Ronnie Allen said...

Yes Kara, being around fish is very calming. You're on target with the amethyst especially if you want to increase psychic awareness so that your writing will feel as if you're channeling it through your characters. It's wonderful to get in deep POV.

Gloria Alden said...

Ronnie, I never have writer's block. Sometimes I need to work through a problem, but it's not because I have writer's block so much as maybe turning things around a little like the time I started out knowing my murderer and then decided I liked him too much to make him a killer and had to settle on someone else. You have some good ideas I'll consider if I ever do get writer's block.

As for me, I write best in my library. However I do walk almost every morning in the woods with my collie - weather permitting, of course. And I spend time in my gardens in the season weeding or planting, too. Walking in the woods or working in my gardens helps my muse. As for the Appalachian Trail, Grace mentioned, a sister and I started hiking sections of it in the Shenandoah area when I was sixty and she was 7 years younger. We took three of her teenagers on that first trip. We spent 4 or 5 days hiking sections of it over the years, and it was a great experience. We did other trails, too. Almost all my vacations over the years have been camping vacations in forests. I feel a special bond with trees.

Ronnie Allen said...

Hi Gloria! I know about liking your antagonists too much. But that works bc creating a sympathetic antagonist is what makes the character real. We want them to have depth and a solid reason to understand why they killed. I believe that three dimensional portrayal is what keeps the reader turning pages, as one thing. In my first novel my killer was so non compassionately violent, the readers still love her but I had to kill her in the end. In my second novel, coming out this winter, I created a killer that I know for sure my readers won't want me to kill her and I don't. A library with awesome books around you is great to stimulate creativity. One just has to look inside themselves to find what works.