In the midst of icing cupcakes like hydrangeas (for my sister’s bridal shower…I’m no Martha Stewart), re-facing my fireplace, and making sticky-note collages of my walls (see Monday’s post), I’ve been beating myself up a little bit. That’s because, while I was trying all sorts of new things and getting a lot accomplished, I wasn’t getting anything written. Or revised. Or brainstormed. Or even thought about planning to write down maybe some day.
It wasn’t writer’s block. Or that I was too busy (I mean, I was, but I did that to myself). Or that I didn’t have anything to write about.
I just hit a writing lull. That was something new.
A few years ago, I took a writing course from the local community college. The teacher called me one of the most prolific writers he’s ever met. With a few members from that course and a few more picked up at conferences along the way, I started a critique group. We meet every three weeks and at almost every meeting, I have something new to critique. Until lately. This lull was very new. And, for me, new things can be a little scary.
So I tried to let my brain figure out what was going on while I busied my hands. I did things like removing the crumbling mortar from my basement’s foundation block and filling it back in, buying a number of used doors and refinishing them for the basement (which is not even close to door-ready), and volunteering for a leadership position in Mister’s play group. These things were new. But they didn’t scare me. Instead, with each new thing my hands did, my energy renewed.
So I approached my writing with the same idea: try something new. I applied for the Rutgers One-on-One Plus conference. It was something I’d never done before. And I got in. I tried a different technique for revision. And it is helping. I even had a scene for a new story idea in a totally new genre (YA probably) eek out (gulp).
My hands seemed to know what my writing brain didn’t: to get out of a lull, I need to try something new.
So I’m trying something else new. I’m not going to beat myself up when my writing isn’t as productive as I’m used to. I’m going to go with the flow, let it work out, and try something new.
6 Ways Out of a Writing Slump by Darcy Pattison: http://www.darcypattison.com/writing-life/6-ways-out-of-writing-slump/
Blog post on when to stop writing by K. M. Weiland: http://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/2013/05/5-reasons-you-should-stop-writing.html