What do you do when you just can't write another word?

Personally, I need to set a date with myself for some alone time with my characters.  It's been so long since I've been productive that I'm feeling pretty distanced from my old friends.  I need to head over to Barnes and Noble, take a corner table all by myself, wrap my hands around a hot paper cup filled with coffee, close my eyes and let my characters speak to me.  What would they say, I wonder.  I'm going to continue wondering for a while because I'm not sure when I'll get away by myself.  To be honest, I can hardly imagine what that would be like.  I guess I'll settle for trying to tune into their voices when my head hits the pillow or my feet pound the treadmill.

Just in case I steal away I'll keep some napkins and a pen in my purse.

Maybe I need some fresh ideas for inspiration.

Oh, Christy, I know what you mean. Last March I did get away - went to a work conference - 2 nights alone in a hotel room with my laptop. DIDN'T. WRITE. A. WORD. It was too quiet, too unfamiliar, no SpongeBob in the background (it seemed weird to turn it on when I was alone!). My best inspiration for A New Day was writing my dialogue long-hand. In fact, I ended up writing about 40 written pages helping myself know the characters. Most of what I wrote didn't make it in the final version, but it helped a lot. So far, I haven't needed to do that with Coyote Hotel. But I do need to turn off the internet for awhile.  

(Hmm, we should really think of something to help us along. Contest, anyone?)

What DO you do?


  1. Erica, my hand cramps up just imagining writing actual paragraphs out "the old-fashioned" way. Jotting notes, okay. Sketching an outline, sure. But 40 pages?! The hotel part sounds really good though.

  2. Isn't it funny, just when you want to write, it doesn't come. I email myself ideas all the time. It's almost like we need chaos to write... LOL great post! Good luck finding the words ;o)

  3. Thanks for the great comments on my entry for the blogfeast. And Alice would be flattered if you took her picture for your screen saver or background.

    Ernest Hemingway said what worked for him when he was stuck for what to write, he would write a sentence stating what he felt to be true. Then, he'd write another even if it had no connection to what he was writing about. By the time he got to the end of the page and read all the sentences, they would all lead him to what he needed to write next in his novel.

  4. Roland - Well, if it worked for Hemingway, far be it for us to argue! One foot in front of the other, right?

    And thanks, Erica! The treadmill, SpongeBob, chaos - it's so funny how our minds can work (or refuse to work).

  5. Oh goodness. I hate it when that happens. I'm in a sort of a writing rut with my YA novel - the only full novel I have. It's gone through so many rewrites, and I have to do it yet again, which means a complete rewrite of the first three chapters, and I haven't been able to write a word for a month.

    Instead, I cheated and jumped into a different assignment. I had a neat idea for an Icelandic MG and I finished writing the final climax today. That means that there are only 1-2 chapters left (the chapters are short, only around 1,200 words long). I've had to drag my butt to the computer several times to continue writing it though. But each time I did, I just forced myself to type and before long I was in the middle of the fantasy world, happily typing until my 1,200 word quota for the day was done (and often then some).

    I don't know how I'm going to tackle my YA novel. I think I might let it sit until the beginning of next year. By then, I'll have finished my creative writing class at Uni, so maybe that'll help me get things going again. What always helped me in the past was to read what I had already written in the story...but how do you do that when you're writing a completely different beginning?


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