When the Writing Well Runs Dry

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

In a recent blog post, bestselling author Sarah McCoy shared the following suggestions for filling our writing wells:

Books. It is our marrow. I’ll be honest, I read very little fiction during my dry phase. I was drawn instead to nonfiction: famous persons autobiographies, biographies, science-based books even. I read new releases and books published sixty years ago. I gobbled celebrity tell-alls, chef memoirs, and everything related to British aristocracy. I highly recommend going old-school: head to your local library and bring home a haul of books. The beauty with libraries is that you don’t have to empty your wallet and you don’t have to read them all. If one topic doesn’t stir the well waters, close it, and move on to the next. The possibilities are endless.

Docufilms. One of my hidden passions. I watch at least one documentary a week. They are the precursor to today’s reality TV craze and vastly better produced, in my humble opinion. I’m a proud donor of PBS and a faithful subscriber to the TCM channel. These are my top two screen resources for historical films. I don’t adhere to a particular genre. I watch a forensic docuseries with as much gobsmacked interest as a docufilm about Oklahoman cattle farmers. Rags-to-riches stories pertaining to all fields are a particular penchant of mine.

Travel. Now that quarantine sanctions have lifted and we’re all safely vaccinating, the world feels shiny new and welcoming again. Simply getting outside of my comfort zones does massive good for the imagination! It allows me to be an anonymous observer—a third-person narrator of a new cultural experience. After all, isn’t writing simply a means of transporting readers to places, times, ideas, and people we want them to understand alongside us?

People. Be a listener. We’ve come through years of masking, self-isolating, and maintaining a six-foot distance. It feels wonderful to be close to people again. I have renewed giddiness standing in line at the coffee shop listening to the conversation behind me. So perk up those ears. Be curious. Ask questions. If you know someone who is an expert on a topic, get in touch! Be willing to talk on the phone, schedule a video call, or walk over to meet them. More often than not, an idea will come through a voice, a character, or a person sharing his/her untold story… because it needs telling.

Read the rest of the post here.

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