When Idea’s Dry Up


Does anyone ever get writer’s block? 

I used to say no to that question, because I never thought I did. I would boast proudly when friends would ask and act as though such notions did not apply to me. Well, I have come to learn what is meant by this funny little expression: Writer’s Block. 

We all know the stereotypical version where the writer just slumps in abject apathy and stares at the page. That’s a fairly serious kind I think.

But I believe there are many versions of this mental affliction. I think it is wrongly named also. Doesn’t really specify. I think we’d do better if we called it Writer’s Dry Up or Writer’s Engine Cool Down or Running Out of Writer’s Fuel. Because I think what happens is that we simply run out of research material.

Aside from simply slumping at the key board, you can also go on writing well after the point it got boring. A sort of hectic puppeteer way of writing where you just bang out words that don’t resonate anymore. A sort of pound the pavement method of novel writing. I believe this is writing despite Writer’s Block. 

Notice I don’t say you have to be inspired to write, at least not beyond the initial inspiration to want to write at all. But if you get that feeling like it’s “dry” or it’s “just hitting a quota” or “I ran out of ideas” I suggest a couple home remedies that seem to work for me every time. 

A) Read. Books recharge your artist’s acumen. I think you should read and write at a ratio of 50/50. Don’t write month after month and neglect reading and vise-versa. Reading makes you a better writer just like writing makes you a better writer. Simple. 

B) Research. Study something. Go interview a cop or a doctor. Go get a part time job as a logger. I don’t know, whatever you’re writing about. If it’s straight sf/f and you can’t go to another planet, I suggest researching other planets in general. Vampire, research blood and how much blood a person could stand giving up or something like, or maybe you research the original myths and legends. Anyway you get the idea. It’s nothing for me to write surveillance scenes because I’ve personally logged hundreds of hours. So, I know how you feel, the boredom, the excitement, the nerves. And what’s more, how to follow someone in a car and not get burned, and I can tell you this, the movies get it wrong every time!

C) Run. Or take a walk. If we say run, than we can say The Three R’s which is cute. Regardless, I can’t tell you how many times after I get up from my computer and go walk around or take a shower even, that the idea comes together and I find the path again. Space seems to assist the flow of ideas. It gets you out of your head. And sometimes that’s all you need. 

And one other thing that seems miraculous if you just can’t seem to get into the spirit of things when it comes to carrying on. Edit the last thing you wrote. This pulls me down into the story every time and once I’m in the groove, I roll.

Well, those are my home remedies and as you can see they are all homeopathic.




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