For many years, I was a prolific author churning out several short stories at a time. I tore through several novels, a non-fiction book on music and a memoir within a ten year period and then the muse went on strike. The stories stopped coming, the characters ghosted me, and I wondered how I would survive my dry period.
Has this happened to you? If it has, don’t push the panic button. The brain requires a rest from writing, especially if you are doing any deep healing of your life. So often we push the pain and suffering deep inside us while covering it up with workaholism. At least, that’s what I did.
I’m reminded of that line from the movie Under a Tuscan Sun when the character Frances says that the procrastination is going splendidly along and soon she would turn into a writing machine. However, inactivity doesn’t always equate procrastination or laziness. It also does not imply that the muse has disappeared forever. Maybe you fired that muse and are in the process of hiring a new one that is more in touch with the trends of the writing world.
I have learned that creativity has its seasons. Just like you can’t grow daffodils or poppies in the heart of winter, you can’t push yourself to write anything meaningful when your creativity is going through its fallow stage. Ask any farmer about cycles and seasons and they’ll tell you that pushing and prodding doesn’t get the job done. However, patience and going with the flow allows creativity to return, and in a more mature way. Life happens when you walk away from the laptop.
Besides, we can’t write all the time just because we call ourselves writers. And don’t listen to people who guilt-trip you with the sharp words, “What have you written lately?” Those words are pure poison. And they won’t coax the muse out from hiding. She’ll run for the hills when she hears harsh judgment from others, especially non-writers.
So here’s what you can do when you are in between writing projects:
- Repair relationships, especially with close friends and family
- Deal with the hard emotional issues such as co-dependence
- Heal your mind, body, and spirit
- Go on a writing retreat and you’ll be inspired by the other writers
- Go to a writing conference
- Take workshops
- Go back and rewrite or edit your past work
- Take a vacation
- Research a topic that ignites your passion
- Adopt a pet
- Take a hobby like gardening, knitting, or even adult coloring
- Read back issues of your favorite writer’s magazine
- Write articles
- Interview authors or review books
- Pitch your past projects
- Learn about the Law of Attraction
- Spend time in nature
- Do the things that you didn’t have the time to do when you were writing
- Read books and short fiction
- Create a vision board
You can add other activities to this list. The point is not to beat yourself up and to wait out the season you are in, metaphorically speaking. Then when the writing waves appear again, make sure you are poised to get out your surfboard.
I am an astrologer-coach who specializes in the creative process. Sign up at Whole Astrology or a coaching session, a card reading, or an astrology reading. I am also an author of several unpublished books. If you are an agent seeking something truly unique, please contact me.