Have you ever had a dry spell in your writing? I’m not talking about writer’s block--like when you’re under a deadline, in the middle of a story, and hit a wall and can’t figure out what’s next. Because those are times you can usually back up and plow through, working out the problem to push ahead.
No, I’m talking about times where you just can’t seem to put any words on paper, or can’t think of a single unique idea, or can’t build up any excitement or even the energy to tackle a project. I’m talking about being in a wasteland, and you don't even have the urge or need to write anymore.
Maybe you’ve suffered a personal loss or rejection, or a rejection of your writing. Maybe you’re under more stress than usual (job change, move, death of a loved one, divorce or illness). Or maybe you can’t even pinpoint what has changed in your life. But suddenly, you’ve found yourself unable to write.
I’ve learned a little about this over the last few months. My husband was appointed to a new church, and we had six weeks to prepare, pack, and to buy a house (for the first time!). Then five days after the closing, we moved. A month after that, our son got married. These are wonderful blessings! But anyone who has moved, started a new job, or had a family wedding knows how stressful those life events can be. Added to that, I've had extended family members hit with serious health issues. Caring for them has taken so much of my time and energy that it's been almost impossible to write. But I believe God’s timing is perfect, and He will see me through this season.
He will see you through yours as well.
He will see you through yours as well.
If you’re in your own writing dry spell, here are 9 ideas that I hope will help:
1. Rest. Take care of yourself. Recharge. Take a break if needed (especially if you think burnout is your problem).
2. Take baby steps. For some reason, once you’ve been away from writing for a while, it can be tough to jump back in. Rather than start back into an already-started novel, try beginning with a blog post, short journal entry, or responding to a creative writing prompt. Try your hand at flash fiction or devotionals. Something short that can give a sense of accomplishment. And try to recall why you started writing in the first place. Find some project that rekindles that early joy.
3. Try a new genre. Or a new way of approaching a story (Pantsers, try plotting. Plotters, try jumping in without heavy planning). Try writing by hand or through dictation. Try any type of writing that gives you a glimmer of excitement.
4. Try something else creative like painting or knitting or cooking—anything that inspires your creativity. This will help refill your creative well.
5. Read—especially re-reading books on your keeper shelf. Nothing inspires me to write like reading a good book. Or try reading something totally different from your usual fare. You never know what may spark an idea!
6. Attend a writers meeting or critique group. But it’s important that this be a group that is positive and uplifting. Don’t hang out with people you know are Debbie Downers! You need to be around writers who are optimistic and encouraging. Ask for help from your writer friends (that includes us here at Seekerville!) so they can cheer you on.
7. Take an online writing class. They often include class assignments which can give you guidance and feedback. Working on weaknesses can also help build confidence.
8. Pray, and ask God if you’re being sent in another direction. Maybe God is giving you this season for a reason. Maybe a rejection is God’s mercy at this time in your life, in your particular circumstances. Trust that God loves you and has a plan for you. Jeremiah 29:11.
|My favorite Bible verse!|
9. Set a small, achievable writing goal and force yourself to accomplish it no matter how much you dread it. Treat it like you do cleaning the house or some other chore you don’t enjoy. Because if you’re like me, once you get involved in that chore, you find it’s not nearly as bad as you made it out to be in your head. :)
I hope you’ll share any tips you have for battling dry spells. Or if you’re in one now, please let us know so we can encourage you. One random commenter (U.S. only this time) will receive a Pocket Journal/Notebook with Jeremiah 29:11 on the front (and other inspirational snippets inside). Let's chat!
The Bachelor's Baby
Jake West's troubled cousin leaves him with a most unusual parting gift—her newborn baby girl! And now the small-town contractor is forced to seek help from the very woman he resents—the new big-city pediatrician who practically stole his uncle's practice, Violet Crenshaw. Violet knows she shouldn't be consorting with the enemy. But she can't resist the adorable baby and her handsome new caretaker. Violet traded her chance at motherhood for her career years ago. But raising a family with Jake could be everything she's ever wanted.
Bio: Born and raised in Kentucky, Missy Tippens has lived in Georgia for the last 30+ years. She is a pastor's wife and mom of three who has worked as a microbiologist, teacher and stay-at-home mom. During that time, she also pursued writing. After more than ten years of working toward publication, Missy made her first sale of a novel in 2007. Her books have since been nominated for the Booksellers Best, ACFW Carol Award, Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, Maggie Award, Beacon Contest, RT Reviewer’s Choice Award, and a Romance Writers of America RITA® Award. She feels very blessed to be working at home in her dream job! Visit Missy at www.missytippens.com, https://twitter.com/MissyTippens and http://www.facebook.com/missy.tippens.readers .