Blank Page, Blank Mind

Wendy Lawton

Blogger: Wendy Lawton

Tuesday.Β It’s my turn to blog. Tuesday comes around every week. A few hours ago, our esteemed leader, Janet, asked me what I was going to blog about. I had to answer, “I don’t know.”

I sat down to watch last night’s episode of Downton Abbey and I briefly thought about writing about the power of story but I’m way too depressed. <Sniff>

Last fall I attended a workshop given by Kristen Billerbeck, Christa Allen and Jenny B. Jones on how to get unstuck. One of the tricks was to write eight to ten minutes by hand without letting the pen leave the paper. It doesn’t matter what you write. If you are a novelist, you can journal as one of your characters or write a letter to your character. If you are writing nonfiction, simply journal your frustration. The rules: Don’t think. Don’t lift your pen. Set the timer. We tried it and it worked. Unfortunately it didn’t work for me as I sit here staring at a blank screen.

Another trick I’ve heard is start typing gibberish. Use the old typewriter exercises and as your fingers move, your brain may unlock and begin to type ideas that have some value. Tonight, my gibberish yielded not one jot of inspiration.

As I searched for a helpful subject I found myself wishing I had some of you on speed dial. I kept thinking I’d love to get some hints about what the writers in our blog community do to overcome that dreaded blank page.


I don’t have you on speed dial, but rather than write a blog post today, let me lean on you to write it for me. What do you do when inspiration is thin? How do you come up with a compelling subject? Do you have some tricks you’d be willing to share that never fail to get your brain going?

115 Responses

Leave a Reply

  1. Ummm. Blank comment rectangle…

    Yes, I did into a lot of trouble in Bible college, why do you ask?

    It’s ocho zero quatro, I’ll be back.

  2. I go for a drive without the radio on. Yes, I realize it’s different if you live in a place where you pass a car every minute or more, but where I live on the open prairie, I can drive for 15 mins (or longer) and not see another moving vehicle on the road. Other than keeping an eye out for critters, I allow my mind to wander. Invariably, I think about my current problem and out of the blue an idea pops up (ie God tells me). It’s the same way in the shower.

    I believe it’s because I get away from MY usual distractions and allow my brain ‘time off’ to wander where it wants. I also believe this is why some writers are successful writing in public places like Starbucks, Panera, etc. Plus, the addition of new diversions sparks ideas.

  3. Lisa says:

    I was so sad too πŸ™

    I love the pen to paper idea. That has helped unlock me many times. Other tactics, staring out the window blankly… looking through photo/art books… doing the dishes. Also, my son used to be obsessed with Pixar ‘cars with eyes’ (Lightening McQueen) Some of my greatest ideas have come when I was sitting on the floor for the one hundredth hour playing cars with him.

    Maybe the blank mind is a good thing sometimes. It open up space for new ideas to emerge that might not have come otherwise.

  4. If I can, I go for a walk. I also like Ray Bradbury’s idea of writing a list of random nouns. It usually dredges something up from our past or something that we’re working on subconsciously and gives us some raw material to work with.

  5. Jeanne T says:

    I’m chuckling because this is, no kidding, the third blog I’ve read about writer’s block this week. πŸ™‚ And, it’s only Tuesday. When I’m struggling with this, I try to play with the scene I’m stuck on and just write it. Even if it’s terrible, and then come back to it later and decide if I should re-write it or delete it. Sometimes I try taking the character the opposite direction they might normally go, just to see what happens. This doesn’t always work though. πŸ™‚

    I like the idea of free writing too. πŸ™‚ My favorite way to move beyond the block is to brainstorm with a friend.

    Sorry, my ideas aren’t very original. I’m taking notes from what others say, though, for when I begin a blog. My fear is that I’ll run out of ideas to write about. πŸ™‚

    Thanks for your transparency, Wendy!

    • Jeanne T says:

      Oops, that’s a lot of emoticons. Sorry.

    • I can’t do the free writing thing. Too much disorder for me. And my hands cannot use a pen or pencil non-stop,for more than 5 minutes.

    • Wendy Lawton says:

      Hmm. Third blog this week. Maybe I should have written about zeitgeist.

      • Addy Rae says:

        Well, seeing as to how I’m blocked, these blog posts are perfectly timed for me. πŸ™‚

        I put on headphones and either take a walk (if the weather is good) or pace indoors (my family hates this).

