Refilling the Well

OK, every once in a while the well of ideas and imagination runs dry. Maybe you're stressed out or distracted or overwhelmed with the mundane minutiae of life. Whatever. The plots don't descend on you when you're driving or waking from a deep sleep. The characters don't speak to you when you're out for your morning run. The snappy dialogue that runs through your mind when you're cleaning the house is replaced by a litany of tasks and chores you have to complete by the end of the week. In short, you're in a writing slump or funk or...dare I think it?...writer's block.

So how do you escape its gnarly hold on your mind and get back to the business of creating?

A few of the ways I battle the Bummer (my name for writer's block and a product of living in a beach town) are:
  • Attend an RWA chapter meeting and feed off the energy of a roomful of writers
  • List your goals, starting with itty bitty ones like writing a dialogue or doing a character sketch
  • Give yourself a reward for meeting a goal at the end of the day or week (and it doesn't have to be huge or expensive)
  • Read a good book, preferably a Romance!
  • Chat with other writers via blogs, online groups, email or even in person

I could go on and on, but enough about me, what are some of the ways you get inspired and refill the well?


Amber Leigh Williams said...

Carol, I just gotta say I LOVE that cover!

I make the mistake of thinking my brain is like a gumball machine and will drop one of those big, tasty balls of possibilies into my hand whenever I put in my .25. Unfortunately, my brain really works more like a sponge. Sometimes it's all heavy and wet and I can squeeze it and all kinds of good stuff flows out! But other times (like today, for instance) it's completely dry and squeezing just gives me a headache.

Motivational quotes help get the drive moving like this one from Nora: "If you don't go after what you want, you'll never have it. If you don't ask, the answer is always no. If you don't step forward, you're always in the same place."

Now that's a kick in the butt!

Amber Leigh Williams
Steamy Romantic Adventure & Suspense
Love makes life sparkle like diamonds!

Nicole North said...

Great post, Carol!! I love your ideas for refilling the well. (Great motivational quotes, Amber. I love quotes but had never heard those.)

What I do when not feeling inspired is one you mentioned, I read a book by a favorite author. Or I exercise. Listening to music can sometimes be incredibly inspiring. So can watching movies or TV shows. I never know what's going to fire up my mind. Sometimes it can be something as simple as a photo.

Natasha Moore said...

Books and movies top my list of ways to get inspired. So does a long walk, but on a day like today - cold and snowy, even though the calendar says it's the first day of spring - I'll stick with the books and movies :)

Great post!

Carol Ericson said...

Amber, love the sponge analogy and the quote from Nora. Thanks for the kick in the butt!

Nicole, music works for me too. So do pictures, especially a picture of a cover with my name on it!

Natasha, I sympathize but can't empathize since it's sunny and in the low 70's in So Cal today!

Lexi said...

I ALWAYS read someone else's book from start to finish. If I get ideas for my own while I'm reading, I'll jot notes so I don't forget, but I don't allow myself to go back to my own manuscript until I've finished reading that published book. SO far this has always worked for me.