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View Full Version : What do you do when you run out of creativity?



lemonhead
10-09-2008, 05:51 PM
I'm spastic recently. I don't know if it's pregnancy hormones or what but as my career as a SAHM (stay at home mom) approaches and I will finally have time (maybe?) for writing...I'm loosing my grip on any ability to sit down and excute anything.

I have lot's of ideas...non fiction, fiction...but I end up getting so discouraged that I just roll my eyes, push away the computer and settle in for another evening with family guy.

With non fiction it's the platform thing...I don't want to spend years developing a platform so I can finally convince someone to publish a measly little book of mine...there are more efficient ways of accomplishing my goals in those areas.

With fiction...honestly, I'm boring myself. I can't seem to find pleasure in my writing that I find in reading someone else's work.

ughh sorry this was kind of venting.

stormie
10-09-2008, 06:02 PM
Reading books is very good when you feel "stuck." It's okay. I haven't been pregnant in a long time (thirteen years) but I remember feeling--strange. Don't force those ideas on paper right now. There will be a time when you can sit down and write.

dirtsider
10-09-2008, 06:10 PM
I generally read the news on the internet and print out stories that interest me. I also enjoy watching documentaries and the like. It was a documentary that finally gave me my ephiphany about my WIP and got me writing again. Reading is always good.

Also, keep a notebook close at hand for when you get an idea but don't have the chance to sit down at the computer and write. (With kids, you're probably going to need it. lol)

HeronW
10-09-2008, 06:13 PM
You have a word that sounds intriguing, a sentence that is a malpropism, or something that catches your eye and heart--write it down as an 'egg'. Don't have to hatch it into a full blown story or novel, just let it sit in a note book or in an idea folder. Think of it as collecting pennies and when you get the urge you'll have a bankful of ideas to play with. I do that and I've 140 + idea leads from one-liners to several thousand words just sitting, patient, waiting.

regdog
10-09-2008, 06:16 PM
I take a break from writing for a while. Read some books, watch TV or movies and just forget about writing.

When I've forgotten my dead end ideas, new and better ones just start to flow that's when I start to write new plot lines in a notebook

Kate Thornton
10-09-2008, 06:30 PM
I take a break and play the "what if" game - what if that guy over there can produce ink like a squid - what would he do? Live in shame or start a business?

What if the little dog I saw wandering in the neighborhood can talk, but chooses not to. Or what if it belongs to a woman who sends it out every day to look for something? Or what if it is just lost, waiting for me to call to it? Or what if....? You get the idea.

But if my writing starts to bore me - and sometimes it does, *especially* now that I have time for it - I know it's time to do something else for a while (I paint). I also watch TV, re-runs of NCIS being my current fave, but I also like all the old crime & criminalist shows (CSI: Everywhere, Cold Case, Law & Order SUV, etc.)

Let you mind wander *without guilt* - Butt in Chair is not the only part of writing (important though it is) and you need these other parts of it too.

Vomaxx
10-09-2008, 06:36 PM
If you have run out of creativity and can't write but still want to be associated with the literary world, why not.... become an agent? :D

Straka
10-09-2008, 06:37 PM
Sometimes if I haven't been getting free time to work on my projects, I got a bit crazy. Then when I get a lot free time, I want to do so many things I end up doing nothing!

Anyway I would suggest maybe relaxing, taking the pressure off and reading a book to get the creative juices going.

maestrowork
10-09-2008, 06:44 PM
You don't run out... you just run dry a bit sometimes. Reading helps. Also, I find that giving yourself three totally different options at every plot turn helps as well. Gives you something to think about and may spawn new ideas. I also find brainstorming with others (writers, your beta, friends, etc.) helps as well.

If nothing else works, take a long walk and nap. Put it away for a while. No need to stress yourself out with a bit of a dry spell.

C.bronco
10-09-2008, 06:48 PM
A pint of Ben and Jerrys works wonders for me!

Calamity_Jones
10-09-2008, 06:53 PM
I whip up supreme commander and annihilate vast armies of robots for a few hours. Nothing like warfare without the drawbacks of death!

It requires focus and attention, planning and strategy. You can't allow your mind to wander and think about other things when you're watching nuclear missiles falling like rain on your enemy! Mua ha ha ha haaa!

Bookdragonette
10-09-2008, 07:12 PM
I read and do a lot of other things that don't require me to put my words to paper. Unless you count blogging, of course. I still do that.

Charlie Horse
10-09-2008, 07:16 PM
Writing can be like sex; sometimes you have to tune it out and just go through the motions.

ishtar'sgate
10-09-2008, 08:00 PM
I'm spastic recently. I don't know if it's pregnancy hormones or what but as my career as a SAHM (stay at home mom) approaches and I will finally have time (maybe?) for writing...I'm loosing my grip on any ability to sit down and excute anything.