        Otherwise I call one of my idea friends to bounce ideas off them if it’s a work they’ve seen or to give me prompts.

        I have different friends to go to for different stages of the writing. πŸ˜‰

  6. Lori says:

    I make myself a nice steaming hot cup of tea. Usually black tea but will go with green, white, or herbal. In warmer weather, I may go for a refreshing glass of ice tea.

    Also, I find checking out favorite Web sites (like yours) as a break in my writing to be beneficial. I tried not to do that for too long of a period.

    • Amanda Dykes says:

      I’m with you, Lori. What is it about the simple, familiar process of brewing and fixing up tea? Maybe something mindless to set our hands to, so our brains are free to brew ideas.

      My favorite this week (tea, that is), is peach black tea.

      • Jan Thompson says:

        I second hot tea! Anything Irish, English, Indian. Something about tea that goes with all genres though I drink too much tea when I’m writing my historicals…

    • Wendy Lawton says:

      Perfect solution. My favorite teas are Mighty Leaf Green Tropical, Rishi White Peach Blossom and Tea Forte Green Mango Peach. I’d recommend them all.

  7. Mindy says:

    Good morning!

    When inspiration is thin I force my internal editor to remain seated quietly, then type whatever comes out of my brain in sentence form. When there is a sufficient number of paragraphs on the screen, I go back to find any gold nuggets. Most often there is at least a tiny fleck I can use. If not, I try again.

    If that doesn’t work, I watch movies/television programs/videos/plays. People inspire me to no end. Whether the stories are real or fictional, physically seeing people interact, laugh, struggle, cry, triumph, etc., always inspires me to find a piece of paper and create.

    • Wendy Lawton says:

      I like the idea of discipline. There’s nothing like a deadline to spur discipline. (Like a blog post due.)

      Louis L’Amour used to mock writers with artistic temperaments. He always said he could write in the middle of an intersection with the typewriter on his lap.

  8. I’m struggling with this a bit right now. In the first half of my WIP, I was easily knocking out a thousand words an hour. Now I’m happy to break 600. And I’m not sure how many of those 600 will stay.


    Sometimes I struggle because I’m doing too much. If that’s the case, I read a really, really, really good book. Sometimes it may even be a favorite that I’ve read about eight times already. But it helps. It gets the juices flowing again after a while.

    There’s a great blog article I’ve read where someone wrote about how she went from 2K words a day to 10K. One thing that worked for her was taking five minutes to write by hand everything she knew about the upcoming scene.

    There were a few other tips, but that’s the one that stuck with me. Sometimes I just haven’t thought it through enough, which is silly.

    • Wendy Lawton says:

      Interesting, Sally. I’m afraid that even if I had 10K worth of ideas I couldn’t type that fast.

    • Writing out (listing) as much as I can about the upcoming scene helps me keep going too.

      I also heard some good advice about when you get to the end of a chapter make sure you keep writing into the first little bit of the next to have a good place to drop back into the story when you return to writing. It works for me!

  9. I’ve now watched that episode of Downton Abbey three times and I’ve bawled like a baby through each one.

    I can’t say I get blocked, but as someone who writes historical fiction more often than not, doing as much research as possible beforehand is very helpful. Even when I used to write fan fiction stories, I would find myself digging up facts and dates to make sure I wasn’t misrepresenting something. What I have learned to do, however, is when I get to a point where I’m unsure if some event or article of clothing is period appropriate, I place in parentheses a notation and highlight it, so I know to come back. That way I’m not pulled away.

    The shower, I find, is also helpful for the times I feel myself wandering a bit.

    • WAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!! Stupid Lord Bad-Doctor!!

      Ohh, I’m going to use that highlighting thing, GREAT tip!!

      I mean, “may I use that highlighting thing?”

      • Larry says:

        For a moment I thought you were referring to Doctor Who!

        And then I realized I’ve mentioned rock operas based off of videogames and Doctor Who in the same blog today…..

        I’m off to sit in the dark and listen to some Stravinsky whilst contemplating the error of my ways.

      • Whatever helps, Jennifer. Highlight away. πŸ™‚

    • Wendy Lawton says:

      Liz Curtis Higgs once said that she’d be on a roll with the story, typing away as fast as she could go when the heroine places her tiny foot on the carriage step and. . . off Liz would have to go to research historical footwear.

