What to Do When the Well is Dry

It may not appear so, judging from the amount of items I have been posting during the past few weeks, but my creative well is starting to run dry. For those who write for fun and/or profit, I don’t have to describe just how frustrating that feeling can be. I have dozens of half-finished stories gathering e-dust on my flash drive, but all I can do is stare blankly at them while a cold wind blows through my brain.

I’ve discussed this creative dryness with a number of writer friends, trying to find out what to do during those times. There are some who believe that we should simply press on with our writing until the drought is over, especially if you’re working on a deadline. Others believe that it’s better to step away for awhile in order to recharge and find inspiration. I suppose the truth is somewhere in between.

As for me, I prefer to step back and recoup. I can’t force myself to write (or at least to write anything of quality), or it becomes a chore instead of a passion. This doesn’t necessarily mean that I should shun all things pertaining to writing. There are other things that I can do that will enhance my future scribblings without actually having to pick up a pen or clack away on a keyboard. For example, working a customer service job gives me unlimited opportunities to observe people in their natural habitat. I mentally file away physical characteristics, behavior, quirks, generally anything that I could use in a latter creative writing project. As you might have seen from some of my other blog entries in “Tales from a Library Wonk,” my job provides a wealth of story fodder.

I also give myself chances to daydream (all those years of staring blankly out the windows of classrooms did not go to waste!). Sometimes, a story (or pieces of a story) will emerge through the mists of fantasy. Other times, when my mind is relaxed, I am hit with a bolt of sudden inspiration, as if God opened my brain’s mailbox and dropped in a completed story.


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