It could be the hormones. When I was pregnant with my first child I finally quit work out of frustration. My bosses thought it was funny but I'd no sooner get up from my desk to go to a file cabinet than I'd forget what I wanted in the darned thing. This was no isolated incident. My mind just didn't work the way it was supposed to. Relax, don't pressure yourself. You've got plenty of time to think about creating fictitious worlds; you're creating something pretty fantastic already.:)

lemonhead
10-09-2008, 08:21 PM
It could be the hormones. When I was pregnant with my first child I finally quit work out of frustration. My bosses thought it was funny but I'd no sooner get up from my desk to go to a file cabinet than I'd forget what I wanted in the darned thing. This was no isolated incident. My mind just didn't work the way it was supposed to. Relax, don't pressure yourself. You've got plenty of time to think about creating fictitious worlds; you're creating something pretty fantastic already.:)


Oh work is horrific. I just hope no one catches on how terrible of an employee pregnancy makes me until I'm away on maternity leave. It's like the baby takes your brain for the duration!!

Pomegranate
10-09-2008, 09:12 PM
For me, creativity flows in cycles. Sometimes I'm prolific and compelled to create, sometimes I'm stuck or fallow. I used to beat myself up during the times when I couldn't make myself write. Then I realized that it comes back eventually. Sometimes I don't write but I paint or do other things for a while and come back to writing later.

You're creating a new person right now, maybe your writing energy is tied up in that for a while. Like others suggested above, keep a notebook around and write down things that interest you. Otherwise just take a break and don't feel guilty about it.

Since you said your writing bores you, maybe the problem is that your "well is empty". Go on artist dates. Read books you love. Fill the wordpool back up for a while before writing.

NeuroFizz
10-10-2008, 12:41 AM
A (not THE) philosophical answer is that a creative life shouldn't be one dimensional. A (not THE) practical answer is that creativity is not a passive force that happens to someone. It can be drawn out, sometimes quite easily and sometimes with some difficulty. Sitting around waiting for that passive force to give us a smack in the emotions is itself a waste of the very thing we are hoping to come to us spontaneously. Sometimes I think the great writers' rationalization is to pass off a lack of discipline with the much more noble tag: a lack of creativity. (Please note this is not directed at any individual who has posted here, but rather is a general opinion that is based on my own experience and learning as much as on my personal observations and extrapolations).

Ageless Stranger
10-10-2008, 12:46 AM
It's very rare. But when I do run out of creativity, I walk. I just walk for hours, day after day. I soak up the world around me and before I know it, I'm feeling creative again.

a_morris
10-10-2008, 02:20 AM
I sometimes find that doing something else creative can help. I sew, I make jewellery, I have a book that I draw bad mostly abstract art in. I also find reading helps, mostly from books that are far lighter than my WIP.

Siddow
10-10-2008, 02:34 AM
hahaha...you saying you'll have time to write when you're a sahm is like my sister saying she couldn't wait to have her baby so she could get some sleep. rofl.

You're going to be exhausted for many months afterward unless you produce a good sleeper.

Other creative things DO help to spark you, as well as anything mindless that keeps your hands busy. For now, though, just relax. You're already working on your masterpiece for this year. :D

steveg144
10-10-2008, 03:40 AM
Lots of amphetamines work wonders. Ah, but you're pregnant, so that's a non-starter for you. Sorry, no other ideas. ;)

IceCreamEmpress
10-10-2008, 04:26 AM
Try The Artist's Way method. Or get the book Writing Down the Bones and do some of those exercises.

:)

bramble
10-10-2008, 08:00 AM
When I feel uncreative, I ground myself. I tell myself that I'm forbidden to write for 3 days. It's amazing how the resentment against yourself will get the things going. I find myself writing down a ton of ideas, itching to get started again. I guess I'm one of those people who chafe against restrictions. ;)

I've just grounded myself until December *sigh*. I can't imagine how many ideas I'll have for my WIP until then.

Straka
10-10-2008, 05:08 PM
Lately I haven't really run out of ideas, I sometimes only have bad or simple ideas that are strong enough to carry a project by itself. In that case I let them stew a bit more in my mind until they become more substantial.

Shadow Paetz
10-10-2008, 05:36 PM
Been there. Took two years for me to work my way back into it in a more organized fashion. However, I did do some writing while I was waiting for the muse to hit me on the head again. I kept a notebook by the television, which is also next to my bookshelf, in the middle of the house, and generally where I could reach it within seconds from anywhere. I kept a pen there, too, if my kids didn't steal it for school.

Notes. Snippets of lines. Anything that seemed to me to be worthwhile to put on paper. I did scenes in the middle of the night while everyone slept. (I was also in immense pain during this stretch, so it was difficult to spend much time in a seated position.) I never tried to think of doing a finished work. That seemed too mountainous a task. Instead, I tried to focus on creating an emotion in a scene. Honed some of the actual writing skills I'd been learning over the last ten years.

What happened later -- I had surgery, which diminished the pain and allowed me to participate in the world. I began to think about a finished project, and took notes on how it would begin and end. I began to find a focus in the little notes I'd been making. And the scenes became more than simple scenes, but hopping points into stories that are now mostly finished novels.

Don't give up, but recognize your body/mind needs. Pregnancy isn't easy. It takes a lot out of you in both body and emotion. When the muse finds you, then make sure you listen to it. Before then, just note things, take the world as it comes. It might hand you an inspiration far more easily if you don't sit in front of the computer and stare at the blank page.