What do you do when you have nothing to write? nothing to say? no spark of creativity begging a bit of tinder and a breath of air?
[There are some this never happens to; there are some who never admit to it; and there are some who mock those who suffer through it. There are also those who abuse it. If this describes you, feel free to skip this post.]
I have several remedies, myself, depending upon the project, the time of year, my mood...
1. Sometimes I write, regardless. I set a word goal and meet it, regardless of the flotsam I turn out. The purpose is quantity, not quality, and the goal is simply to slog it out. Keep writing until I find my rhythm again.
I know Vince Lombardi says that only perfect practice makes perfect, but I ignore that for the time being.
2. Sometimes I let it percolate. This might sound like a cop-out, but it's not. At least not entirely. The human brain is amazing, and left simmering on the back burner, your story may just find its flavor. I don't rush it -- I just sift through thoughts and sensory experiences and play with story lines.
Eventually enough falls into place that the story or chapter or plot piece gushes out, and my hands are merely the tool, trying to keep pace.
3. Sometimes I write poetry. I focus on language, brevity, impact, the senses. I don't write for others or post my endeavors or secretly hope to someday publish a packet of poems. But I focus on quality, on falling in love with words again, on writing.
4. Sometimes I blog about it. I approach this, most often, obliquely, not wanting to complain or whine or rail against the writing gods. Or bore my readers. Something happens, though, when I do finally put it down in black and white. Answers pop. Plot lines untangle. I find a trail, sometimes faint, which I can follow -- and it's always surprising.
5. Sometimes I read. When all else fails (or, more likely, when I'm feeling rebellious and unwilling to try), I read. I start with mindless drivel and work up to something I'd like to eventually emulate. I start by just trying to immerse my brain in something other than "work" and end up analyzing character and plot and subplots and conflict. And, more often than not, I'm inspired to return to my own writing.
Unfortunately for this post, my problem of late is not of the Wall but rather of the Obstacle. As in "must go to bed" and "must go to work" and "must eat" -- because, for whatever delightful reason, the words are rushing forth and I can barely keep up.
I hope I suffer from this problem for a long, long time.