      • Wendy, I can relate to Liz here! I do that sort of thing all the time. Just the other day my hero had to hitch his horse to his carriage – and I went off to look up carriages (there are THOUSANDS of different types) and I was lost for a half an hour in carriage land. The problem as a historian is that almost all history interests me, so I could be looking up information on carriages, come to a great site on Lord So-And-So who owned a certain type of carriage, and then get lost in Lord So-And-So’s life…

    • I highlight the “questionable text” in red and bold. I can’t miss it when I go back through and I don’t get stuck forever on a little tidbit.

  10. All right, I’m back.

    When I’m stuck for words, my husband calls my parents and they carefully record the date and time. Then I shake a can of Diet Pepsi and spray it on him, like, why waste the Diet Coke, right?
    I find that music quite often helps shake that lonely, weakened little brain cell and give it some life.
    Other times, if my writer peeps and I can brainstorm, we come up with some great ideas.

    Or researching for your WIP. It’s amazing how totally and completely gross research can be. Anyone want to know what a hemotoxin is, anyone, anyone, Bueller? All I can say is EWWW!!
    After reading about and looking at photos of the results of hemotoxicity and running to the nearest bucket, I was QUITE HAPPY to get back to writing.
    And praying “Please, God don’t let me remember that icky picture!!”
    Then I check my Pinterest “character page”, drool a bit, empty the diamondback faces from my brain and get back to work.

    • Wendy Lawton says:

      I guess you either love research or hate it. I’m one of those who must pry myself away from it. I could get lost in research and never write a word.

      • Jan Thompson says:

        Uh-oh. That’s me. I once spent a whole year on research, and wrote my outline on bits of pieces of paper, and no MS to show for. Outlines do not a novel make. Neither do post-it notes LOL.

        I absolutely love research. Hubby said I should write non-fiction. But my heart is in fiction. So I have to find a balance. 90% of my research doesn’t get written into my novels.

      • That’s me, too, Wendy, so I have to be careful or none of my WIPs will get finished.

      • I get crazy with research. When I was writing one chapter that had a quick reference to salted food, I spent the entire day researching salt production in medieval England. Oi vey.

    • I listen to instrumental music to help me write. It doesn’t distract me with lyrics.

  11. Larry says:

    Rock opera.


    After listening to “Keep Quiet” or “Breaking Out” by a group called “The Protomen”, (I think their stuff is available to listen through YouTube), I sit back and reflect how in the 21st century a group can craft old-fashioned Rock and Roll like the lost brothers of Bruce Springsteen.

    Based on, of all things, a videogame.

    Rock opera. Based on a videogame.

    Yet it works. Which leads me to realizing the sheer creativity of those guys. Which makes me think, “If I can’t be more creative than some guys who make rock operas based off of VIDEOGAMES, what sorta writer am I?!”

    That…….and “The Hounds” is just such a darn fun tune…

    • Wendy Lawton says:

      I’ll confess, I never played a video game, but music– yes. (Not rock opera for me.) For every book I wrote I collected music of the period and had a soundtrack of sorts for the book– warm me up. (though I write in silence.) Everything from music of Africa, Negro spirituals, Nez Perce chants to colonial music on a harpsichord.

  12. Lori Benton says:

    I zero in on the one thing I wish I was doing more than anything else at the moment (writing something else, reading a book, watching an episode of a favorite show, taking a nap, visiting a store, a friend, a place, taking a drive in the country, hiking) and give myself permission to do it for part of the day, and go prayerfully into that fun thing, reminding God that I’m depending on Him to get me unstuck ASAP. It’s worked so far.

    When there was just no time for a break and something had to get written (it’s happened a time or two, with nonfiction work), I went flat on my face here by the desk and prayed. Then I got up and started typing something.

    I’ve sort of blanked out the rest, but I did produce what was requested and I think everyone was happy. Especially me, to have gotten it done.

  13. I so much appreciate your transparency today, Wendy! Writers block doesn’t discriminate, does it? I agree with the research. It always gives me good scene ideas. I also really like the idea of writing a list of nouns. What works best for me is asking my husband and children. They don’t know all The Rules of Writing Novels, so when I give them a scenario, their little imaginations just go wild.

    • Wendy Lawton says:

      What a gift you are giving them by allowing them to dissect the creative process. Whether they are writers or not they will use this in their own endeavors.

      And allowing them to be part of your book– genius. So many writers create 24/7 with their back to their families. Wouldn’t it be awful if their children grow up hating the books that stole their mother or father away from them? You’ve found a way to write and include your family.

