So, you’ve closed yourself in your office, taped the “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door, settled in the chair, and you lay your hands on the keyboard and nothing comes.
You look around for a minute and look back to the computer screen, little niggling thoughts creeping in. Did I shut the coffee pot off? Did I just hear the phone ring?
Something’s off but you don’t know what. Your fingers aren’t moving. The work you need to do, the work you committed to doing, isn’t showing itself.
Your well is dry.
I say this a lot, and it’s true. As writers, we spend an awful lot of time in our own heads. We observe the world, dissect, listen, embellish, imagine, and generally carry our story arcs and characters around everywhere we go. But, other times it seems as if there is really nothing there.
When that happens, it’s because external issues or pressures have locked down our internal workings. Juggling a job, kids, schedules, bills, worries about parents, and other life concerns take over and wear us out.
Ways to fill up the well again.
Take yourself somewhere you wouldn’t ordinarily go. Motorcross? A Korean restaurant? An art museum? Wander in it, let yourself feel, smell, taste, every element of that activity. Take a little notebook, and write down what you experienced and how it made you feel.
Read. Writers tend to be readers. Read. Not only will you find it satisfying but you’ll enrich your writing by seeing how others do it.
Take up a hobby. Photography, knitting, woodworking, ceramics, whatever it is, allow yourself to revel in it. Make it a big deal. Share it with friends and family, talk it up.
Join a charity and work. It will take you straight out of yourself and your life situation and make you more empathetic to the plight of others.
Exercise. Yes, exercise. Nothing can clear out the brain cobwebs and lift your spirits like a brisk walk. And walking is free!
Take time for yourself. Let the world go on without you for awhile and just rest.
Okay, let’s get at it and fill up the well!
Yvonne Erwin, President
Yvonne Erwin is the author of two women’s fiction books,The Discovery of Joy, The Sisters of Madelaine Lane, and co-author of A Glimpse of Glory: My Journey to Heaven and Back. She lives in Springfield, MO and has served Springfield Writers’ Guild in many offices.