Thursday, January 31, 2008

When Words Aren't Written~or~When Words Dry Out

There are a lot of reasons to take a break from writing. Some chosen, some not. Recently, life has thrown a few curves in my direction and I've been grateful (for once) not to have a deadline.

When I don't write every day, fear and insecurity find it easier to wedge themselves into my psyche. It becomes harder and harder to work, and easier and easier to find some excuse not to.

If you don't use it, you lose it. My sister shared a wonderful term with me: bichok. Butt in chair, hands on keys. Bichoking is what will get you back on track.

Ideas to Nudge You Toward Brilliant Bichoking

~ Pinpoint any issues that may be keeping you from writing. This can be patently obvious, or require some deeper reflection.

~ Writer's block? Ignore it. Successful writers are the ones that show up and just do it. Try journaling as a way to break through this one. Or write something completely outside of your norm. For example, I just finished working on a short article called "Blonde on Steroids" reflecting the ditzy stuff I seem to be doing more of now that I'm getting gray hair.

~ Set a minimum daily word requirement. One that isn't too scary. Say, 100 words. That's equivelent to a paragraph. You'll probably do way more.

~ Set a timer. Fifteen minutes. Go with some freestyle thoughts. Indulge. Don't worry if it isn't worth keeping. Usually fifteen minutes is what it takes to really get in the groove.

~ Change your surroundings. Of course, it's easier to do this with a laptop, but no one said you couldn't take a notepad and pen to a favorite spot.

~ Go back and read what you've written. This is especially important if you tend to write by the seat of your pants (a pantser) as opposed to a detailed plotter.

~ Light a candle on your desk--or something else that can become a trigger for you to open your work-in-progess and bichok.

~ Read something. A writing mag usually creates a huge need in me to get to it.
~ Write when you first wake up in the morning, before life kicks in.

~ Take a walk and think about what horrible thing you can do to your characters you hadn't considered before.

Yesterday I ordered the Writer's Mind CD based on a review I read on Absolute Write. The theory is listening to this CD can increase my mind's performance by fiddling with my brainwaves through audio technology. Hmmm . . . I'll let you know.

"I write when I'm inspired, and I see to it that I'm inspired at nine o'clock every morning." - Peter De Vries

It's all better with friends.


  1. I listen to Garrison Keillor's The Writer's Almanac, a podcast available on iTunes. It's only 5 minutes long, but often dishes up inspiration to get me motivated. It's released every day, so I don't always get to them all (sometimes I listen to 3-4 in a row).

    I also listen to Grammar Girl podcast (iTunes or, which deals with common grammar questions. GG provides answers along with helpful hints on how to remember the usage.

  2. Rich, great tips!

    I've got Grammer Girl bookmarked, but admit I don't get there often. I'm fortunate to have a personal grammer girl buddy, Susan Lohrer, as a personal coach.

    But Garrison Keillor is an OLD favorite and I think I'll check him out.


  3. Peg, what a timely topic. I'm under a big dump of life (and a big dump of snow) right now too, and a few minutes with a pen and paper each day has been my only writing time. You know how I love my MacBook, but oh how I thank the Lord for paper. ☺

    So happy to be your grammar buddy!