The Writers Circle: When Inspiration Doesn’t Strike

One of our goals here at Today’s Author is to help all of the writers among us to do what we love to do: write. One of the best ways to accomplish this is by talking to each other and learning from each other.  Our Writers Circle series is designed to do just that – provide a chance for us to discuss writing, editing and publishing questions.

This week’s topic is:

Writers often experience times where the ideas just aren’t flowing well (or at all).  Today we’d like to discuss how you have dealt with these droughts and what you did or do to break out of them when they occur. Do you sit at the computer and just write… anything… to get the words flowing?  Do you change media and write by hand for a while? Do you go out to a different coffee shop to seek inspiration?  Let’s discuss what has worked, what hasn’t worked and what you might consider trying the next time you encounter a bump in the creative road. 

Let’s discuss this in the comments and see what our community thinks.


11 thoughts on “The Writers Circle: When Inspiration Doesn’t Strike

  1. I find that sitting and just trying to write something can frustrate me a bit. I tend to pick up a writing magazine or read a book that’s part of a genre I haven’t read for a while.

  2. I’ve found that the most useful thing in breaking through a period of blankness is music, specifically, soundtrack music. For me, this takes the form of the LOTR/Hobbit/Game of Thrones soundtracks (or similar types of thing). I find as soon as the music starts I can write again! If that fails (and it rarely does), I watch the LOTR Extended Edition special features, it always manages to get my creative juices flowing. But mainly, I’d say its music.

  3. I always have a couple of writing projects working. They seem to rejuvenate me if I ever get stale on one. It’s kind of like hobbies–as breaks from daily activity. For me, it’s different gigs.

    So, if I do find myself stymied on one topic, I switch to another–fiction vs. non-fiction vs journalism vs whatever. I find it’s not really the writing that’s stalled, but the brain hasn’t come up with the next step. I need more time to percolate the thoughts, so I give it that by changing topics.

    Does that make sense?

    • Yes. Makes total sense. At this point I’m happy to have time to work on ONE work in progress… but I think if I were working on multiple items it would be a similar situation as to what you describe. I do it at work all the time — when I’m coding a feature and get stuck, I move to another feature for a while. So, too, it should work for fiction!

  4. I’m most or less home-bound so the option of going to a coffee shop with a laptop or a notebook isn’t really feasible. Usually I will sit at the PC and see if something worthwhile will come to me. If it doesn’t, I’ll go do something else in the house like dusting, cleaning off the counters, anything to take my mind off writing for a while. It usually works for me.

    • That will work in your favor, Glynis. I know from friends-who-know-this-stuff that those open wifis are extremely insecure. Better to use a personal hotspot.

    • I find that you can get some “people watching” done just by watching the news, or The Weather Channel or a sporting event on TV. When they pan the crowd at a game, or when there’s some dork jumping around behind Jim Cantore during one of his reports, come up with a story line for that person or maybe a story line in which Jim Cantore turns around and punches the idiot who is making a scene on national television (NOT that I’m implying Mr. Cantore has a violent nature or anything like that… this is fiction, after all).

  5. I go out into the world. I find being around nature really helps me since it is what I love most, and I am able to truly be one with my thoughts

  6. I just type random sentences, maybe random words and I go through my day, I even pick up events that happen at the moment and then inspiration strikes right after!

  7. Sometimes to best thing to do is to get up and walk away and do something entirely different. If all you are doing is spending your time torturing yourself at your screen, begging for inspiration to come, the only experience or perspective you are gaining is that of a person glued unsuccessfully to a screen. Life is out there, so you need to experience it; have conversations with people, meet well defined characters, take in other situations. If you ask the universe for inspiration it rarely lets you down. Just be careful what you wish for! All writing comes from life one way or another so the best thing to do is to live it and draw from it. 🙂

  8. I find early mornings are the best time to write, before breakfast and everything else, when my mind is fresh and empty. Also, reading readingg and reading (good literature obviously). I also agree with the view that sometimes you just have to start putting words on paper to beat the initial inhibitions of starting again after a long dry spell, until the good stuff eventually starts to pour out.

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