Day 8: When the Words Just Won’t Flow

Some days, we sit down and the words flow so quickly that our typing/writing just can’t keep up.  Other days we sit and stare at a blank page while willing the words to come.  It is so far beyond frustrating that there really are no words to adequately describe the feeling.  We type a few words, stare at them for a while then backspace thru them.  Have we lost that creative spark?  Did we even have it to begin with?  Have we just been fooling ourselves?  Stop worrying!  We all have these times that frustrate and challenge us.  Our brain has an amazing capacity that allows us to create, multi-task and retain information but it can be overloaded, just like a computer.  You have to clear the RAM in your brain.  Each of us has a different way of doing this.  Some might lie in a hammock and stare up at the stars at night.  Others might read a favorite book that has inspired them in the past.  A long luxurious bubble bath with candles, exotic bath salts and a big glass of wine sounds really good right now.  Or a comfy cozy nap.  There is no wrong way to do it because this is your brain…not mine or anyone else’s.  What inspires you?  What makes you feel safe and comfortable?  Go do that then come back to your project.  I know that I, as a pantser, run into this on a regular basis.  Plotters have their character sketches and outlines while I sit down in my chair in front of my laptop and hope that the muses are in today and feeling generous.  Sometimes it feels as though I’m channeling rather than actually creating.  I start out with only a vague idea of where I want the book to go and 20 pages later, I find my characters in a situation that I never even imagined.  And I’m stuck while my muses are laughing their asses off.  Creativity is fickle.  Some people have figured out how to turn it on and off but the rest of us are still struggling with that.  For me, the worst thing that I can do is try to force it but I can’t just walk away every single time that the words aren’t flowing so I’ve developed a few things that help me when I’m in this situation.  Try switching gears…if you’re writing a book, try writing a poem.  If what you’re writing is of a serious nature, try writing about the funniest thing that ever happened to you.  You get the idea.  I also listen to music that is in the same vein as my writing.  Romantic scene = Savage Garden’s Truly Madly Deeply .  Unrequited love = Fleetwood Mac’s Silver Springs.  Anger =  heavy metal.  Or I watch a movie that has a similar theme to what I’m writing.  I’m sure that you can come up with your own rituals that will get you unstuck.  As usual, my message is…don’t ever give up.  You will regret it.  I know that I do but I’ve got my behind back in the chair in front of my laptop.  I’m not going to waste any more time and you shouldn’t either.

“When I’m writing, I write.  And then it’s as if the muse is convinced that I’m serious and says ‘Okay.  Okay.  I’ll come.'” ~ Maya Angelou




About Donna Heilman

I am a writer that lives in the Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex with my husband, 2 dogs, and 10 cats. I am currently working on my novel, Rapture, as well as writing poetry and some short non-fiction. I am honestly writing this blog to feel more connected with other creative people.
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