April 2018 is a big month for aspiring writers, poets, and other creatives. Currently, I am participating in Camp NaNoWriMo by writing a short story collection. Most blog posts this month will be focused on my experiences with completing this project.
Nothing is more harrowing to an aspiring creative when the ideas stop coming to you. One minute you have a flow going and suddenly you’re stumped on what to do next. You could have your protagonist fight a monster? But they’re in modern-day New York City. Paint another portrait of your pet? You already have 15 different portraits around your studio of said pet. (Seriously, do something about the pet portraits, Paul.)
What do you do when the inspiration has become stale?
This has already happened to me during my short story collection. I had an awesome premise of a protagonist investigating the disappearance of their grandfather and how it has bigger implications than first thought. However, I could not figure for the life of me what would be the connecting thread. I had all these great characters that were growing nicely from different short stories in the collection, but no drive for them to somehow intersect into a greater story.
I was frustrated and I was left staring at a blank arc for hours on end.
Then I took a hike and it was like the block had been lifted.
As writers, poets, and other creatives, it is vitally important to give ourselves breaks that allow us not to think of our current projects. You don’t have to go for a hike but maybe a walk. You could immerse yourself in one of your favorite author’s works, or just doodle random things around you. You can try out some writing prompts to keep in the habit of writing regularly.
Bouts of inspiration dry-spells are a part of the creative process. I understand that it can be very frustrating to not get words to a page, a paintbrush to a canvas, or stylish graphics to a website template. You’re tempted to force out the creativity until it appears in all its Grecian muse allure.
Take the mental break and the next part of your creative adventure will reveal itself in due time.