      • All the ones who are old enough to read are avid readers. I often find my thirteen-year-old has sneaked up behind me and is reading as I type. Or is it snuck? Yeah, let’s start that debate…. πŸ™‚

    • Meghan, a childlike imagination is a great place to hang out. Although my daughter has a lot of struggles with reading, she is a fantastic storyteller. I need to ask for her two cents more often. πŸ™‚

    • Sarah Thomas says:

      My husband has helped me get out of a corner or two as well! And it’s super fun to brainstorm with him. Makes him more a part of the journey.

  14. So… I watched that episode of Downton yesterday too… and I was basically numb and unproductive the rest of the day.

    That episode = free pass for a coma for 24 hours.

    Sniff. Sniff. **passing you a tissue**

    • Amanda Dykes says:

      …sigh… me, too.

    • Wendy Lawton says:

      I know. It seems silly to be suffering grief over a television character but I know had I not watched that episode I would have had a million ideas fighting for their chance to appear on our blog.

      Writers who are going through emotional issues like grief almost always find it hard to write. You think you can but the concentration is not there. It’s universal. And though it doesn’t make sense to apply it to something we watched on the telly– the truth is that powerful story is akin to real life.

      Thanks for the tissue. I think I’m out.

      • I didn’t believe in writer’s block until I had to deal with the death of a close family member. Then I had it big time and didn’t get over it until I began to heal emotionally. Sometimes writing really does need to be put on the back burner.

    • I haven’t watched that episode yet. It’s sitting on my DVR, and everyone everywhere has been talking about it.

      There goes my night. πŸ˜€

  15. I rearrange funiture. Writer’s block drives my husband insane! β€œCan’t we leave the couch in one place for a few days!” πŸ™‚

  16. Amanda Dykes says:

    I have a writing “what if?” friend. When either of us are stuck of late, we hop online and bounce ideas off each other “what if this happened? What if you took the character there? What if her reason for doing it isn’t really ____, but is truly, deep down, ____?” The reciprocal brainstorm escalates until something dislodges and we go write.

    As for blog posts, that’s a tough one. I keep a word doc called “blog ideas” with a running list I add to as ideas strike me, so that when I’m coming up dry I can go refer back to that list and see if anything strikes a chord.

    Once I tossed it out into the social media world on my Twitter and author FB page: “what have you been facing, lately?” or something to that effect, and catered the resulting blog post to the responses I got. (Thanks, Jennifer Major, if you remember that– you had a great comment about feeling like an octopus pulled in 8 directions!)

  17. Oh, Wendy, how I loved this! (I’m still smiling… πŸ™‚ )I especially loved your blog post title!

    In the beginning, I anguished and labored over each and every blog post literally for hours! I wanted to write great content ALL the time, but the truth of the matter was, sometimes, I just wore out.

    I still want to write great posts, but I try not to pull all-nighters to do it. (Can I get an “Amen”?)

    Before I sit down to write, I ask the Lord to bless my words and direct where I should go with my posts. I try to encourage, uplift, and be transparent. I have off-days and less than stellar moments, and I realize now it’s not the end of the world. It’ll by okay.

    A couple of things help my creative process/mindset: I write Post-It notes of affirmation and place them around my work area (usually, these are favorite scriptures), I keep dark chocolate handy (for the endorphins, you know), I keep a file-folder of ideas close by with magazine and newspaper clippings to kickstart the creative juices. I’ve been doing this for 20 years–long before “blog” was even a word!)

    The entire Books and Such team encourages/informs/teaches/blesses us each and every week. Thank you! (And your transparency this morning compels me to write! :))

  18. Wendy, I’ll sniff with you. The power and pull of Downton Abbey is enthralling to me. I know an 80 year old and a 15 year old who watch the show and gush about it. I recently wrote about the draw of Downton Abbey on my blog.

    Bike rides unlock stories in my brain. The wind grabs the words pouring out of my mouth, and whips them into a better semblance of order. When I recharge in this way my writing spills across a blank page more coherently.

  19. What a small world. I literally had a blog post up yesterday at The Writers Alley suggesting some ways to overcome writer’s block (here it is if anyone is interested: There are some good suggestions in the comments too!

    My favorite suggestions, one I stole from Susan May Warren and My Book Therapy, is interviewing your characters. This works especially well if you’re unsure about what a particular character would do in a particular situation. πŸ™‚

    • Wendy Lawton says:

      I wonder if the reason everyone thought about writer’s block on the same day had something to do with Downton Abbey? Wouldn’t that be interesting?

