Sometimes I hit a writer’s blank wall; I feel empty, numb, and I am not sure where to turn next. The well is dry. The party is over. Continuing on the creative path might mean clambering back up the learning curve.
Don’t Stop Now!
It is common advice to writers to keep creating, no matter the results. They say, “Keep that content rolling out to the world, no matter what is selling, or what is not selling.”
Trying to get your novel published? I am told to get onto writing the next book in the meantime.
Blogging regularly? Find a routine niche that generates a reliable and passionate presence.
This is how we maintain stamina, how we stay in it. If we pause to look around, it is easy to slide into hopelessness. But, without a monetary result, how is this methodical process not just a death march?
What is the point of all this work anyway?
When do I get my big break? If I am not rewarded for my years of writing, how do I justify this grind? How do I manage and endure when I lose my momentum? Is there a secret key?
The Key: Expand Your Mind!
No, not with psychedelics; although at this point, I’d consider it. The key is to return to the role of the student. Get out there and explore some more! Return to the well of the spirit, a more informed guidance from those who came before us. I am not talking about spending tons of money on academics here. I already hold a couple real degrees. I am talking about connecting to the writer community, the online blogs, the literary realms, the living, breathing authors all around us. Find your Jedi Master. Immerse yourself in the many, many experiences that build your knowledge and direction.
When I get stuck.
First, I take a few days to acknowledge that I am stuck. I declare it out loud. Then I go for a walk, or clean the house, or make some good food for my guy. Then I return to the act of learning.
- The budget-friendly online articles available are usually worthwhile. I love Medium.com and Reader on WordPress.com for this bank of options. Some of that content is fantastic! Most of the writers are funny and kind and smart, I mean, truly engaging.
- What are the latest trends in publishing, self-publishing, local publishers, boutique options, and agents specific to my niche audience? Surely, I have more to learn here because it is always changing.
- What current literary events are coming to my area? Would it be so bad to actually attend? Am I just holed up here feeling jealous and bitter?
- Which inspiring novel shall I read next? Reading good literature is never a waste of my time.
- Is my writing group growing stale? Am I being challenged? Do I want to be challenged?
- Is there a favorite blogger or two from whom I can read daily?
Slow it down.
This might be a good time to restore ourselves through the path of inspired learning. Perseverance is an absolute must for writers, but give yourself a tiny break. Just for a season, let someone else throw the party, and trust that your verve will return.