Friday, April 24, 2015

Pulling Words Out of Thin Air: The Writer's First Aid Kit for Survivng the Drought

Sometimes stringing words together is a breeze… other times it’s like pulling teeth!

There is no cure for the various writing ailments that plague us but in order to survive the inevitable ups and downs of life as a writer you’d be wise to get prepared for when you get sidelined by a nasty virus. And as luck would have it, you have more quick fixes in your arsenal than you probably realize. These are free, easy remedies to help cure what ails you.

Ready to unpack your kit? First things first, assess the damage.

1. Have a story chat with a friend.

Whether it’s a writer friend or a normal ;)  if you are finding your words are blocked it’s a good idea to pull them out of your mind and air them out in the open. Sometimes they take shape when they are introduced to a new environment. Or sometimes you just need an outsider’s perspective. The diagnosis might be scary but at least you’ll know what you’re up against!

2. Take a walk/run.

Find a place where you can unplug for a bit and leave it all behind. Move your body. Get your blood flowing. When the pressure is off and you aren’t nearly seizing from that ever blinking cursor, the stress falls away and underneath the tough shell is the tender meat of your story ready to be plucked out and arranged on the page. Sometimes a drink of fresh air is all you need to clear your head.

3. Watch your favorite movie or tv show.

This is a different medium of story but it gets your gears going nonetheless. You start thinking about the way the plot unfolds. You make guesses. You get enrapt in the dialogue and character dynamics. Getting engaged in another story often helps you draw conclusions about how you want to craft your own.

4. Similarly, read a GREAT book!

Never stop being a student. Study craft, sure, but learn by example. Read something great that inspires you to greatness!

5. Eavesdrop and people watch. (mwahahah!)

Life imitates art! Real life is the best fodder for story! Pay attention. The plot is unfolding all around you.

6. Have a good cry.

Sometimes we’re all pent up dealing with life that we get congested on the page. There are times when the best remedy for that is a good old fashioned cry-fest. Let it all out. It’s healing, cathartic, and cheaper than any shrink in town. And once you’ve sobbed it out, just maybe some of that emotion can rearrange itself on paper to show more vulnerable, genuine emotion. If your dam is clogged your genius might not flow out onto the page. Just maybe try not to cry one your computer. Water and electronics don’t mix!

7. Pray.

This should probably have been number 1! When we don’t have the answers, HE always does.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. -Phillipians 4:6-7

8. Dig out the chocolate…

The ultimate BRAIN food and mood-lifter. Simple pleasures work wonders! And well, chocolate sure never hurt so dig in and find your bliss!
<3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3
Amy Leigh Simpson is the completely exhausted stay-at-home mama to the two wild-child, tow-headed toddler boys, one pretty little princess baby, and the incredibly blessed wife of her hunky hubby.
She writes Romantic Suspense chalked full of grace that is equally inspiring, nail-biting, and hilarious. And a little saucy! Okay fine, a lot saucy. :) She is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers, and now uses her Sports Medicine degree to patch up daily boo-boos. Her greatest ambitions are to create stories that inspire hope, raise up her children to be mighty warriors for Christ, invent an all-dessert diet that works, and make up for years of sleep deprivation. 

She is represented by Chip MacGregor of MacGregor Literary, Inc.


kaybee said...

Hi Amy,
These are good tips. I like the reading/television one. GOOD television such as PBS or reruns of "Lost" can recharge a person. We just need to know when to pull the plug. I finally realized that binge-watching "Beverly Hillbillies" on Retro TV wasn't helping my writing any. Or anything else in my life. I'm also a huge fan of getting away. I live near Boston and I like to go down and just wander around the city. It seems to recharge me creatively. Change of scene really does it for me, but I always make sure to bring a notebook and pen because sometimes the inspiration strikes before I get back home! Making it work is what counts, and depending on God to pull our metaphorical camel through our metaphorical needle.
Kathy Bailey

Amy Leigh Simpson said...

I'm the same way, Kathy! Though I do notice I tend to stick with TV shows that sort of follow my genre. Castle, Bones, Psych, and the Mentalist are great at stirring my suspense noodle. And I actually prefer reading books that are more heavily skewed toward the romance, but that's also how I write. And Yep, fresh air is like a magical elixir! Hope the writing is flowing for you!!!

Jeanne Takenaka said...

Great suggestions, Amy! I enjoy watching a good movie when I'm struggling. Or reading an author who amazes me. :)

Amy Leigh Simpson said...

I think I'll go get inspired like that right now, Jeanne 😊