Depending on what part of the world you live in, the season of Spring means it's time to wake up the dead. The weather warms, buds appear on the ends of dormant branches, animal babies are born, the grass grows -- needing to be cut, which, if you're me, wakes your bear-like husband on his annual mission to defeat the dandelions. In all places on Earth except, perhaps, deepest Antarctica or equatorial deserts, a season of renewal spreads over the land at some time of the year.
This two-week period at the Diner, we're going to be talking about creativity and renewal for the writer. Topics may range from seasonal celebrations to methods for harnessing any bursts in creativity you may have.
There can be droughts at any given time in a writer's career path, but you can coax yourself through a drought with judicious applications of bottled water and great books. We can also experience the equivalent of natural disasters -- upheaval in the family, a computer that explodes. And hibernation is supposed to be cyclical, with a guarantee that one's dormant writer-self will at some point awaken, full of energy and starving for words.
But what happens to writers experiencing a winter of creativity who can't seem to thaw out the ice? When their skills or their urge to write is dormant and shows no signs of poking its nose out of the den in search of a keyboard? There are a couple things you can try to melt the snowdrifts and find the blooming daffodils.
1) Till the soil. I recommend the Club 100 method, a venture run by author Beth Pattillo wherein members attempt to write a minimum of 100 words on a WIP for 100 days in a row. Keeping the heater pointed at your sluggish creativity may free it quicker than a caveman on ice. 100 words only takes a couple minutes, so even the busiest human can find time to squeeze that in.
2) Plant seeds. Read other books. Watch movies. Go see a play or a concert. Eavesdrop on people at the mall. Read the newspaper, where details of other people's lives might grow into a story.
3) Fertilize the garden. (That's not intended to sound so kinky, but hey, if it works...) Deliberately do things that enrich your storytelling abilities beyond the seed-planting mentioned in the previous suggestions. Try writing something bad, something sure to win the Bulwar-Lytton (http://www.bulwer-lytton.com/) contest. Try an interactive story (where each episodes ends in a cliff-hanger and a choice). Participate in a round robin. Write something short and biographical, embellishing details as desired. Write a letter.
4) Watch your stories grow. Reread some of your old work. Revise something. Pore through your idea file, your half-finished snippets, your rejection letters and contest entries (yep, even the rejection letters!). Remind yourself you're a writer and you enjoy writing.
5) If all else fails, quit. You may be surprised just how motivating that can be!
What do you do to yank yourself out of a creativity winter?
A SPELL FOR SUSANNAH--Available now from Samhain Publishing
http://www.jodywallace.com/ * http://meankittybox.blogspot.com/