And then…the river dries up. Your fingers hover over the keyboard, waiting for the next sentence and it doesn't come.
You sit back in your chair and stare blankly at the screen in front of you. Ten seconds ago you had the rest of that half filled page all planned, and the words just left you.
I'm sure any of my fellow writers can identify with the moment when that brilliantly planned out scene just disappears and you can't think of a single word.
I hate those moments. It is so frustrating to have your train of thought leave like that. Sometimes it stops because of a distraction such as someone calling your name, slamming a door or the pots and pans clanking together in the next room. Sometimes, there is no explanation.
So what do you do when you really want/need to continue writing and your brain refuses to cooperate?
Here are a few things I have found to be helpful.
- Take a walk. Fresh air always wakes me up. Now that it's summer, I will be spending more time outside and a lot of my writing will probably take place on the deck. The fresh air and sunshine will help to keep me awake and my brain sharp.
- Talk to someone. The stimulation of having a normal conversation can sometimes get the creative juices flowing again.
- Coffee. I only drink decaf coffee, but just the routine of getting up and making it, plus, of course, the delicious aroma and taste, help get me thinking again.
- Music. I generally have music playing while I am writing, but if I don't, just relaxing and listening to a song or two can get me back on track. Or if I do have music playing, switching to a different album can help.
- Chess. I'm not a big fan of chess because I'm just not that smart. Chess players are something special J But when I feel like my brain has gone dormant, a game of chess on my computer can help get me motivated again.
- Laughter. This is especially important if I am at a sad point in the story, or I'm just having a gloomy day. My brothers love jokes so we have several joke books laying around. I'll grab one of those and find something to make me laugh.
- Riding. Just going out and jumping on one of the horses for half an hour or so clears my head. Of course, not everyone has horses to ride like I do, but choose a favorite activity and do it! It helps.
- Reading. Picking up a favorite book and reading a chapter or two can renew my determination to get this story written.
- Writing a blog post. Yes, it's still 'writing', but there's a difference. Quite a few of my posts are prepared ahead of when they will be posted, so if I am stuck at a certain point in my story, I will gather materials and info for my posts.
- Last but not least, prayer. I think sometimes the Lord lets the river dry up to remind you that this is His story, not yours.