Sunday, January 17, 2010

Need A Refill?

I shared this post over at the Scribble Chicks blog today, and I'd like to share it with you too:

Have you ever hit a point in your writing where nothing seems to flow? Where it feels like you're pulling teeth to get out one single sentence? Rest assured, you're not alone. Every writer feels this way from time to time. Here's something I'm learning that helps unstop the pipes and allows your creative waters to start flowing again ... living life.

Sometimes as writers we will devote so much time to pouring out our thoughts and emotions on the page that we don't take time to refill. The well runs dry. If that's you today, why not try this: take a day off and play with a ten-year-old. Go to the movies. Pull out a pad of paper and just start sketching what you see. Or ask someone who works in the profession of your main character if you can follow them around and soak up what they do.

I found the latter suggestion especially helpful recently. Several of my novels take place on a working cattle ranch. And when you're working on a ranch, you're going to be riding horses. For the month of January I've been volunteering at a local horse barn. In the morning we feed the horses and turn them out to their pastures. In the evening we bring them in and feed them again. I've learned a ton just from being around these great animals. But I've especially learned from watching others much more experienced and seeing how they handle situations. Soaking in their expertise has helped me immeasurably.

So if you're stuck today, may I suggest take a deep breath and chilling for a bit? :) It's okay to take a break. Trust me, you'll come back super-charged and ready to tackle that next chapter!


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Carol J. Garvin said...

I guess it's true you can't pour from an empty vessel. The need for refilling, or refueling, is easy to overlook when one is writing every day. I try to take Julia Cameron's advice and go for a creative walk, but some days it just doesn't happen. I love your idea of immersing yourself in an activity that relates to my MC. Great post, thank you.