How do we create life from lifeless tissue? The fact that I had to ask for my husband’s help to think of a title for this post only confirmed my urgent need to figure this out. (Thanks, honey) Most writers experience dry times when the ideas just won’t come. What are the causes and what are the cures? Let’s button up our lab coats and pull the third switch!
I brainstormed a list of causes for lack of creativity and came up with: fear of failure, fear of transparency, feeling restricted by guidelines/formulas/word counts, burnout, real or imagined criticism, anxiety over deadlines, worry, feeling overwhelmed and stress about life in general. I’ll admit that for me, stress is the worst culprit and maybe yours is listed, too. Maybe recognizing it is the first step toward overcoming.
The good news is that we swim in a rich gene pool. Our Creator gave us the desire to write and it’s part of what makes us tick. We don’t create alone. Here are some ideas for cures:
- Read widely. Feeding your mind with interesting and thought-provoking material results in interesting and thought-provoking writing. These new ideas can blossom into a story idea or influence the direction of your WIP.
- Write at the same time every day. This creates memory triggers that can flip on the power switch.
- Enjoy beauty. Find a quiet place that you love and take time to meditate. Don’t write or think about your WIP. Take your lunch to the cemetery. It’s quiet and peaceful, and no one knows you’re there but God. Or listen to your favorite music without distractions, or take a scenic detour home from the grocery store and listen on your car stereo. It can help you get perspective.
- Practice ten or fifteen minutes of free style writing.
“That Wednesday two weeks before Thanksgiving was a bad day to find a corpse on campus…” -Rhapsody in Red by Donn Taylor
“There on the damp pine needles Kirsten Young lay on her back, a serene Ophelia in her dusky pond of blood…”-Latter-Day Cipher by Latayne C. Scott
“Our worst spring storm broke on the edge of midnight, a river thrown from the sky…”-I Have Seen Him in the Watchfires by Cathy Gohlke