Monday, October 11, 2010

When the Words Stop Flowing

We are talking this week about writing tips, and I thought I'd throw my hat into the ring about the hard times, when the words stop flowing.

While there is no easy answer to days when the voices simply aren't there, here's a few tricks I try to get back in the game:

--Walk away. Do errands, take walk, a shower, cook a meal. And do NOT think about the book. For me, what often happens is the book slips back into my thoughts on its own.

--Turn to sugar and caffeine (a nice mocha latte?) which often jump starts my body and brain.

--Go read a book. Sometimes one I love--as well as one I don't--will inspire me to return to the keyboard, reminding me why I love to do what I do.

--Re-read what I've written so far, and do a little clean-up editing work. Just being in the story often helps me make new connections.

And when all this fails for me? I remind myself of Nora Roberts' famous quote (that I carry around on my keychain): "You can't edit a blank page." In other words, just get SOMETHING on that paper or computer screen to work with and from, even it seems horrible.

So now I'm calling out to other writers. What do you do when the words stop flowing?


Tina Ferraro
Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress
How to Hook a Hottie
The ABC's of Kissing Boys


Unknown said...

I must agree, I do the same. I usually take a break or edit something.

Pretty much anything can inspire me.

nymfaux said...

Great Post!!!--I'm all about the breaks and the reading other books--my problem is procrastination--I'll start reading a book for inspiration and let myself get drawn into the entire series all over again...

Or I start re-reading what I've written, get really caught up in it, get to the end and say, "WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?!?!?!" ;)

Wendy Toliver said...

haha, that's a great photo! :)
I admit I'm pretty bad b/c even if the words won't flow I'll stare at the blank page. I think this is b/c I have very limited time to write and I feel guilty if I'm doing something else. That said, I do think going on a walk (or other physical activity), cooking, and reading are some of my favorite "getting back into it" methods.

stephhale said...

I like to watch movies to get the blood flowing. Great post, Tina.

Robin said...

Thanks for the great tips, Tina. Walking away works for me too. Sometimes having time to just *think* without the pressure of the keyboard at my fingertips, really helps me figure out what comes next.

Heather Davis said...

These are great, Tina! I would add to that doing dishes or another chore. I sometimes get great ideas on how to approach a scene by doing something physical.

Also, seeing a good movie with great storytelling can help you "fill the well".

Shawn McGuire said...

Drying my hair gets the ideas flowing for me. Must warm up my brain or something.

Great ideas, Tina. Thanks!

Janie Emaus said...

I reread what I've written or take a walk. When I'm dusting the keyboard, then I know I'm in trouble!

TinaFerraro said...

Great suggestions--thanks!