All writers experience writer’s block at one time or another. Each of us have methods to help us find the words again. Mine may be questionable.
Call it writer’s block, lack of inspiration, or feeling just plain stuck. Nothing makes a writer want to dive headfirst into a gallon of ice cream more than not being able to sling words, or maybe that’s just me. For the last several months I have been hard pressed for writing topics. Day after day I wander around the house, waiting for the lightning bolt of awesomeness that strikes whenever the perfect idea manages to work its way past the ADD section of my mind and settles down in the creative zone. I have spent hours watching the cursor flash at the top of a blank page, to the point where I began using my monitor for target practice. My kids now refuse to hold the monitor for me unless I remove my blindfold. They take the fun out of everything.
Some of my writer friends have pleased the gods of prose, thus their typing fingers fly and their readerships prosper. We all know these writers, and truth be told we might envy them a little. They crank out piece after piece of undeniably good stuff and the praise just keeps coming. We gag a little inside as we congratulate them on their continued success. We wonder when our time will come that we may prosper and annoy other writers. Perhaps it is time to grease the palms of those gods of text. I’ll use last night’s pot roast as a burnt offering and I’m sure I can find something in my teenager’s room that will qualify for a sin offering. I’ll say a few words over everything and see what happens.
Like the bass singer who yearns to be a soprano, I am a nonfiction writer dying to write a novel. So far I have two in the works and an underdeveloped idea for a third, for which I have already begun doing research. ADD much? I posted a few chapters of one of my wannabe novels online for feedback. One reader left kind words, but also commented that she couldn’t wait to see where the story was going. If the truth be told, neither could I. I should have emailed her for suggestions. Hey, if it weren’t for plot, character, structure and length, I know I would have written at least a few bad novels by now.
Where to find inspiration? At times one must leave the house. Most writers I know live like bats, only venturing out when the cereal’s gone and being sociable when it is unavoidable. I find that interacting with people who won’t turn to dust when the sun hits them can be helpful. Try eavesdropping on a few conversations in the food court at the mall. You never know what little gem you might unearth. Oh, and definitely don’t get so engrossed that you add your own input to the conversation about little Johnny’s mother’s affair with her second cousin, Earl. I had to run through the kitchen of the Chinese buffet place to get to my car that day. Good eggrolls, though.
The timeless advice given to writers is to write what you know. I know my own life, not that I live such a fascinating one. Raising kids does not qualify as a new trend. However, most of what I write does stem from personal experience. I try to find the humor in events and situations, even in the mundane. Sometimes those inspirational situations and events come from the lives of others.
I just don’t tell them.