Must. Write. Words.

I’ve been out of ideas lately. Or the motivation to get them down on the page. I’m not sure which.

I’ve been told this isn’t permanent, and both the ideas and the motivation will come back. I mostly believe it, because I’ve had teeny tiny sparks of inspiration at times, just not the sustained fire that I used to have.

So writing has been a bit of a slog. Okay, it’s been really awful. I went from breezing through a thousand words a day, and up to 3k on good days, to barely scraping together a couple hundred words in an entire day. I can’t settle down to any particular task, something I used to be very good at. This wouldn’t be such a problem, except that my main WIP is a jealous little bitch (I wrote about it a couple weeks ago) and gets pissy when I work on anything else. Including this post, which is why I’m writing it at lunchtime on the day it’s supposed to go up.

What is a poor writer to do?

Move to a different timeline, one that’s more stable and sane than the one we’re in right now.

I kid, but only because, as far as I know, that’s not possible. But there are ways to trick your brain into writing, even in unstable times, or when your WIP is being difficult. Taking care of your body is a good place to start- eat right, get enough sleep, exercise, and so on. I’ve been not-so-great about those lately- my DH is working long hours and eating at the office cafeteria, so I have no reason to cook real food; I’ve been waking up with horrible tension headaches (see above about living in an insane timeline); and it’s hard to get regular exercise in the wintertime.

While I’m getting back in the habit of taking care of myself, I’ve been employing some odd mental tricks to get the writing flowing. Most of them center around not getting mad at myself for not writing, or for adding a sentence to each of five separate chapters. At the moment, the writing corner of my brain is like a recalcitrant child, horse, or puppy; if I get mad at it for failing, no one benefits. So I listen to music I enjoy, write a couple of sentences, grind to a halt, get up from my desk to put in a load of laundry or wash a few dishes, then come back and try to write a few more sentences. It’s a pain in the neck and I hate it, but if it works, it’s not stupid.

Now if I could get the neighbors’ dog to stop barking every time a squirrel runs through the yard. A Viking invasion force could march through my garden and the dog wouldn’t care, but one measly little squirrel shows up and it’s like the world’s ending.

Oh, well.

How do you get the words flowing when you’re fresh out of give-a-damn?

9 comments

  1. Oddly, I’ve had the opposite problem. 2000 words the past two days, which for me is a lot.

  2. I re-evaluate my diet, sleeping habits, level of hayfever vs OTC remedies . . . or just take time off to recharge by reading instead of writing. Right now I’m on day three of caffeine withdrawal. Just another day or two and the cravings will stop, right?

  3. There’s always Mickey Spillane’s method: the well would run dry and he couldn’t write. After a while, his accountant would call him and tell him the bank account was about to run dry.
    Miraculously, he’d be able to write again.

  4. I’m a bit like a rooster in a yard full of hens. I know what I need to do. It’s just sorting out where to start that’s the problem. I”m writing to escape, but I need to be doing edits so I can make money.

    1. Ideas I have lots of. Time to get those ideas onto paper, or research some of them? That’s where I’m coming up short at the moment. Which points back to organization.

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