When Inspiration Has Fled the House-Writer’s Pause

This week, I’ve been plagued with nasty sinus headaches. The past two days my head has throbbed and throbbed. With no end in sight. Only when I sleep do I escape it. Not exactly the best situation to be drafting new scenes.

When I have a headache, inspiration has fled the house. I look at my outline and gulp. I have to figure out the scenes needed to get from point A to point B. And shit, I didn’t work out how certain things feel/work. Holy Hell. This is gonna suck.

But I have my 1K word count rule/day. Doesn’t matter if the ideas are flowing or the waterfall is bone dry. I have to write. Damn. Damn. Triple Damn. So the past 2 days. My scenes suck. I’m fumbling through them, knowing they are rough rough drafts and serious rewrites will be needed. But I’m putting words down. Go me!

I can edit words. I cannot revise a blank page. I cannot build off of a blank page. I cannot decide what isn’t working on a blank page. So I throw down sentences. And once I hit 1K I stop. Write notes on what the next scene may be. But I stop. Because it’s not going well but at least it’s going.

I think of this as writer’s pause, not block. I’ve got a few ways I can take the story to get to the next main plot point, but I’m trying to figure out which is best. Then I end up writing one and possibly rewriting it later.

What do you do when inspiration has fled the house? Do you take a few days off? Keep writing? Do chores? How do you cope?

Wordcount:55, 497

This entry was posted in Uncategorized, Writing and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to When Inspiration Has Fled the House-Writer’s Pause

  1. berry says:

    I work out and play music. My cds inspire me at times. Certain songs have strong meaning and get me revved up when I need it.

  2. Pingback: Reblog: When Inspiration Has Fled the House–Writerโ€™s Pause « Kourtney Heintz's Journal

  3. klynwurth says:

    Kourtney, this shows your commitment to writing. The more I write, the more I embrace it as one of my life’s Great Choices. While anyone can be too ill to write now and then, as writers we don’t wait for inspiration, we mine it — going deep and wide to find words of value to us. We chew through a lot of rock that seems useless, but as you imply, every word on the page is a draft. Thanks for reminding us. To answer your question, I keep my guitar next to my writing desk. If I cant find words, I play music for a while, giving the verbal parts of my brain time to rest and refresh. Great post, both times. Kelly

    • Thanks Kelly! I try to suck inspiration out of my life. Sometimes my characters fight and say things I need to say. I love the imagery of “mining inspiration” that’s a fantastic turn of phrase. ๐Ÿ™‚ Wow, that’s so cool–that you play the guitar. A nice way to switch gears and let your mind wander.

      Aw thanks! I’m glad to hear that. I thought it might be one worth re-visiting. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. crubin says:

    I like to set a goal of 500-1000 words daily whether those words are crap or not. So I really haven’t suffered writer’s block because I manage to get something down. Unfortunately, now that summer is here; kids are home; and vacations are scheduled, there’s not much writing at all going on. ๐Ÿ™

    • I totally agree. My 1k a day rule for drafting has me finishing up my WIP this weekend/early next week. I can relate. Last summer I took a tour of Asia and was not writing for 9 weeks. Well besides blogs. But I let my mind wander and play with stuff. By the time Fall came I had the opening scene for my WIP in my head. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Sometimes the pre-writing thinking is as important as the writing, especially if it helps you hit the ground running. ๐Ÿ™‚ Happy Summer!

      • crubin says:

        I agree about the importance of pre-writing. Yes, we should try to write every day, but I think we should also “pre-write” every day. ๐Ÿ™‚

        • And sometimes we have to let our lives intrude and sweep us away from our desk. But in order to feel guilt free we have to also buckle down and get some writing done first. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. Sometimes I just sit down and plow through it, and sometimes I take a break to recharge. I think it just depends. I wish you good luck, Kourtney! P.S. Sometimes I will crack open a bottle and have a glass of wine.

    • Naomi, it sounds like you have a good handle on what works for you. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve found that setting a daily word requirement gets the novel drafted, but I need to give myself a couple days off each week and at the end of the month a week off. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I love the idea of having a glass of wine. I just picked up a delightful Moscato called Innocent Bystander. LOL. It just seemed to fit.

  6. 4amWriter says:

    I haven’t been writing anything new for a while, just revising, and I think that’s almost as bad as not writing fresh. My imagination has stalled, and now I have tried to figure out how to rework my schedule so that I can devote an hour or two to writing a new story.

    Normally, I would simply sit down and pants away. No need to really have any direction, just throw words down. That’s considered my “warm-up”. After about an hour passes, the story is ready to flow and I can make some progress for another hour before I need to move on to the next task in my life (usually kids or the dog or the husband ๐Ÿ™‚ )

    I really like Naomi’s suggestion–however, because my free block of time is 4am, I’m not sure drinking wine is the best choice, lol

    • I like switching off between creating and revising. I try to have one manuscript I’m drafting in between revising another. Usually after 6 months of hard revising, I’m dying to get back to creating too. ๐Ÿ™‚

      I like to have an idea of what the scene is and then let it flow. Like a beach party and then what happens there is up to the characters.

      I agree. 4am and wine may not be the best combination. ๐Ÿ™‚

Any thoughts or reactions or favorite foods you want to share?