WRITING: That Listless Feeling…

My biggest impediment to  is not writer’s block. With writer’s bl0ck, I am quickly learning that there are often strategies to fight it. For example, in writing a script earlier this week, exploring the why of my writer’s block led me to add a scene to the script that it turns out was sorely needed, which led to me progressing at great speed. More frustrating than being stopped on a specific piece of writing is a feeling that often interrupts my life for hours or days at a time, forcing me to wade through a life with no spark: ennui.

It’s that feeling that often masquerades as boredom, but there’s something more vicious about this pest: it removes all colour or interest from any task you might want to pursue, forcing you to go through the motions with whatever you may decide to accomplish. Ennui is like being bored and tired and hopeless all at once, and seemingly has no cause. It won’t prevent you from living your life, but creative ventures seem hopeless, and it can even get in the way of enjoying fun fluff activities like video games or watching TV. It will settle on you out of nowhere, and the only cure I’ve found it to fight through it and try a thousand different tasks, until one helps break through the fog.

Often, it will fade on its own. Your eyes will catch the sparkle in a character’s dialogue, or a swoonworthy scene idea, and the fog will lift. I do not know whether these moments are the key to defeating it, or merely the first sign it has decided to leave of its own volition.

It sucks. But it’s a reminder that the creative act is something akin to magic. We can’t ever take it for granted. Because what would we do with ourselves if it left and never came back?

4 responses to “WRITING: That Listless Feeling…

  1. ironbunny February 14, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    I’m stuck in a vortex of ennui right now and it is the worst.

    • R. Lackie February 14, 2012 at 8:40 pm

      Me too, in fact! Writing this post was one strategy for getting out of it. Just keep fighting, seeking out things that might spark your imagination, and eventually it will let go… Or so goes my theory!

  2. Sapi February 17, 2012 at 1:42 am

    Oh, so THIS is what sits on my chest every morning when I wake up, and cease to GET up. 😛 Ennui. It sounds like the French translation for of/within night (en nuit), which tends to make sense. It could be that this is a seed of depression, but it also might be a necessary experience of the creator. “What would we do with ourselves if [creativity] left and never came back?” I was thinking this very thing earlier tonight. It makes me feel as if maybe it isn’t so wise to put off our artistic vision until we are more appropriately “seasoned” or experienced, because it might just be that by “then”, we may have gained the knowledge but lost the ambition to create as we do now, or as we used to.
    That sounds wholesomely depressing but, I guess the point is to stay focused and fight it like you do, and here’s to it lifting from you, perhaps even one day enlightening us as to why ennui exists in the first place.

  3. Pingback: WRITING: The Creative Process vs. The Creative Funk « The Diversionist

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