Dealing With the Dry Spells

This photo helped me out of a writing slump. What works for you?

I’ve been in a writing slump for a few weeks. The hardest part about being in a writing slump is recognizing it for what it is. I feel slow, like I’m walking through jell-o all day. I have a constant sense that something is wrong, but I don’t know what. My emotions become flat – no great joys and also no deep sorrows. It’s tough, when this happens. Sometimes I even have the realization that if I would just write something, I would feel better. But the writing doesn’t come easily and it’s lousy writing and I start to beat myself up.

Then something happens that turns the switch in my brain back on, and the “aha” moment of realization lights the light, and I’m back.

This time, a few simultaneous things ignited the fire. As I write this, we are away from home, visiting dear friends, and Kathy reminded me yesterday that I need to keep writing no matter what. There was also some new activity on this blog that brought me back to the site and to some new blogs I hadn’t seen before. (Thank you, poetart!) And yesterday some new inspiration enabled me to write a poem that was much improved over recent mediocre lines.

It’s weird how inspiration arrives, sometimes. Yesterday it was a quick glance at one of my laptop’s desktop photos. I have a bunch of pictures that rotate every minute; they are all from our “Great Adventure” travels of last summer, so there’s nothing new there. But this one shot of Capitol Reef National Park suddenly put a poem in my head and I wrote it out quickly.

Perhaps the next time I’m drowning in a writing slump, I’ll recognize the signs for what they really are, and I’ll remember what I need to do in order to pull myself up over the edge:

  • Be patient — don’t beat myself up
  • Read favorite poems
  • Read favorite poets
  • Read my own blog
  • Read other blogs about writing and poetry
  • Remember that I need to write as much as I need to breathe

Here’s a question for other writers: What do YOU do to pull yourself out of a dry spell?

Life is good.