Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Wednesday Selfie ~ My Muse is Out to Lunch

“Today I have nothing to say,” I typed after staring at the screen for what seemed to be hours. I tried to think of something witty, compelling. After all I’m a writer. Maybe if I started over again, I could pull the paper out of the typewriter roller, crush it and throw it in the basket. But that wasn't going to happen. I’m using a computer. I heave a heavy sigh and stared at the blank screen.

There are lots of reasons why we reach a barrier: censor our work, stress in our ‘other’ life, rejections, low self esteem, I could go on, but you get the picture.

Here are some tips to help move forward:
  1. Develop and follow a writing schedule even if you write only a few hundred words. If you are consistent and sit down to write on a schedule, your mind will react accordingly.
  2. Don’t be hard on yourself. Just write. Save the critique for later when you edit.
  3. Don’t panic. Panicking will only make the block worse. The less you think about what you’re doing the better your writing will be. Let it flow.
  4. Take some time off especially if you have just finished one project. Give yourself time to recharge your batteries and gather new experiences.
  5. Set reasonable deadlines and goals for yourself. You may also want to find a writing group for support. It’s good to touch base with other writers and understand you are not alone. Commiserating puts things in perspective.
  6. Take a good look at any long standing issues that stop you from writing. Writing can be cathartic. Write about your anxieties and talk them out, preferably with another writer.
  7. Work on more than one project. Sometimes a second project can spur ideas for the first.
  8. Try a writing exercise. Just for fun. Finish this sentence: Like a butterfly, she magically …
  9. Get away from your desk for a while. You need to stretch your legs, get the blood going. Go to the gym, browse your favorite book store, or go for a walk. When you come back to your desk you will feel renewed.
  10. Remember why you started writing and don’t give up. Think about the excitement, how much fun you had getting the words down. Recapture the spirit that is the muse. 
This past weekend I joined friends from the Hudson Valley Chapter of RWA at their annual retreat. I packed up the car and went with goals in mind. The hour long drive up into the Jersey mountains gave me time to decompress. 

Liz and Stephie planned a fluid program. We spent the day writing and the evening brainstorming with a bit of partying. It was great unplugging from my day-to-day and spending time with other writers. I came home with great ideas how to resolve the plot issues for my WIP, renewed energy for writing, and had a wonderful time with friends. The weight lifted, I'm ready to invite the muse back to my desk. 


  1. If feeling you're blocked on writing, try putting yourself in a situation where you are so time-pressed that you can't write, which may be a relief initially but eventually you're longing to just sit down and write more than anything else. I'm in the middle of a major move, and more than anything else I would love to have a lovely 2 or 3 hours of peace and quiet (and tranquility!) to get some serious writing done! The time will come . . . just not soon.

    1. Thanks for stopping by. The odd thing is I do long to write, but when I sit down nothing happens. That's why the retreat was so great. I hope you have an easy move... and unpacking.

  2. I liked Beppie's comment. We often don't appreciate something until it's gone. Your helps on this post were pure gold, Ruth. Thank you! Now, off to write!

  3. Thank you for sharing these tips, Ruth! Just last night, I tried to write a bit while on a flight from Toronto. I could hardly get through the first sentence. Beppie's comment is spot on. My life is so hectic, and I crave those few minutes of quiet when I can escape into my writing. But last just wouldn't come to me. Your comments on not being hard on yourself, letting the words flow without editing as I go, and not panicking hit me between the eyes this morning. I really appreciate this post. I needed to hear this! THANK YOU!!

    1. Hugs, Lane. So many things get in the way. I want so much to work on my WIP, I know what I need to do but I can't focus on it. I think I need to reread the story and get to love my characters again. I think that may be the secret for me.

      I'm glad my post helped.