Writing and Bouldering: Don’t Be Afraid To Jump! (#AuthorToolboxBlogHop)

January came on a high and ended with a giant bang! I wrote over 40K words and rocked out the most emotional chapter of my entire novel. I’m talking heart wrenching, punch to the gut, brought-my-own-dang-self-to-tears kind of emotion here. It was awesome!

I was on a total high, ready to keep grabbing my writing by the huevos, then February came and suddenly that huge spark I felt just…fizzled out. *insert sad trombone music*

Ack, what can you do? These things happen. *shrug*

I'm fine

But really, I am fine. I’ve been at this for nine years, I know how the story goes. I write, go at it really hard, exhaust myself physically and emotionally, then I need a little break before my next big boost of inspiration comes. It always comes.

In the meantime, I’ve been trying to focus on all the little things that will help me get back on track: Taking care of myself, eating right, exercising, reading and binging interior design shows on Netflix – which may not exactly help me with writing per se, but it’s given me a ton of ideas for some upcycling projects I want to do this summer, so just leave me alone, okay?

By now you’re probably wondering aloud to yourself, “But Brigitte, what the fork does any of this have to do with the title of this blog?”

I’m so glad you asked! The answer? It doesn’t really. I’ve just been blabbing.

Well, that’s not entirely true. There is kind of a point to all this. You see, while I was dealing with this annoying “down time”, struggling to come up with some decent ideas for this blog post, I ended up reflecting on one particularly positive thing I did this month that not only really pulled me out of my comfort zone, but also taught me a valuable lesson about writing:

DON’T BE AFRAID TO JUMP!

So, without further ado, I’m going to jump right in!

I went Bouldering!

Oh Em Gee, you guys, I went bouldering last week. Thirty seven years old with gray hairs and I can still climb walls! Booya! Take THAT, aging!

For those of you who aren’t familiar with bouldering, it’s a climbing sport where you bravely (or stupidly) monkey your way up a wonky wall studded with different colored rocks, without a harness. No ropes, no clips, no support whatsoever. It’s just you, the wall and gravity, my friend. The color of the rocks represents different climbing paths of varying difficulty levels, and the goal — duh— is to make it to the top.

Mitch and some of his friends have been bouldering every week since the beginning of December. Boulder Buds, they call themselves. Cute, right? So cute, in fact, that I decided to invite myself along one evening and it wasn’t until I cockily made it to the top of the wall on my very first try that I realized the other thing about bouldering is getting down.

There I was, dangling at the top with Mitch calling up to me, “It’s okay, Brig, let go! Jump!”

Now, let’s be clear here. The whole thing is fairly safe. The walls aren’t that high and there are giant mats at the bottom of walls with lots of cushioning to break the fall. But I just couldn’t let go. It felt like I was a hundred feet up, my heart was racing, sweat beads collected on my forehead…So like a total wuss, I shakily climbed back down the wall and only jumped once I was a few feet from the mat.

How anticlimactic.

This pattern kept repeating itself all evening. I’d get to the top, be encouraged to jump (You can do it, Brig!), only to chicken out and awkwardly do the climb-of-shame back down again. Not only was I super annoyed with myself, but the constant climbing down also tired out my muscles more than necessary which reduced the amount of climbing I could do. Boo!

My fear of jumping kept me from accomplishing more than I did.

So how does this relate to writing, you ask? Well…

It's a metaphore

Why am I so into GIFs today? Anyway…

Writer’s block is most often based on fear. Fear of failure, fear of criticism, fear of rejection, fear of mediocrity and, believe it or not, fear of success. Often, these fears can paralyze us creatively, just as my fear of heights paralyzed me at the top of that bloody wall.

The lesson here is that I need to be more brave when it comes to my writing. I need to trust the mats and remember to JUMP! It’s not really that high up, after all. So, instead of putting so much pressure on myself and going into it with an “all or nothing” attitude, I need to try approaching it with an “all or something” mindset.

 

I’m going to go bouldering again. And when I do, I’m going to jump.

person jumping on seashore during golden hour

Do you get writer’s block? If so, what’s the main thing that holds you back and what is your best trick to wrestle your way out of it? Leave a comment below!

I wrote this post as part of the monthly #AuthorToolboxBlogHop. To continue hopping through to other great blogs (and I highly recommend you do) or to join as  a fellow writer, click here.

12 thoughts on “Writing and Bouldering: Don’t Be Afraid To Jump! (#AuthorToolboxBlogHop)

  1. J.Q. Rose says:

    I had not heard that term, bouldering. I have heard of writer’s block, but never experienced a severe case of it. Enjoyed your analogy. You’re wise to take a break from writing. No sense beating yourself up over it. Move on. When I’m stuck I often do free writing and just start writing with no planning. It’s crazy where my mind takes me–start with a recipe and end up writing about kids or interior decorating!! Love your voice in this blog! Thanks for stopping in at my blog–sorry I am so late with a response to yours.
    JQ Rose

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ronel Janse van Vuuren says:

    I’m not a fan of heights, so bouldering isn’t for me 😉 Great analogy, though.

    Sometimes taking a break from writing is exactly what you need to get back into it — I took a break at the end of last year and now I’m back on track with my writing goals.

    Ronel catching up for Feb Author Toolbox day Adding BookBub to Your Author Toolbox

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Merry says:

    Writing 40k words in a month is INSANELY good, well done you!

    And burnout is probably a natural result of that immense output, so well done you for giving yourself a break and taking a leap into something new! You’re a total badass!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. S.E. White says:

    I really needed this post this month, thank you. I’m querying another book and every. single. email. I have to fight back the urge to just delete it and forget everything because I’m so afraid of hearing more constant ‘no’. I need to just let go and jump!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Elliot Chan says:

    I love that you compared writing to a sport. What stops me from writing is often comparison… as in “I’ll never be as good as ______, why bother!” But when it comes to sports, I don’t approach it that way, I just go out and do, not thinking that — hey! I’m going to go pro or win an award or whatever! Writing, at the core, should be for personal enjoyment and self-improvement.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Meka James says:

    Oh wow! I’m not sure I could do that, even being indoors but kudos for going. Letting go and jumping is scary, but we can’t let it continue to stop us. Hope you get more inspiration and words in Feb. and enjoy your next outing!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Rhonda Gilmour writing romance as Sadira Stone says:

    Great post! I totally felt your fear of the big leap as you clung to the top of that wall.
    I don’t get writer’s block, but I do hit spots–usually in the middle of a manuscript–where pushing the story forward feels like slogging through mud. You know, the thick, hungry kind that pulls your boots off. The only solution I know is to keep on writing, knowing that I can carve away the useless bits once I reach the end.

    Liked by 2 people

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