  20. Jan Thompson says:

    “What do you do when inspiration is thin?”

    I do the dishes or laundry or something methodical, I mull over a Bible verse all day long, and I plan vacations that we may not take. Something abut planning a trip that breaks that writer’s block LOL. Not sure why.

  21. Elissa says:

    Sometimes words won’t come, so I don’t bother with words. When the blank paper (or screen) refuses to become unblank, I throw some paint (or pixels) on it.

    It’s true I’m an artist. But you don’t have to be an artist to have fun doodling, scribbling, smearing, or whatevering while you cover up that blank page. The point is NOT to be artistic, but to be like a kid with finger paints. Just let everything go. Don’t try to control it.

    Sometimes all you need to work a block loose is a little freedom. And some markers. πŸ™‚

    • Wendy Lawton says:

      Brain experts would agree with you. My daughter teaches one class at her university called Building Brain Power. She has a whole bag of tricks and that’s one of them.

  22. I’m loving all these ideas for overcoming the blank page! Rather than a traditional blog, I have a welcome page for my website where I post whatever’s on my mind. When I’m stuck for a new post, I go to iPhoto and peruse the pictures until I find one that sparks a memory. I use that spark to connect to an aspect of the writers life. The method hasn’t failed me yet, but then again, I only post when I have an idea–a conundrum, I suppose.

  23. As a blogger, I have a list of ideas that I keep tucked away on the computer so that when I can’t figure out what to write about, I pull out the list and end up writing a post that first came to me five months ago.

    As a fiction writer, I find another writer to word war with for ten to fifteen minutes. It *always* works.

  24. Leah E Good says:

    If I get stuck in a story, I write a letter from one of my characters to another character. That’s always fun and I figure if the story gets published I can use the off-story letters as promotional material on my blog.

    Playing the “what if” game, especially with a writing friend, always helps too.

    Great ideas from everyone on how to beat writers block!

  25. When I need some inspiration I shift gears. Literally.

    I grew up as a competitive swimmer so I learned how to let activity be a source for inspiration.

    Today, I’m a runner. I love going for long runs and just letting all the gobbledygook sort it’s self out in my head. I’m often amazed at how much it helps me get unstuck, sparks creativity, focus, and once I get in the front door I can’t wait to put it down on paper…or should I say in my smartphone. πŸ™‚

    • Wendy Lawton says:

      Again, your idea is confirmed by science. those endorphins spur creativity. It’s just like those of us who love baths and showers (I call my bath, my think tank). . . the negative ions of running water are supposed to jumpstart creativity.

  26. Jumping off from the pen-to-paper prompt, I’ve written a prayer about my writing. In the act of offering up and petitioning God for direction, you’ll often find answers.

  27. Mary R. P. Schutter says:

    Hmmm, writer’s block. Yippee! Now I get to do something other than stress over the story/article I’ve been working on–something fun, something radical! I get to write a nonsense poem. Or maybe I’ll pen a nasty letter to that person who really ticked me off and then rip the paper into a million pieces! I could always eat some chocolate. I think I’ll read some of the cool stuff I wrote when I was younger and my brain actually worked correctly. Oh, golly, which diversion should I choose? By the way, folks, there is no such thing as ‘writer’s block.’ It properly should be called ‘my brain isn’t ready to give me the next words yet, so I’m going to go do something else until my brain is ready.’ Adios! πŸ™‚

  28. I’m going over some things just now from my classes with Shirley Jump. One of the things we did was to examine (this is for fiction, not writing blogs…LOL…for those I look at photos) the Goal, Motivation, Conflict for either the character(s) or the scene. You do a grid and find the external and internal GMC for each. It really stirs things up!

    For writing blogs, I seriously just sit and flip through my photo albums until something “speaks” to me.

    I’ve tried all sorts of other things. One more thing that helps me is to clean. Something about wanting to avoid those chores gets me back to typing away. LOL!

  29. Become a child who has an adult vocabulary. Whether it is placing yourself as a child in the historical scene or in a fantasy/sci-fi, ask how you would perceive things if you were a six year old. This is an old comedy writer’s trick, but it works in a variety of settings. Back when I wrote for traveling comedy acts, I used this technique often.

