For a writer, sometimes the scariest monster–the killer of inspiration–is the BLANK PAGE.
When we are trying to start something new, or finish something we’ve started in the past, finally committing and sitting down to write something can be horribly intimidating. Our inspiration dries up and cannot be found. At these moments, sometimes the best thing we can do is to walk away from the beast. Sometimes, in order to be productive with our writing, we need to step away from it and feed our soul.
What do you do to feed your soul? For me, I love to sit with my horses or go for a long trail ride. Sometimes, I like to work on something specific in the dressage arena or tackle that thing I have been avoiding to reach my equestrian goals.
Other times, I like to sit down to draw, or do crafts. In the past, I have spent time doing cross-stitch, embroidery, beading, and coloring when the words don’t flow. Doing tasks that require a different kind of concentration and focus often allow our subconscious to let go, to unlock and set free our imagination. The dam is broken and the river of thoughts and ideas that have been bottled up breaks free.
Recently, my father passed away. Dealing with the emotions of that loss, and all of the other stuff that comes along with the death of a loved one has made it difficult for me to get motivated to write. But in the sorrow, I’ve found inspiration. My father was a wonderful and brilliant man. He was a scientist and a painter—gifted with a combination of skills that many of us only dream about.
I think my father used his art as a way to keep himself inspired in his scientific work, and when he retired, as a way to keep his creativity alive. He was feeding his soul and creating beautiful things. Since his passing, I’m inspired to do the same. I feel more in touch with myself, more in tune with my feelings and emotions, and more sensitive to the world around me. This heightened sensitivity has helped me in the mourning process and has also helped me to find inspiration every day, in things great and small.
I’ve enrolled in a colored pencil “painting” class. The reason the instructor refers to the pencil work as “painting” is because the technique she employs–burnishing–makes the pencil drawings look like oil paintings. I don’t have the time or the talent to pursue oil painting like my father did, but I still feel like I can create something beautiful. And, in making that beautiful thing, I am feeding my soul, luring back the inspiration to work on my writing projects.
So when you are on a deadline for your writing, either your own deadline, or one that perhaps an agent or editor has set for you, and the beast of the blank page is looming, step away. Take a walk in the garden. Smell the roses. Spend time with one of your animals, either in activity or in stillness. Light some candles in the bathroom and take a bubble bath. Call a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while. Meditate. Go for a run. Paint something. Do whatever it is that speaks to you to refresh your mind and your spirit. Then go back to the page and just start writing–anything for ten minutes–and voila! No more blank page.
You’ve slain the monster. Now go on and write your masterpiece!