Water well’s run dry for many reasons:  overuse, poor structure, careless use, obstruction, and drought are a few.  When the water well runs dry we call a professional to come and fix.  Water, after all is life.  We cannot do without it.

Some of the same problems can happen to that well of words we draw on to write our stories and tell our tales.  And words, the flow of them onto monitor or paper, onto whatever medium we use, is life for the writer.  We cannot continue to exist without that flow.  When the words start to stutter, to hesitate, to refuse to drop onto that blank page in our minds we seldom think to call a profession.  We may try to ignore the problem or more likely try to fix ourselves--write in a different place, write on another topic.  Then I hear, think, or say “write” and I sigh.  The sigh summons distractions easily latched onto and I avoid facing the problem.  But sooner or later, a I come face to face with that blank unyielding page.  But the page isn’t really blank.  Let’s look at mine.  The words aren’t listed in any sort of order.  I just wrote word associations after thinking about why my well went dry and how to refill it.  

Schedule.  There are only so many minutes in an hour, hours in a day.  At times I have scheduled almost every one of those and not with writing activities.  My fix for this one is to evaluate my priorities, and writing isn’t the only one on the list.  One of the most important items is often not on any of our priority lists and that is SELF.  A worn out, over-worked, ill-fed, poorly rested person will have difficulty writing--or more succinctly, cannot write well.

Goals:  How long would the Jews have wandered in the desert if they hadn’t been headed to the Promised Land?  Probably more than forty years.  I do not have that kind of time.  Success breeds success just as failure does the opposite.  When I’m stuck writing I start with a tiny, cannot fail goal and work my way up to larger ones.  A goal gives a target and I’m always more libel to reach it if I have one than if I don’t.

Nurture/Freedom:  These two are parts of many of the other.  For example, one of the best ways to nurture your writing is to read and read a lot.  Take time to do that, to marvel at other author’s, to let their enthusiasm renew yours.   Or give yourself the freedom to cultivate your writing by not writing.  Take some time to let go.  Any repetitive act makes one weary; a forced repetitive act leads to dead ends.  Not that there isn’t a time to push through no matter what but that is for another blog.

Stimulate/Relax:  Again this is bound with others and it’s also a two-head coin--one  where you won’t lose the toss.  Many things can stimulate but also relax.  A visit to the art gallery, a day of browse shopping, a favorite restaurant with favorite friends, travel.  “Travel?”  You read that and think, I wish or Get real.  No time, no money--go on a YouTube trip.  Browse YouTube inspirational videos--here are just three I find refreshing:

Create/Fun:  Bake a decadent cake.  Color a mural with a child.  Play hopscotch or run through a fountain.  Write a limerick, a pun, an impromptu paragraph about bats in the belfry.  Arrange flowers, quilt, sew, crochet.  Lay back, close your eyes and dream.  Think of the most carefree, non productive activity you can conjure and do it.  Just do it.

Reward:  All of the above have rewards built in by their nature.  They may or may not be directly writing related but anything that renews the spirit, refreshes the soul, and revives the will has a blessed way of planting seeds of growth.  A word, a phrase, a sentence.  Bit by bit, filling the well, filling the page.

For a wacky fix to refilling your will visit  Recharge your Magick.  It’s for witches who need help refreshing their spells.  Writing is sort of witch/spell/magic-like.  Get a chuckle while you get inspired.


Reese Mobley said...

Great tips, Joan. Sometimes easier said than done. I wish us all luck. For me, it's usually a good movie that jump starts my creativity.

Joan Vincent said...

Most often easier said than done, Reese. Thanks for stopping by. I never know what will jolt the creative juices.

Rox Delaney said...

Thanks for the excellent reminders, Joan. My fun used to be designing websites. Now that it's grown from hobby to business, that "fun" now needs it's own refilling with who knows what.

I'm going to make a copy of your list of words and hang it over my desk as a reminder. I need all the pokes and prods I can find. :)

Pat Davids said...

Thanks for the great post, Joan. I know my well gets low in the middle of the book. New ideas tempt me, but I must refuse them until I'm done with my current work. I find a good walk will jar loose ideas.

Joan Vincent said...

Rox, you've given me inspiration and encouragement when I've really needed it. Glad I've a few words that will help you.

Joan Vincent said...

Pat, you are such a pro. What do you think it is about the middle of a story that makes it lag a little for you?

Pat Davids said...

I think it's that the next story and new characters start knocking around in my brain. Exploring a whole new story, crafting a new plot is more fun than fleshing out the one I've already plotted. I make the new kids sit down and shut up until I'm done, but they sure get ansy.

Joan Vincent said...

That makes sense, Pat. That sometimes happens to me when I get a brain burst about an incident I want to use in a future book. The temptation to drop everything and turn to that can be too strong. I generally try to sketch some notes and like you, tell the characters to behave They are so like kids.

Rox Delaney said...

It's obvious that mid-book is the traditional spot for writers to lose interest.

If I can get a couple of chapters past the middle, the story starts to pick up speed. New voices are still there, but encouraging me to hurry, hurry. By the last two or three chapters (last quarter), my fingers are flying. Then I hit the last scene and can't get it to stop. LOL