Thursday, May 15, 2008

What Do You Do When the Well Runs Dry?

One of the most prolific writers I know has admitted she's not written anything new lately.

Other than hiding out in the throne room until this spell passes (sorry), what's a writer to do?

If you're not under contract, give yourself permission to Not Write. Let it go. This idea rides gunshot to that old theory about women who are having a tough time getting pregnant. Once that woman lets go and decides to adopt, well . . . you've heard it before. The important thing is not to beat yourself up. Go to a movie instead.

Having said that, here's what happens to me if I'm away from writing too long. Fear seeps in and floods my being. Confidence is eroded and I can't imagine ever accomplishing a thing. Sound familiar? Be gentle with yourself, but don't stay away too long. Nudge yourself—with tenderness—to the place where bichoking is all you want to do.

Some Nudges:

When I read about the craft of writing I get itchy to write. That's often enough to stir up something in my head.

Take an existing or new character and write in first person. A character study. I like to observe someone in real life and make up their story.

Write a poem. Effortless, flowing, fabulous writing is grounded in poetry.

Write about not writing.

Create an amazing setting for the type of story you want to write. Urban? Rural? A high rise or isolated cabin?

Take your laptop, or your notepad and pen, to the library. Breathe in all of those words and ideas that float free in the air. Or hustle your bustle to some other location that works for you.

Write a letter to your great-great-great-great grandchild. What do you want them to know about you and your life?

I'd love to hear some other ideas for dealing with this malady.

It's all better with friends.


  1. Go for a walk.
    Read a great novel.
    Take a trip and don't bring your laptop.
    Watch a movie (almost always I go away from a movie itching to write).

    Great stuff, Peg. Thanks for sharing!

  2. If your well runs dry?????? DIG another one! Go ahead and dig two! Be blessed!