  30. What a great list of suggestions here today! I think you’ve hit on a universal problem, Wendy. I have a few things that are particularly inspirational for me, so when I’m facing writer’s block, I go to those sources of inspiration. The river, worship music, looking at old buildings, taking a trip to our local historical society, browsing old newspapers and reading books in my genre (historical fiction). All of those things trigger ideas, memories and emotions for me, which helps me to write.

    • Looking at old buildings is a great one Gabrielle. I have a nerdy interest in ghost towns or historical structures in general. I took some classes at our local JC for Historical Preservation. When I was younger I would dream about floor plans, and sketch them in my journal in the morning.

    • Wendy Lawton says:

      What an enjoyable list of remedies!

  31. Lots of great ideas. When I don’t think I can write about a particular subject, I just start writing anything at all about it and within a few minutes, I am on my way. I didn’t say I was good–but this seems to work for me.

  32. Sue Harrison says:

    Generally I write anyway, and, when I’m doing 2nd draft, I surely do KNOW I had a bad day when I find those really boggy parts during which inspiration lay snoozing in the knee well of my desk.

    The one time when I was truly boggled about how to go on with my contracted novel, I stepped away from the ms and wrote a Middle Reader’s book. That worked wonderfully well, and eventually we were able to find a publisher for that novel, too. So a 2-fer in that situation. I don’t know if that approach would ever work again, but it was interesting and fun…

  33. Selena Fulton says:

    I make jewelry. I love working with beads with all their shapes, colors and textures. The change in creativity and working with my hands frees up my mind and I sort out what my charactors are doing/thinking/saying.

    And worst case scenario, I have something new to wear!

  34. Peter DeHaan says:

    Prayer helps; in fact when it comes to writing, it’s always worked for me.

  35. I’m late to this discussion.
    Love your picture with the big question mark.
    Blank page, blank mind.

    Back to water ~ I swim it out.
    (I also wrote that into my first novel.)
    After I dive into a lap pool, lake, ocean, or any body of water I work with words in my mind.
    Always pray first. I agree with Peter.
    Somehow for me, it works. I take pen and paper in a tote that I can write my thoughts on as soon as I get out to dry off.

    If I can’t get out to a large body of water, my tub will do. I just turn on the jets and swim the distance in my mind.

    I went for a swim at the gym with my granddaughter again tonight, but it was more of a celebration and indulgence after writing almost 4,000 words late last night!

    I must admit, I also have asked my husband, a big Tom Clancy and Louis L’amour fan, or my avid reader daughter, Jenny for input. Always good advice there.

    Sometimes I submit our two doggies to interviews. I figure since they sit through the morning devotional with me on my office sofa, they might have an idea or two. It helps to speak a the Mookie Mutt language.

  36. G.G.Paxton says:

    I try to complete the question: “What if…?” — And then answer it.

  37. I do the journaling of one of the characters in the story. This is beneficial in lots of ways, so I like it.

  38. (Read in haughty British accent) I cannot imagine what one would do if one could not think of something to write. I have not yet been plagued with such maladyβ€”SIKE!!!

    You titled this blog β€œBlank Page, Blank Mind.” For me, a person riddled with ADD, my mind is always running high speed and my pencil can never keep up. It’s not that my mind is blank, it’s that it is a blurβ€”all those thoughts coming together like a mix of paints in a jar. No vibrant lines or metaphorical shapes. Just brown in a bowl. Not inspired.

    Journaling has helped me a lot. I love to journal as a character. It helps me see and feel things about them I’d never have known before. I now journal after reading the Bible to help me process what I read that day, giving me more fodder for my blog. However, I try to have extra blog posts β€œin waiting” for that day I am truly not inspired. OR, as is true genius, I write about not being able to write :o).

    At least you can be assured, you are not alone!!!

  39. Has it been said before? When I get stuck, I read something lyrical, some wonderful literature that may be fancier than the piece I’m working on, but it inspires me to write, and write better. Normally, it doesn’t have to be more than a chapter before I’m primed to get back to my own project. And I’ve recently found that jazz instrumentals work better for me than most music. Like others, I can get distracted by lyrics, but I also get distracted by melody lines. Jazz’s seemingly amorphous shapes drown out distractions without making me think about the music rather than the writing. Sometimes, all it takes is emptying myself of preconceived notions about where I thought the plot or blog or magazine article was headed. Exhaling what I assumed leaves room for breathing in something fresh. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have two articles to write that are no longer blank pages! πŸ™‚

  40. Wendy, you went from being unable to think of anything to write about to a post with more responses than most. That’s encouraging for all of us.