Some days you feel like you can’t write another word. You feel as flat and useless as road kill. Your writing is as dull as toothache and just as painful to endure. No amount of coffee and staring out the window is helping to summon the muse. You consider becoming a religious recluse or marrying for money. This is not a good state of mind, especially if you have a looming deadline.
Now I’m not going to go all self-help/Dr Phil in this blog, because you’d probably want to bludgeon me to death. I’m just going to say what has worked for me in the past. Sometimes, it is a cure to those mean writing blues. Sometimes, the muse will show up, even if she is wearing her tracksuit and hasn’t combed her hair.
- Tidy up your working space. Take a few minutes to sharpen pencils, sort out your files, or spray some lemon furniture polish around. If you’re not too suicidal or broke, spring for some flowers and a vase.
- Read the newspaper. Try to get away from your computer or TV and read a printed newspaper. See if you can find a story that grabs your imagination, cut it out and keep it. It doesn’t have to be related to what you’re writing, just something that stands out as compelling, funny or sad.
- Pets are a great way to cheer you up. Taking a walk or playing fetch with the dog will get you out the house and into the fresh air.
- Take care of the basics. Make sure you’re eating decently, having enough water and resting well. When your creativity has the flu, you need to pamper it the way you would a sick child.
- Just put words on a page. This may sound counter-intuitive, but just start writing even if the worst junk in the world, just to feel dis-empowered. You can throw the page away afterwards if you like.
Writing is not adding up numbers or hanging curtains or programming your PVR. There is a certain mystery to the creative process. We can sometimes find a way to short hand the process or trick ourselves into writing—but we must also not be too hard on ourselves if it doesn’t work. Just trust that it will come back to you.
by Anthony Ehlers for Writers Write