When You Can’t Write

I’ve had dry spells various times since I decided to write on a regular basis. Although I am not in a dry spell right now, writing is more of a struggle than it used to be. Not having my regular project is hard, and quite frankly the writing part of my brain is still tired. What to do?

Don’t panic. The state of not writing is not permanent. Even Junot Diaz, with his ten-year writing block, came back from it and wrote The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. And we’re glad he did. You will write again.

Read. My friend in grad school calls this filling the bucket. Your word bucket is empty and you need more. Your idea bucket is empty. You need more. Read in the genre in which you are trying to write. But be easy on yourself and read some schlock fiction too.

Keep trying. Don’t put that notebook away in a dark corner and then never enter the room again. Go to that notebook every day or so and try some freewriting or just stare at it for a little bit. Stop staring at it before you want to burn it and yourself.

Figure out the underlying cause. Do you hate your book? Did the plot die on the vine? Are you depressed? Do you need to move to Vermont and start a goat farm? Did you move to Vermont to start a goat farm and then regret everything? You get the idea.

How do you survive the drought?

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4 responses to “When You Can’t Write

  1. OMG! Downith has a face! So nice to meet you, Downith. I am afraid, given my membership in the sisterhood, that i have to stay a patchwork square, but it is nice to see you.

    Surviving the drought? Non-stop writIng. You know. Just writing without lifting my fingers, even if I don’t have words, to see what comes out of me. ,Marie Ponsot describes this. I assign myself a small subject and then write about it. I may resort to writing “wordwordword” if there aren’t any other words in me, but I don’t stop regardless.

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