When the Well Runs Dry
Sometimes when I’m under stress, I actually work better. The more I have to do, the more efficient I become. That’s important since I have a full-time day job, three kids, and still must find time to write for three publishers. But sometimes, it doesn’t matter how hard I push, or how stressed or excited I am about prospects, I just can’t get any momentum.
Every word is like pulling teeth.
Have you been there? I don’t think it’s really “writer’s block.” To me, that’s an absolute refusal of the mind to find a single word. You may not even have the desire to think about writing, let alone the muse to actually put words on the page. But this slow slog can be troubling, and I’ve always wondered what would happen if I didn’t stop and tend to the artist inside of me.
If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. She talks about the well of creativity, a stream of higher power and imagination flowing about us everywhere. All we have to do is reach for it, open ourselves, and listen to the Creator. It sounds easy, but when you’re tired, confused, or consumed by self doubt, it can be a frightening and difficult prospect.
I never seem to find the time to make regular artist’s dates with myself, but I’ve learned to slow down a bit and indulge my inner artist. Like…
* Watching old classics and foreign films, like the black and white Seven Samurai that inspired The Magnificent Seven; Curse of the Golden Flower, Red Cliff, The Picture of Dorian Gray, Hangover Square, Scarlet Pimpernel and many others.
* Working on my hand crafts, like crochet and cross-stitch. I also took a knitting class.
* Going for a regular walk. Even 20 minutes can help relieve stress and get the mental juices flowing.
* Listening to new-to-me music, like Apocalyptica. A big winner that has really inspired me lately is Jar of Hearts by Christina Perri
What works for you when you’re stuck or the project isn’t going as well as you’d like?
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Joely Sue Burkhart always has her nose buried in a book, especially one with mythology, fairy tales, and romance. She, her husband, and their three monsters live in Missouri. By day, she’s a computer programmer with a Masters of Science degree in Mathematics. When night falls, she bespells the monsters so she can write. Contest: Review or rate any of Joely’s books to be entered to win a $50 gift certificate! Details