We've all experienced it at least once in our writing life, sometimes more, that brilliant idea that just seemed to flow onto the page suddenly dries up. The story dies and we're left beating our heads against the keyboard as we struggle to recapture that earlier joy. Of course we do the worse thing we can in such a situation, we begin forcing the story in an effort to recapture the excitement we once felt, which of course makes it even harder to continue at our earlier pace. It then becomes a viscous cycle as we battle the invisible demon that has stolen our joy.
I've found the following five activities have helped me tremendously when faced with an idea that has suddenly lost its spark, but everyone is different, so what has worked for me in the past, may not work for you.
First and foremost carefully step away from the keyboard.
Listen to Music: There are those among us who can only write when the music is blaring around them. That's not me, I have to have near silence so I can hear myself think. So naturally when an idea stops speaking to me I'll slip on the head phones and crank it all the way up as I listen to one of my favorite bands. I'm a heavy metal fan, and I'm married, so I've found headphones a good way to keep the peace. Besides the music envelopes me when I'm wearing headphones, it flows through me and helps me get my mind off the problem at hand. Which of course is what you want to do.
Write in Longhand: I'll break out a notebook and just start doodling with words. To take a break from the direction the story is going maybe I'll work on a character's background, digging around in the skeletons they're hiding in their closet, you never know what might pop up to jump start the story and get your creative juices flowing again.
Take a Walk: If the music fails me I'll grab the dog and go for a walk, and while we're walking I'll talk to my dog about the problem I'm having with my writing. It's amazing what a change of scenery can do for the psyche.
Meditate: I'll get away from the keyboard and sit on the couch with my eyes closed as I clear my mind, something that's not really all that hard for me to do. Many times my subconscious with give me the clue I've been looking for.
Laugh: Go to Youtube and search for the funniest videos you can find and take a moment to just laugh. it's amazing what a good laugh can do for your productivity.
Now it's your turn. What do you do when inspiration dries up?