What? I Can Write? When the Well Goes Dry

“A man may write at any time, if he will set himself doggedly to it.”—Samuel Johnson

When the Well Goes Dry

Sometimes there is nothing more intimidating to a writer than that blank page or computer screen staring back at you. You want to write, but when you sit down to do it you discover that suddenly all your thoughts have flown. All your ideas have fled. And that empty page or bare screen silently mocks you, mimicking the blankness of your own mind, daring you to fill it with words.

Every writer goes through dry spells from time to time; it’s part of the game. So don’t get discouraged when (not if) it happens to you. But what do you do when it does?

First of all, don’t panic. Anxiety will only choke off your creative juices as well as undermine your ability to think clearly. Dry spells come…but they also always go eventually. So don’t worry; remind yourself that the drought won’t last forever.

Second, don’t abandon your writing time just because the words aren’t coming. The more consistent you become with your writing habits, the less problem you will have with writers’ block. This doesn’t mean being idle. Here are a few suggestions.

  • Word-association. Pick out a key word from your current piece and write it down. Now take 2-3 and write down every word or phrase that your starting word brings to mind. This may open up a whole new direction to go that will get you off of dead center.

  • Read uplifting, inspirational literature: Scripture, religious devotional materials, motivational tips, poetry, a short story—anything to help stimulate your mind.

  • Take a walk. This is not abandoning your writing time. Sometimes what you need is a change of scene. As you walk, don’t focus on your mental block. Instead, relax your mind and allow yourself to soak in the sights, sounds and smells around you.