Calling all writers, artists and others who must dip daily into the well of creativity. What happens when the well goes dry? What happens when you get stuck? I’m not talking about writers’ block. In my opinion, getting stuck is a whole different thing.
I recently started a new book and, since I fly by the seat of my pants, I had main characters in mind and a vague idea of the plot line. I’d learned to trust my process. In the past, the act of writing stimulated the creative part of my brain, resulting in forward progress. Sure, once in a while, I’d write myself into a corner and have to backtrack, but it was usually an easy fix and I considered it a learning experience. Six chapters flew by and then my fingers froze on the keyboard. I was stuck. Here’s what happened next:
I brooded and indulged in a lot of negative self-talk. What the heck’s wrong with you? Yikes! After eight books are you out of juice?
I forced myself to write. As the saying goes, you can’t edit a blank page. When it took me an hour to write two sentences, I knew it wasn’t working. This was followed by………..
I tried writing in long hand, a technique that sometimes works for me. Not this time.
I comforted myself with junk food which, in turn, led me to……..
The Solution. Concerned about putting on weight from the aforementioned junk food, I hit the elliptical machine at our local fitness club. Something about music feeding directly into my brain via ear buds, mindless repetition as I sweat and pedaled, plus the oxygenated blood surging through my body did the trick.
Remember my term, “vague idea of the plot line?” I realized it was a little too vague. I’m writing romantic suspense, for Pete’s sake! There are dead bodies, nasty villains, stolen babies and human trafficking involved. Way too many moving parts for an author flying by the seat of her pants. I needed details. I needed more characters. I needed more plot lines. OMG, was I becoming a plotter? Were my pantser days over?
Happily, I’m back on track after taking some time to answer the obvious questions. Who? What? Why? Where? When? Apparently I am now part plotter, part pantser. Works for me. And, if I get stuck again, I know what to do.
Eat junk food.